Are you a perfect fit for a career in retail? 5 Skills that say “Yes!”

Next time you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes or grabbing a fresh carton of milk, think about all of the effort and planning that goes into operating a successful retail operation. Think of the many hands that make the business run smoothly, whether selling fishing tackle or designer purses. The goal of any retail store is for customers to purchase their goods or services, and that requires many players, both in front and behind the scenes.

Do you think you’d enjoy helping consumers know what product they’re looking for and what will fit their needs? Consider all the types of retailers around you: clothing and fashion boutiques, electronics shops, grocery superstores, and sporting goods’s safe to say, there’s a type of retailer for every single niche and interest.

The world of retail not only offers many types of workplaces but also a wide variety of different roles. Could there be a great career fit in retail for you? From cashiers to personal shoppers to merchandisers, each position requires different specific skills, but all come down to some core capabilities when getting started. Let’s explore the different skills working in retail requires.

Communication Skills

Regardless of what you’re selling, strong communication skills are at the heart of a successful retail business. From being able to convey the quality of different goods to reading product descriptions and sharing what customers might want or need, this all takes communication. Not only should you be able to speak on the goods or services you’re selling, but it’s also important to feel comfortable approaching and speaking with a variety of customers.

Customer Service

Customer service goes hand-in-hand with great communication skills. The best retail workers know that by creating an excellent customer experience, they’re likely to sell more and create loyal fans to the brand. Even if a customer is being difficult, someone with good customer service understands how to diffuse the situation and offer assistance and guidance with politeness and professionalism. The best in the business most likely started out managing customer service requests and complaints; when building skills in diplomacy and customer service, you can climb far up the corporate ladder.

Attention to Detail

Even the smallest inconsistencies or imperfections can be a very big deal in the world of retail. A stain on a sweater, one misplaced comma, or being a nickel short in change can cause major problems. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll be working some sort of payment and registry system and handling merchandise, which requires accuracy. Being able to focus on details while doing the rest of your job will help you avoid mistakes and ensure great shopping experiences, which leads to the skill of...


No matter your title in the world of retail, you’re bound to juggle a number of tasks and duties at once. Being able to multi-task well will help you stand out from coworkers who can only do one thing well at a time. Imagine this: you’re ringing up a customer, the phone is ringing, and another customer is asking about the current sale that’s on. Can you take care of each of these needs with great service and in a timely fashion? If so, you could be a star retail associate.

Basic Computer Skills

While being a computer whiz isn’t necessary for every single retail role, it’s likely you’ll have some sort of computer use. With e-commerce and technology increasing in every single industry, it’s important to offer the most basic computer skills. If you’re less experienced using computers and electronics, there are many resources (many of them free) available to help you learn the basics or get reacquainted with tech. Check online for video tutorials and your library for free classes that will help you feel computer confident.

There are countless skills you can continue to build when working in retail and from those skills, you can build an exciting and rewarding career. If you have what it takes to get started in a retail career, connect with PeopleReady today to find the retail jobs that fit your wants and needs.

About the Author

Anna Mischke is the Content Marketing Specialist for PeopleReady. Stories are what spark Anna and she's continually feeding her curiosity around the constant shifts in marketing, technology, and psychology - and their correlation with one another. Often, she's writing, feverishly reading, illustrating, or sneaking treats to her Scottish Fold kittens.

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