A people-oriented industry, retailing came to India in the mid-’80s. A retail professional is primarily involved in selling products and services to consumers. There is a huge demand in the retail sector for trained and skilled professionals for processing merchandise shipments to achieve store sales, look after the store administration, and to communicate with clients
What do they do?
Shadab Ali, assistant department manager, Tata Croma, chose retail as his profession because he had great faith in his ability to convince others about the usability of a product.
Today, Ali grumbles that the institute from which he got a Master’s in marketing management did not prepare him well for the challenges that the sector offered. The worst, he says, is that “you have to listen to the customer, even if he is not right… the work requires you to be on your feet for long hours, quite a shocker for someone from a well-to-do family. But now I know this is my job and I have taken it all in my stride.”
That perseverance has paid Ali rich dividends in terms of opportunities that helped him “move up the ladder”.
In the past few years, the country has seen a retail revolution, and to cater to the demand of the sector, courses with various specialisations are being offered in several institutes and colleges.
However, key knowledge can only be gained once you start working in this field as a trained professional who might be involved in processing merchandise shipments or store sales, or be required to look after the store administration and also to communicate with clients.
“Freshers should be ready to work long hours — even though this can lead to a burnout — as retail is a very here-and-now business,” says Balvinder Singh Ahluwalia, president, Koutons Retail India Ltd. “Also, there is less room for long-term strategising as market trends change within a short span of time.”
One does not require any specific qualification to be in this field — and there is also no set time for retail aspirants to join the business.
For functions other than retail operations, the qualification depends upon the job profile.
“One learns while working, which is the most crucial factor that determines whether an individual is the right fit for the profession,” says Ali. “The basic requirement is that a person should be hardworking and ready to take up challenges.”
Thanks to the mall culture and people’s increasing propensity to shop, retail offers jobs in music stores, books and publishing industries, multiplexes, shopping malls, and the garment and processed food industries.
Stores such as Hotspot, Koutons retail, Planet M, Shoppers Stop, Café Coffee Day, Barista and Big Bazaar offer numerous chances to freshers to progress quickly in this field.
Multinationals such as Pizza Hut, Adidas, Nike, Domino’s, Benetton, Sony, Sharp and Levi’s are also recruiting skilled professionals.
Ahluwalia says, “The retail pattern has gradually entered almost all the major sectors of business and it has also opened up the scope of jobs in all such businesses. Marketing, real estate, visual merchandising, catalogue production, inventory planning, tourism and the luxury industry — all of these sectors provide jobs in retail.”
He sees the future of retail in India as absolutely promising. “The market is growing and even the government policies are becoming more favourable (for the industry),” says Ahluwalia. Retailing in India, he feels, “is heading towards becoming the next boom industry”
Ali, however, has a word of caution for budding retail professionals: “Keep your ego and ‘I am the best attitude’ aside when you join the sector, as initially you have to attend to customers and sell your product or service. And never fight shy of challenges.”
Source: HT Horizons
. Communication skills must be excellent
. Dignified conduct
. Patience while dealing with clients and physical fitness
. Ability to convince customers of the usefulness of a particular product
. Updated knowledge of changes in the retail market
. Familiarity with advertising and merchandising techniques
. Ability to retrain
How do I get there?
After Class XII, one should ideally do graduation and then go for a general MBA or an MBA in retail management. One can also do a BBA course after Class XII and then top it with an MBA. There are also numerous PG diploma and certificate courses offered by various institutes