Woman in a data center holding shopping bags and looking at a drawing with a shopping cart into a cloud

Is advancing in the retail industry your one and only professional goal? If you’re serious about achieving this aspiration of yours, then you need to be constantly looking for ways to take your career to the next level. The more proactive you are in when it comes to finding and taking opportunities, the quicker you will advance in your field and reach the pinnacle of your professional potential.

To find out how you can take your career in retail to the next level, be sure to read on.

Gain experience in an entry-level position

Before you can start climbing your chosen career ladder, you need to sharpen your skills as a retail professional and get some invaluable experience in the field. The best way to do that is to spend at least one year working in an entry-level position. Of course, you can’t turn down the opportunity to take on a management role if it is offered to you, but taking some time to really hone your craft will be incredibly advantageous to you as your career progresses. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to push forward with your career if you don’t feel like you have a strong or experienced enough platform from which to build from.

Here are a few skills that you will be sure to hone should you devote your time and effort to your first entry-level position in the retail industry:

Get comfortable with swallowing your pride

True, some customers don’t approach certain situations very well and can get a tad bit nasty at times. At the end of the day, however, the customer is always right. If you truly want to enhance the experience that your clients have in your store and ultimately improve your chances of getting a promotion, quite simply, you have to learn to take what they say and do with a pinch of salt. Get comfortable with swallowing your pride, and you’ll be sure to optimize your customer service skills.

Of course, swallowing your pride is not the easiest of tasks. You can cultivate this skill, however, by putting the following simple tips into practice on a daily basis:

  • Approach each shift with a positive attitude
  • Seek to calm angry customers down with kindness and humility
  • Always try to offer solutions
  • Ask follow-up questions so that you can get to the heart of each issue
  • Retain a sense of perspective at all times

Always request feedback

If you’re to consistently hit your goals and reach your professional milestones, you must request feedback as your career in retail advances. This will allow you to measure your progress, it will give you an idea of where you have and haven’t gone wrong thus far, and it will provide you with an insight into what chance you currently have of succeeding in the field. With all of this information at hand, you will then be able to tweak your day-to-day habits in a bit to optimize your workflow.

The way in which you request feedback from your managers and employers is completely up to you. You could subtly ask for feedback on your recent performances during a quiet spot in the middle of your shift, or you could go all out and ask them to conduct a professional appraisal.

When it comes to asking your customers for feedback, however, things get a little trickier. Most of the customers you serve will not have the time or the patience to answer questions regarding your performance, which is why you must take a different route when it comes to asking them for their opinions on you. One route that you could take in this instance is asking for a feedback button to be fitted in your place of work. Should your employer make this device available in your store, customers will be able to provide their feedback by simply hitting the button (ranging from green smiley face shades to red frowning face shades) that best encapsulates their satisfaction level. This will allow you to capture real-time customer feedback in seconds without having to ask them to go out of their way to provide it.

If you’re to reach the peak of your professional potential in the field of retail, it’s important that you remain hungry for success at all times. Should you ever get too comfortable or start resting on your laurels in this cut-throat industry, you’ll no doubt fall behind in the race for promotions and employment.

No matter what stage of your career ladder you have reached, put the above advice into practice and always strive to make that all-important step up to the next level.

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