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Retail Business

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STORE OPERATIONS

Retail assistants deal with all aspects of retailing such as operating tills and barcode readers, restocking shelves, greeting customers, dealing with queries, and keeping the retail outlet clean and tidy. Their work varies, depending on the type and size of the store.

Checkout operators help customers pack and pay for their goods. They do a range of other duties including weighing and pricing items, removing security tags, and answering customers' queries. They may need to spend time away from their till, filling shelves or checking on stock, for instance.

Retail managers are in overall charge of a retail outlet, such as a department store, local or national chain store or independent shop. In large stores, there may be more than one manager, each responsible for a specific department, and there will also usually be other managerial staff at a lower supervisory level working on the shop floor.

Personal shoppers are employed to give customers advice on what goods might be appropriate for them e.g. for clothes, they would find out what the customer is looking for, what colours and styles suit them etc. They would go round the store with the customer, or bring possible goods to the customer while they waited. Records must be kept for future visits.

Other jobs include stock replenishment assistant/stock control, department manager, floor manager, supervisors, and specialist sales assistants in areas such as bookselling, butcher, floristry, and jewellery.

BUYING

Buying for retail businesses is about purchasing the best merchandise to sell making sure that the price, quality and availability are right. Buyers can maximise profits if they understand what will sell, and get it at the right price and in the best condition. Jobs in buying include:

Retail buyers plan, select and buy the goods which their store/stores sell. Many have a specialist area, such as buying the wines for a large chain of supermarket or clothes for a fashion chain. They need to be able to work out what the current trends and buying patterns are and search out new products and suppliers.

Retail merchandisers negotiate prices with suppliers, decide on the exact quantity of goods to order and determine specific stock levels for each retail outlet. They often use computer modelling software to look at previous sales and predict future performance. Smaller retailers may combine buying and merchandising roles in a general retail management position.

CUSTOMER CONTACT CENTRES

Retail businesses, as well as banks and many other organisations, run contact centres to respond to and solve queries/problems raised by customers.

Contact centre (or call centre) operators keep in contact with their customers by telephone, email, SMS messaging, online instant messaging and post.  They may accept orders for home delivery, deal with payment for goods, and enquires or complaints about deliveries. Some help solve technical problems, such as difficulties with online services for home shopping or a problem with an electrical or household appliance. 

Operators working in marketing or market research also work from call centres but in this case they initiate (make) the calls. They contact a list of potential customers and 'cold-call' them to sell products or obtain information.

MARKETING

Marketing is about influencing the behaviour of specific groups of people or organisations e.g. to buy a new product or service. They find out more about their target audience by commissioning market research and identify the message that they need to get across to. Jobs can be with a large organisation such as a supermarket or a marketing agency that would operate by winning commissions from a wide range of companies to market their product. Jobs include:

Brand managers (or product managers) need to understand their customers, keep an eye on competitors, carry out research and create the right 'identity' and brand loyalty for new products.

Marketing executives help to promote and sell fast-moving consumer goods such as food, drink, and toiletries. They come up with marketing ideas to promote their products and also write creative briefs for advertising agencies.

Sales managers are employed to sell products and services for a national retailer or distributor - their customers may be individuals, businesses, factories or retail outlets.. They work in a sales team, organising sales representatives and devising marketing strategies for 

Other jobs include; sales representatives, PR assistants and market researchers.

LOGISTICS

Logistics involves a 'supply chain'. being set up to make sure that goods, such as food or clothes, are collected, stored, distributed and delivered in the right condition at the right time. Jobs include:

Distribution managers plan and manage the control and movement of goods or raw materials.

Importers and exporters work for import/export agencies, freight-forwarding firms, or companies that handle their own export and import of goods.  Importers deal with the procedures for bringing goods from other countries for sale in the UK, whilst exporters handle the procedures for taking goods out of the UK for sale in other countries.

Large goods vehicle drivers transport goods around the UK, as well as to and from the Continent. As well as driving according to strict safety and working time laws, drivers usually have to plan their schedule with road transport managers, make sure that their lorry is safely and securely loaded and unloaded, and delivery paperwork is completed.

Warehouse workers and managers make sure that their stock is stored in the right condition and place in the warehouse and that the correct items are packed and ready for collection when needed. Both workers and managers are likely to use computerised stock control systems.