Retailer

Occupation overview

The main purpose of a retailer is to assist customers when they purchase products and services, which requires a good understanding of the stock being sold, the variety of ways customers can shop and the ability to process payments, for example, using a till. Retailers must be passionate about delivering a quality service that always aims to exceed customers’ expectations. Therefore, retailers enjoy direct contact with a wide range of people and are motivated by completing a sale and knowing a customer is happy with their purchase. They can work in a variety of shops and other retail establishments: small boutiques, large high street chains, supermarkets and well-known department stores are just some examples. More specialist retailers include funeral services, garden centres, delicatessens and people who work in remote environments for example in telephone, on-line and mail order retail. Regardless of the type of products and services being sold, a wide representation of employers from across the retail industry have defined this standard and agreed that the knowledge, skills and behaviours that apprentices must have to do their job are the same. 

Skills

  • Positively interact with customers, using business relevant methods for example face to face or on-line, to support and increase sales by providing useful information and service
  • Establish a good rapport with customers, serve them in line with brand standards and promote the values of the business in all work activities
  • Deliver a sales service that meets customers’ needs and balances the financial performance of the business for example working towards sales targets, following procedures relating to packing of goods and dealing with returned products
  • Influence customers’ purchasing decisions by providing accurate guidance on product and price comparisons and sharing knowledge on local offers and variances
  • Use effective methods of communication that achieve the desired result, according to the purchasing process e.g. face to face, via the telephone or on-line
  • Use a variety of sales techniques when providing customers with information that are appropriate to the business and actively sell the benefits of seasonal offers for example, through in-store or on-line promotions
  • Help match products and services to customers’ needs and increase the amount they spend for example through the sale of associated products and services
  • Respond to situations that threaten brand and business reputation in line with company policy and alert the relevant person if a threat is identified
  • Actively use techniques to optimise sales through effective product placement, ensuring product displays remain attractive, appealing and safe to customers
  • Maintain appropriate levels of the right stock to meet customer demand, ensure it is kept in the correct condition (for example correct temperature, environment, packaging), and minimise stock loss through accurate administration, minimising wastage and theft
  • Use technology appropriately and efficiently in line with company policy, to support sales and service ensuring that maintenance issues are dealt with promptly
  • Support team members to ensure that the services provided are of a high quality, delivered on time and as required
  • Challenge personal methods of working and actively implement improvements
  • Comply with legal requirements to minimise risk and inspire customer confidence; minimising disruption to the business and maintaining the safety and security of people at all times
  • Put people at ease in all matters helping them to feel welcome and supported and provide them with information that is relevant to their needs
  • Minimise the effect of work activities on the environment through managing wastage and loss according to business procedures

 

Knowledge

  • Know the customer profile of the business, appropriate methods for communicating with customers e.g. face to face and remotely, what customers’ purchasing habits are, how to support and increase sales, encourage customer loyalty and achieve repeat business
  • Know the vision, objectives and brand standards of the business and how to contribute towards their success
  • Understand the principles of operating commercially and supporting the overall financial performance of the business for example by aiming to exceed targeted sales and reduce wastage and returns
  • Know how the business positions itself in order to increase its market share and compete against its main competitors for example its unique selling points, its straplines, promotions and advertising campaigns
  • Know how to identify and determine individuals’ situation and needs and how to respond in the most appropriate way in line with the business culture (for example the difference in how a branded goods retailer would communicate to their customers would be very different from an individual that retails a funeral service, or someone that needs to convey highly technical product information)
  • Understand the sales opportunities that exist across the year within the business and industry and the need to know customers’ buying habits during these periods, seasonal product / service knowledge, and stock requirements at different times of the year
  • Know information on the brands, products and services as required by the business (for example in large retailers a general knowledge of a range of products and services may be needed, but in specialist outlets a detailed knowledge on the technical specification of a product and the aftercare service may be necessary)
  • Know and understand the importance of brand and business reputation and what can affect it.
  • Understand how increase sales through product placement by utilising ‘hot spots’ and recognising the relationship between sales and space
  • Know how to maintain appropriate levels of the right stock to meet customer demand, taking into account planned marketing activities and expected seasonal variations and the conditions they must be stored in
  • Know how to operate technology such as customer payments and understand how changing technology, for example social media, digital and multichannel tools, support the sale of products and facilitates an effective and efficient service to customers
  • Know how to support and influence the team positively, recognising how all colleagues and teams are dependent on each other to meet business objectives
  • Understand how personal performance contributes to the success of the business for example the sale of products and services, increasing sales and achieving customer loyalty
  • Recognise and understand legislative responsibilities relating to the business and the products and/or services being sold (for example the importance of food safety for food retailers), the importance of protecting peoples’ health, safety and security, and the consequences of not following legal guidelines
  • Understand how to work with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures and recognise how local demographics can impact on the product range of the business
  • Know how to take responsible decisions to minimise negative effects on the environment in all work activities

 

Behaviours  

  • Adopt an approachable and friendly manner, interacting with customers in line with the style of the business, showing a genuine interest in meeting their needs and actively seeking feedback to improve own quality of service provision
  • Demonstrate personal drive and a positive regard for the reputation and aim of the business
  • Act credibly and with integrity on all matters that affect financial performance
  • Take an interest in the position of the business within the wider industry
  • Take a positive interest in customers, actively listening or taking due care to understand written or on-line communications and respond appropriately
  • Pro-actively seek ways of enhancing sales whilst being sensitive to the needs of the customer and encourage team members to do the same
  • Confidently demonstrate a belief in the products and services the business offers
  • Uphold and personally demonstrate a positive brand and business reputation at all times.
  • Make recommendations for merchandising as necessary to enhance sales and customer satisfaction
  • Take ownership and responsibility to identify stock issues and take action to address them
  • Embrace the use of technology, use it responsibly and take an interest in new developments, for example in social media, that could support the business
  • Demonstrate pride in own role through a consistently positive and professional approach, and be aware of the impact of personal behaviour within the team
  • Take responsibility for own performance, learning and development, striving to accomplish the best results and take a flexible and adaptable approach to work
  • Work with integrity in an honest and trustworthy manner putting personal safety and that of others first
  • Operate in an empathic, fair and professional manner
  • Demonstrate personal commitment to minimising the effect of work activities on the environment and make recommendations for improvement if identified

Duration

A minimum of 12 months

 

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This standard is set at level 2

This apprenticeship provides an ideal stepping stone into specialist, team leading, supervisory or first line management roles within retail and higher level training and apprenticeships

 

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

";