CAREER IN RETAIL MANAGEMENT

Introduction: – Shopping has become a hobby for the new generation.. The whole concept of shopping has altered with time, in terms of format and consumer buying behavior. Thanks to rapid urbanization and sprawling shopping centres, multi-storeyed malls and huge complexes that emerge at an ever increasing speed in every upcoming city, retailing has grown into one of the largest sectors in the global economy, and a booming industry in the present century. 

Retail Industry, one of the fastest changing and vibrant industries in the world, has contributed to the economic growth of many countries. The term ‘retail’ is derived from the French word retailer which means ‘to cut a piece off’ or ‘to break bulk’. Retailing is a vital part of the business industry that involves selling products and services to consumers for their individual or family use. Retailing can also be defined as the timely delivery of goods demanded by consumers at an affordable and competitive price. It is a vertical and people-oriented business industry. Retail business in India boomed in the 80’s and within a sport span of time, Indian retail industry has been rated as the fifth most attractive, emerging retail market in the world. Indian retail industry which account for over 10 percent of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) and around eight percent of employment, is expected to grow at a compounded rate of 30 per cent over the next five years. 

Retailing process involves a direct interface with the customer and the coordination of business activities from the design stage of a product to its delivery and post-delivery service. Generally, retail business can be classified into several types depending on their size, shape, product lines, amount of service they offer and prices they charge etc. Some among them are specialty stores, supermarket/ malls, factory outlets, franchises, chain stores, discount stores, lifestyle & personal products, furnishing & house hold appliances etc.

As a career, retail management is a dynamic field that offers affluent employment opportunities for talented youth. It offers around 2 million job opportunities worldwide. Basic educational qualifications, as well as personal skills like good communication and analytical mind is needed to outshine in this profession. Even though related with selling, not all the job opportunities in this field is in the stores/outlets themselves. In this career, one will get openings in sales and marketing, operation, concept and design, buying and merchandising and also in administration. The economic boom and the enormous expansion in the retail sector make this career most sought after. As the competition in this field is very tough, nowadays the shopping malls are doubling up as leisure and entertainment centers, to attract customers. Those who wish to be in this field must be creative and should have new ideas to promote their business.

Many multinational companies have come forward in the retailing business. Reliance Group, ITC Retail, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Groups Trent & Westside, Subhiksha, Shoppers Stop, Future Groups Big Bazaar & Pantaloons, Apparel Chains, Raymond’s, Arvind Brands, Lifestyle International, Spencers etc. are some of the top companies.

Eligibility & Course Areas :-

There are options for taking up a degree or diploma in retail management, for those who choose the career. Various institutes offer courses in retail management such as MBA in retail management, Post Graduate Diploma in Retail Management and so on. In some institutes, retail management is offered as a specialised paper with MBA or other subjects. Candidates having a high school graduation or its equivalent, plus two or degree can apply for certificate, diploma or bachelors courses in Retail Management. The MBA in retail Management is more like a specialization than general MBA. The selection procedure for these courses is as same as that of MBA. 

Retailers Association of India (RAI), the first independent body of retailers in India, conducts a Common Admission Retail Test (CART) on national basis for admission to Postgraduate Program in Retail Management (PGPRM) offered in 15 B-Schools across India. Candidates applying for CART must hold a bachelors degree with 50% marks. Final year students can also apply. The objective of the test is to assess the candidate’s aptitude for retail management education, including Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Consumer Comprehension. The participating institutes in CART are :

  • Asian School of Business Management, Hyderabad
  • Banglore Management Academy, Banglore
  • Chennai Business School, Chennai
  • Chennai Business School, Mumbai
  • C.T. Group of Institute, Jalandhar
  • IFIM Business School, Banglore
  • Institute of Management and Information Science, Bhubaneswar
  • International School of Business & Media, Banglore
  • KLE Society College of Business & Administration, Belgaum
  • MERC School of Business and Retail Management, Pune
  • NSHM Center of Management & Development Studies, Durgapur
  • NSHM Center of Management & Development Studies, Kolkata
  • Rustomjee Business School, Mumbai
  • Vasavi Institute of Management & Advanced Studies, Banglore

A course in retail management help one to learn the concepts of retailing, which would be helpful for future undertakings as well as practical experiences. Marketing strategies, Accounting, Business mathematics, ethics and law, Customer relation, business communication and Retail buying and operations are some of the topics related to Retail management courses. The courses will also provide information on merchandising, finance management, electronic retail, supply chain management etc.

Abroad, there are institutes that offer four year Bachelor of Science courses in Retail Management. 

Personal skills:

Talented, dedicated people, who possess a wide variety of skills are needed to effectively run a large retail business. In order to excel in the retail profession, it is more important to have personal skills than having professional certificates. The most essential ability needed is an analytical mind along with good leadership qualities and positive attitude. They must possess good communication and problem solving skills, knack for convincing people and the ability to mingle with people at varied levels. They must be self confident and always be updated with the changes in the retail market and be familiar with advertising and merchandising techniques. Enthusiasm and creativity will be always countable in this career. Apart from these, one should have tact, patience, an interest in sales work, a neat appearance and the ability to communicate clearly.

Job Prospects & Career Options :-

With the tremendous growth of economy, retail management has emerged as one of the fastest growing career in the country. The enormous expansion in the retail sector during the past few years has thrown up a big demand for trained professionals in the field. It is an industry looking for people at all levels, from the school pass out with basic skills, to the well qualified supply chain and retail management professionals. One can take up a job depending on their interest and aptitude, since retail industry is an array of activities starting from marketing to branding. This makes retail profession one of the most demanding career of the era.

The working time and atmosphere all depends up on the company one works for. One could start his career as a management trainee, and with hard work and right attitude, could reach the manager posts of different departments. Advertising agencies, Airlines, insurance companies, banks etc are some other areas where one can find jobs, apart from retail shops. One can even start their own business and be an entrepreneur.

Some job prospects in Retail Industry are : –

  • Sales: It is the entry-level post of retail business. But as every retail shop is completely dependent up on the sales they get, this is one of the important posts in this profession. To be a good sales person, one should have good knowledge about the products, the shop, the customers etc. Sales associate, Sales Manager, Department Manager are some of the posts one could handle in this section.
  • Store Manager: Store managers sometimes called General Manager or Store Director, are the responsible persons for managing an individual store and its day- today functioning. The store manager is in charge of the employees of the store and he himself may report to a District or Area manager or the store’s owner. 
  • Retail Manager: It is the duty of a retail manager to plan and coordinate the operations of the outlet. This involves the layout of merchandise, monitoring the retail orders and stock, analysing the supply etc. Candidates with MBA can start off as retail manager. 
  • Retail Buyers and Merchandisers: They are the persons who select and buy the goods for the retail shop. They should understand the needs of the customer, should be aware of the trends in the market, and should possess great enthusiasm and energy.
  • Visual Merchandisers: These people give the brand a face, so they hold one of the very important positions in the industry. Being a part of concept and design one could also be a technical designer, product developer and store planner.
  • Supply Chain Distributors
  • Logistics and Warehouse Managers
  • Marketing Executives

Trained and talented retail management professionals are always in great demand not only in India but abroad also. Big brands like Bata, Cafe Coffee Day, Raymonds, Reliance India, Pantaloons, Nilgiris, Big Bazaar, Shopper’s stop, Subhiksha, Wallmart, Bharti etc. has opened retail chains throughout the cities that offers huge job openings. A professional with excellent communication skills and a flair for convincing people can be recruited as store managers, customer care executives, merchandise officers, public relations executive and so on, in multinational companies like Macdonald’s, Dominos, Levis, Nike, Adidas, Benetton, Sharp, Kodak etc. 

Remuneration :-

The remuneration in the retail industry depends up on the company, nature of work and the area where you work. The average starting salary of a sales person in the retail industry is Rs 4,000 per month. Depending on various post, the salary range varies between 6000 to 22000 per month. The special packages, bonus, incentives offered are the peculiarities of this career.

The remuneration outside India also varies depending up on many factors such as shops, products and places. According to US Department of labor, in US one could earn between $31,340 and $42,230 annually. 

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