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What Is a Retail Job?
A retail job is essentially any job where you are selling a finished product to a consumer. A career in retail involves skills in customer service, problem-solving, and some level of marketing. Entry-level positions in retail are usually as a cashier or clerk, but there are opportunities to move up the career ladder.
Since they are entry-level, retail jobs often offer a relatively low hourly pay compared to jobs that require a college degree and a lot of experience. However, it’s still possible to turn a retail job into a longer-lasting career.
The Benefits of Retail Jobs
There are a wealth of benefits that come with working in retail. Job security is one of the biggest benefits that comes with retail jobs, as you can find these jobs pretty much everywhere. In addition, you never have to worry about relocating because anywhere you go there’s probably a retailer hiring. Additionally, there are opportunities to move up into higher-paying retail positions, like store manager or regional manager. With a career in retail, you are typically eligible for an employee discount on the products or services that you sell, which is always a bonus.
The Disadvantages of Retail Jobs
As with any job, working in retail does come with a few disadvantages. Sometimes it can be difficult working with the public. Customers can be extremely difficult to deal with and can make your job seem much harder than it has to be.
Additionally, working in retail occasionally calls for long hours. You could also be scheduled to work during the holidays, as that’s when most retail stores earn the most money. In some retail positions, you’re required to be on your feet for long periods of time — maybe even all day. Yet another disadvantage of a career in retail is the risk of automation. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, repetitive jobs in retail are especially exposed to automation.
The 10 Highest-Paying Retail Jobs
Entry-level retail jobs are not all that high-paying. Certain companies offer higher pay than others. A number of retail companies have committed to raising their salaries above the minimum wage. Jeff Bezos, for example, raised Amazon’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and challenged other retailers to do the same. The retailers discussed below have adopted a similar policy and now offer some of the most competitive pay in the retail business.
Costco is a wholesale chain of membership warehouses. With locations across the globe, Costco offers quality brand-name merchandise in bulk at low prices. Their warehouses were designed to help small-to-medium-sized businesses reduce everyday expenses, but many people shop at Costco for their personal needs as well. Costco has corporate offices in Washington, but thousands of people are employed at Costco locations nationally as cashiers, warehouse staff, and beyond.
- Starting Salary: According to Indeed, a cashier at Costco earns $15.20 an hour.
- Opportunity for Growth: Climbing the ladder to work as a cashier supervisor, you could earn $40,419 annually. Furthermore, merchandise managers earn upwards of $62,032 annually. There are a wealth of career paths available at Costco, including warehouse management and optometry.
- Job Details: As an entry-level Costco employee, you are tasked with greeting members, loading items onto the conveyor belt to be rung up, relaying promotional information to customers, and being courteous.
2. Shane Co.
Shane Company is a privately owned U.S. jeweler that operates through 20 retail stores and online. The company directly imports diamonds, rubies, and sapphires to create stunning jewelry. Headquartered in Centennial, Ohio, Shane Co. offers jewelry of all varieties, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Customers can shop online at their leisure or head into a store to receive professional guidance from a sales associate. A majority of Shane Co.’s staff work at their corporate location, but their retail locations require an in-house staff to give their customers a personalized shopping experience.
- Starting Salary: Glassdoor reports that Shane Co. sales associates make $15.00 an hour. A diamond sales consultant makes $20.00 an hour.
- Opportunity for Growth: An assistant store manager at Shane Co. can earn $64,918 annually, while a store manager can earn $80,333 annually.
- Job Details: Associates work with customers during milestone moments like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries to help them find luxury jewelry to celebrate these occasions. Typically, one or more years of sales experience is required.
Amazon is a technology company that focuses on e-commerce and digital streaming. As one of the Big Four technology companies, Amazon has become known as the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace. They are the second-largest private employer in the world, with more than 600,000 employees. Originally, the company started as an online book retailer. Today, Amazon sells everything from furniture to food, electronics, apparel, and jewelry. Their employees are worldwide, ranging from IT specialists to warehouse managers and customer service representatives.
- Starting Salary: $15.00 an hour.
- Opportunity for Growth: Every job at Amazon has a direct impact on their customers. Once you start your career with Amazon, you can work your way up to a leadership role in a variety of verticals including administration, business intelligence, data science, editorial content management, and more.
- Job Details: There are a wealth of job opportunities in Amazon retail. From customer experience to Amazon Prime and beyond, employees are tasked with enriching the lives of their consumers on a grand scale. Learn more about Amazon’s retail jobs.
Dillard’s is an American department store. They have over 290 locations in the United States. Dillard’s sells clothing for men, women, and children. They also sell accessories, shoes, and home goods. With hundreds of locations across the U.S., Dillard’s requires a strong team that can provide their customers with the experience they expect from the brand.
- Starting Salary: Sales associates at Dillard’s earn $13.35 an hour according to Indeed.
- Opportunity for Growth: Employees who wish to work their way up can get jobs as assistant store managers, regional sales managers, and even operations managers with salaries ranging from $40-50,000 annually.
- Job Details: Dillard’s sales associates work as the face of the store, interacting with customers to help them through the purchasing process. Regardless of which department you work in, knowledge of current fashion trends and excellent interpersonal skills are helpful in this role.
Originally a shoe retailer, Nordstrom expanded to offer clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, and fragrance. Some Nordstrom locations also offer bridal fashions and home furnishing departments. Other locations have in-house cafes, restaurants, and espresso bars, giving their consumers a complete one-stop-shop experience. As such, Nordstrom requires a variety of team members to keep their store operations running smoothly.
- Starting Salary: The average salary at Nordstrom is $13.69 an hour according to Indeed.
- Opportunity for Growth: You can advance in a career within a Nordstrom location or at the Nordstrom headquarters. In-store stylists can earn over $40,000 annually while inventory specialists can earn more than $70,000 a year.
- Job Details: Nordstrom cashiers have an excellent fashion sense and are positive individuals who provide excellent customer service working at the point of sale.
6. The Container Store
The Container Store is an American specialty retail chain that offers storage and organization products. The Container Store seeks to be the leader in organizational products. They take pride in offering innovative solutions to make people’s lives easier. You can shop The Container Store in retail locations across the United States as well as online, which means there are a wealth of career opportunities.
- Starting Salary: Glassdoor reports that the average employee salary is $28,000.
- Opportunity for Growth: Working your way up to a position of visual merchandiser can earn you an annual salary of $31,577. Store managers at The Container Store can earn $69,450 a year.
- Job Details: Retail sales associates are in charge of interacting with consumers, making shopping suggestions based on their needs, and ensuring the store is well-organized.
Lowe’s is a home improvement company in the United States and Canada. They have retail locations that carry a variety of home improvement products, from plumbing to lumber, paint, flooring, millwork, and more. You can also shop online. As such, Lowe’s has a variety of career paths available, whether it’s at their corporate location or in-store providing superior service to customers.
- Starting Salary: The average sales associate will earn $24,351 according to Glassdoor.
- Opportunity for Growth: Associates can work their way up to managerial positions, specialists, or head cashiers. Store managers can earn more than $90,000 annually.
- Job Details: A sales associate is tasked with delivering quality customer service, maintaining a stocked store, and providing a positive checkout experience.
8. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain that offers a variety of specialty items. Trader Joe’s carries a lot of unique items branded under the “Trader Joe’s” name so as to save their customers money. The company’s mission is to provide its customers with the best food and beverage products on the market.
- Starting Salary: According to Glassdoor, Trader Joe’s sales associates earn $25,544 annually.
- Opportunity for Growth: Associates can work their way up to the role of store manager and earn $67-80,000 annually.
- Job Details: Sales associates are responsible for creating a friendly shopping experience for customers. This includes answering questions, making suggestions, as well as ringing customers up and stocking shelves as needed.
Safeway is a grocery chain in the United States. They provide consumers with products that are meant to enrich their health and quality of life. With over 1,400 stores nationally, Safeway is on a mission to provide consumers with innovative pharmacies and better brands. As with any grocery store, there are a variety of career opportunities, including cashier, baker, butcher, and more advanced career paths like store manager.
- Starting Salary: Sales associates can make an average of $22,126 annually according to Glassdoor.
- Opportunity for Growth: Assistant store managers can earn $61,047 a year while store managers earn a salary of $87,754.
- Job Details: Sales associates are tasked with ringing customers up, stocking shelves, answering questions, and anything else that ensures a customer has a positive shopping experience.
Target is a general merchandise retailer with stores across the United States. Target’s mission is to provide families with the products they need. From home goods to clothing, groceries, toys, and even auto products, Target makes shopping for necessities simple.
- Starting Salary: The average hourly pay of a Target employee is $11.31 according to Indeed.
- Opportunity for Growth: Opportunities for growth include the roles of cashier supervisor, store manager, and assistant buyer. These roles can earn $24,000 to more than $68,000 respectively.
- Job Details: Sales associates are tasked with providing customers with the best shopping experience available. From guiding them through the store to stocking shelves and ringing customers up, Target sales associates are expected to be friendly and attentive to their customer’s needs.
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