Retail & Customer Service


Retail and customer service is all about making things easy and convenient for customers. Whether you’re selling shoes face-to-face in a retail store, running your own online clothing shop or taking orders for wine over the phone, it’s all about your ability to socialise and connect with people. If you enjoy chatting to people and you know a bit about a certain product or service, then you’ll probably be suited to working in retail and customer service.

Will it suit me?

Retail tends to work best when the salesperson knows a lot about the product their selling and uses it regularly. So if you really like a product, like say, makeup or cars or something, then it stands to reason that you’d be qualified to sell it. Retail and customer service industries offer a whole range of different working schedules, depending on whether you’re arranging stock, spruiking products or talking to customers. Hours can be long, but also quite flexible and casual. Retail jobs often can often work around study or other commitments.

What jobs can I do?

Store manager, retail / sales assistant, floor manager, stock manager, cashier,

sales representative, sales manager, sales associate, product specialist, mystery shopper, bank teller, customer service manager, call centre worker, checkout operator, delivery driver, sales demonstrators, pharmacy sales assistant, purchasing officer, order / stock clerk, warehouse administrator, travel agent, shelf stacker, service station attendant, storeperson, visual merchandiser.

How can I get there?    

Generally, retail and customer service roles don’t require any formal educational training, but a degree or diploma in business, sales or marketing can help. As far as career progression goes, it’s common to start with a casual job at a retail store, then move up to a more experienced role, such as sales representative or a bank manager. As you move up the ranks, you may be required to complete courses in order to gain certain qualifications, however this is not always necessary.

Is it a good industry?

There are a lot of career retail managers and sales reps who have been in the industry for decades, usually because they value the connection to their customers and staff. On the flipside, many people use retail as a way to make money while studying or working another job. The hours can be long, and it can be both boring (stacking shelves) and competitive (getting priced out by other retailers). But whether it’s a short-term way to make some cash or a long term career, it can definitely provide a decent income, a social working environment and a good network of contacts.