How to Succeed in Retail

By Sharon Fah

The holiday season is here! During this time, there will likely be an increased demand for retail staff.

For those looking to thrive in Retail, here’s what you should possess:

Sales Experience

Most retail staff are responsible for selling. As such, a great retail employee would need to have at least some sales or customer service experience. Sales experience can also include business to business sales, outbound phone sales and other client-facing roles.


A retail staff needs to remain professional at all times. If a disgruntled customer is showing outward displeasure, the employee needs to maintain composure and seek to mitigate the situation. He or she should also refrain from bad-mouthing such customers and instead maintain a professional demeanour.

Proactive Vigour

It is important that the retail staff engages customers from the moment they set foot into the store. Look back on a pleasant shopping experience and you might recall a staff who has greeted you warmly, informed you of the latest discounts and promotions, and recommended you different items based on what you’re looking for.

Personable Presence

A retail associate should have a positive and pleasant personality as well as a sense of humour. He or she needs to be someone whom people feel comfortable talking to. It is also important that the retail staff exudes confidence and is honest when convincing customers to buy the product instead of misrepresenting the product just to clinch a sale. 


People can be unpredictable, so it is crucial to be able to roll with the punches and be able to think out of the box. Customers may not always be right but they should always be treated with respect even in the most challenging of situations. Aside from this, retail stores usually require that their staff be flexible enough to work extended hours and on weekends. The ability to multitask is also imperative as retail staff may have to juggle the needs of several customers and at the same time attend to other store duties.

Retailers are increasingly on the lookout for a sales force that can work as a team, engage the customer, adapt to changes, and close profitable sales. This underlines the importance of soft skills, like communication and empathy. In this instance, these skills are even more important than academic qualifications. For those who fall short in this department, there are training workshops on sales trends, role-playing and mentoring that one can enrol in.

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