Retail is the practice of selling goods to the public in order to earn a profit for yourself. Retail sales are usually made on a small scale to individuals for personal use, compared to wholesale sales that involve selling items in bulk for companies and organizations to use. Those who work as retailers are often in the middle of the supply chain, purchasing from a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell the goods to consumers. Retailers can sell goods through many outlets, including department stores, convenience stores, outlet stores, warehouses, discount stores, e-commerce websites, dealerships, and even their own homes. The practice has been around almost as long as humans have, though those who lived in Mesopotamia are thought to have created the first system that used money rather than simply trading goods.
Learning about retail can help you as both a consumer and a professional. When you shop for goods for yourself, understanding how retail works can make you a more savvy shopper. Anyone who makes investments may also want to study retail to get a better understanding of which options are better than others. On a professional level, learning about retail can help set you up for a career in the field. If you already have a career in retail, learning more about it may help you explore advancements to positions in management, human resources, or marketing. And if you've ever dreamed of opening your own store or selling your own goods, learning about retail can help provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to get started.
Retail careers typically involve working in stores and other outlets that sell goods, either at an entry-level position, like cashier or sales associate, or at a more advanced position, like a floor supervisor or store manager. You may also find yourself working at a corporate level for retail brands and companies with multiple locations. Other potential retail-related careers include becoming a buyer, a visual merchandiser, an advertising or marketing manager, a social media manager, a customer service representative, or a logistics specialist. You may even find that you want to work in a specific area within the retail industry using a combination of retail and other skills you possess. For example, if you're into fashion, you may work as a makeup artist or beauty consultant in a store that sells cosmetics or clothing. If you want to work in the medical field, you may become a pharmacy technician or pharmacist.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.