Specialty Retail Jobs
A specialty retail job is a terrific opportunity for you to put your people-skills to work in an area where you have a particular interest or knowledge base. Specialty retail (in contrast to styles of stores like department stores or supercenters, which tend to sell a wide variety of products) is a category of store concentrating on a particular type of product. Stores and boutiques fitting this description would include book stores, fabric or craft stores, electronics stores, hardware stores, toy stores, garment stores, jewelry stores, bath product stores—and the list goes on. Any shop which focuses its merchandise and sales in a particular class of item is a form of specialty retail.
For you as a potential employee, the specialty retail market offers some great advantages. If you have some specific areas of interest or knowledge (which could range anywhere from sewing or carpentry to literature, photography, gardening, or any other hobby or skill you have acquired), you may be specially suited to work as a salesperson for a retail outlet where your knowledge can be put to work. An avid gardener in a nursery and gardening center, for example, can more freely answer customer questions, share their own experiences (successes and errors) and recommend products based on personal knowledge. Whatever your area of knowledge, you can go into a job interview with an advantage when you show you’re able to converse knowledgeably about the products being sold in that specialty outlet.
Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to types of stores which match your existing knowledge-base, however; another advantage to specialty retail is that a motivated new employee can learn all about the products and their uses, and become an expert salesperson for that product. Unlike a supercenter type of store, where you might be hard-pressed even to learn where every item is displayed, let alone gain knowledge of all the individual products, a specialty retail store allows you to focus your study on the specific type of product being offered; in other words, it’s a narrow enough field that you can become a master of it. Many specialty retail stores also offer discounts to the employees to encourage those employees to use the products, enhancing their ability to talk about them knowledgably.
Specialty retail jobs have the additional benefit of having “room to grow” professionally, in the sense that every retail store has management positions. If you already meet the requirements of management at a particular specialty retail store, you can start off with that managerial application; alternatively, you can seek a job as a sales associate, master the knowledge of the products and services offered, and show the motivation and work ethic that will make you an excellent candidate for promotion to manager after a time.
Some specialty retail stores offer bonuses to salespeople in the form of sales commissions, rewarding the sales staff for the amount of product they are able to move, and giving motivation to hone your sales skills. Along the same lines, some companies also offer training for staff members, which can not only improve your ability to perform well in the current job, but also improves your eligibility for other positions with the addition of that training to your professional resume.
In addition to the possibility of commissions and professional training, you can look forward to a steady paycheck with predictable hours when you work in the specialty retail niche. Depending on eligibility and an individual company’s policies, you may even qualify for benefits like health insurance, vision and dental care, disability and life insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation and personal leave, and sometimes even shopping discounts at the store.
The skills needed for retail sales don’t require advanced education or specialized training; any person with a pleasant demeanor and people-skills, and the willingness and ability to learn about the products being sold, can succeed as a specialty retail salesperson. The same skills you would bring to bear on the job to sell a product are the skills you can bring to an interview to “sell” yourself as an outstanding candidate for employment. Your agreeable manner, pleasant smile, confident carriage, and tidy dress can put you in the running for a great position in the specialty retail niche.
For details and tips about how to best land a specialty retail job read our report, 7 Secrets To Getting Hired.