Retail as a Career
By George Anderson
A fine art print entitled Born for Retail found on the StoryPeople Web site says: “Has always had the soul of an artist, but the instincts of an attack dog, so of course
he went into retail.”
It may very well be that great retailers are various parts attack dog and artist, but many with these particular personal qualities have skipped retailing as a career in the
past because of odd hours, low pay, sickly benefit programs and a lack of prestige.
Some companies, reports The Boston Globe, are trying to change the negatives many associate with retailing by paying better and professionalizing the workforce and workplace.
James Dion, principal of Dionco Inc., a firm that analyzes retail trends in retail, says the changes are simply a matter of smart business. “Employee turnover is a huge hidden
expense that some smart retailers are discovering can be not only controlled but used to make sales better,” he said.
Bart Weitz, the executive director of the Center for Retailing Education & Research at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, said, “The key characteristic
that tends to divide higher compensation retailers from lower compensation retailers is the level of customer service.”
According to Mr. Dion, The Container Store and Crate & Barrel have taken this approach for years while others, such as Best Buy, are now getting with the program.
Moderator’s Comment: What do you think are the biggest impediments to college graduates following retail as a career? Is this something retailers should
actively address or is it just retailing and that is what it will always be? –
George Anderson – Moderator