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Career in Retail Could be Rewarding and Fun

New-age retail is fast becoming an attractive career destination for most youngsters. For most of us, retail implies interaction with a well-groomed, smiling and helpful store assistant. However, this image is a mere trailer because beyond the frontline, emerging retail is much more; a structured business with huge infrastructure, logistics and massive manpower force driving the splendid show at the back-end.

Opportunities abound 

Changing retail landscape scripted a new trend in the job market. Formats like departmental stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, speciality stores and western-style malls are all gifts of modern retail.

Let’s take a glance at a few recent news items:”Ferrari opened first showroom in India”, “Multinational retailers Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco to open stores in India”. As new organisations debut, current ones expand, and foreign brands compete for local eyeballs, they all translate into increased manpower requirement.

According to a report titled ‘India Organised Retail Market 2010’, published by Knight Frank India, during 2010-12 around 55 million sq ft of retail space would be ready in national capital region (NCR) and other metros including Hyderabad and Pune.

Hop on the retail bandwagon

Retail offers career destinations, not just job options. Vacancies are available from entry to senior management level, says the spokesperson, India, of global apparel brand. There is a pronounced need for professionals in middle and senior level management level, she adds. Growth in a typical retail organisation, (Eg: Apparel) goes thus: trainee, stores manager/category sales manager, regional manager, territory manager, national head.

Find the right profile for you

The candidate and job should find a match in each other. Whether it is product retailing or service retailing like- airlines, travel or hospitality-the challenges are distinct. So, find your right pick.

When you make a selection, it is advisable to map your qualification and aptitude with the product/service you are going to serve. Let’s take an example of a coffee shop retailer who sells café lattes and mochas. A common beverage - coffee - transformed into a designer product caters to the habit of drinking rather than the product itself. In this type of retailing, the test lies in enhancing delightful customer experience. A pleasant smile and sophisticated communication skill are desired qualities here.

Some of the skills sought by retailers are fundamental: friendliness, honesty, work ethics, malleability and a good personality. Employers value creativity and initiative-taking traits in an employee. All competitive companies invest in training of their employees. Many skills can be learned and developed with education and experience. The truth is, with the entry of transnational companies, high level of management programmes will be needed to help bridge the demand and supply gap at managerial levels, says Goel of Ambience.

Take your retail pick

Popular retail caters to masses and luxury retail is slave to classes. Luxury retail is one emerging segment in retail. The other being e-retail. The luxury retail, an estimated $500 million market, is yet to open up in India. Luxury retail thrives on aspirations of individuals.

E-retail doesn’t render conventional buyer-seller interface but trading happens in virtual space. As per Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), the e-commerce market which was worth Rs. 19,688 crore in 2009 is likely to grow to Rs. 46,520 crore by 2011 year end. 

In e-retail one can choose a career under one of many verticals: Merchandising, Operations & Logistics, Sourcing, Marketing, and Customer Service, Finance or IT.

Avail of a bright future

The scramble for focused talent, high on calibre and creativity will increase. Capable managers from disparate industries like FMCG, BPO, telecom, and Hospitality quick to adapt to the needs of customers will be in demand. And the requirement for more educated, knowledgeable, and motivated people will arise. As the market grows, the competition gets stiffer, the wages will also get better.


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