Making a career in retail

Indian retail industry is one of the vibrant and fastest growing economic sectors contributing 14 to 15 percent of GDP.


Including the organised and unorganised sector at economic level Indian retail market is determined as one of the top five retail markets of the world. Factors like disposable income enhancement, working population escalation, rapid urbanization, customer aspiration, new generation of entrepreneurs and liberal FDI policy are acting as riders to Indian retail sector. 

The current advancement in the field of information, communication and technology has completely altered the concept of shopping .This results that shopping has become an entertainment activity than a necessity. According to a FICCI report, the Indian retail sector will grow at 7 per cent over the next 10 years, reaching a size of $ 850 billion by 2020.

The unprecedented rapid growth of the sector along with penetration within a short period of time has emerged as retail revolution creating impact even in the rural sector and affecting the buying pattern of semi-urban and rural consumer.

The Indian retail sector is considered as an evolving industry which is ready to transform the economy with global standards. However, the struggle is that, retailing has recently been shifted to organised retailers from the hands of disorganised entrepreneurs, better known as Kiranawalas.

Further, taking the size, shape, product line, prices for services etc. as base retail business can be categorised in various ways. Few among them are malls, chain stores, groceries, lifestyle, household appliances etc.

Focus

Retail sector is closely associated with departmental stores and shopping mall retailing. The main focus of retail sector marketing of this era is on store retailing rather than on non-store retailing. Store retailing means offering multi brand products in various categories to serve different segment of the society under one roof rather than selling the products as direct selling. Store retailing involves a number of processes like inventory management, merchandise shipment, managing store profitability, store advertising, store administration, customer satisfaction, communication etc. 

The availability of variety of processes from marketing to branding this sector has generated multitude of job opportunities which one can take up depending on interest and aptitude.

To catch up with globalisation, the industry needs to relook its competence to deliver satisfactory consumer services, proficiency to work in regulatory framework as well access to capital requirements. Being a manpower-intensive industry, retail demands retail management professional at different level and from different streams like operation, supply chain management, finance, marketing, e-retailing, inventory, human resource management, event management, business communication etc. Besides career growth potential, this booming sector provides good salary packages to fulfill the aspirations of youngsters.

Besides professional qualifications, communication skills and analytical mind is must to excel in this industry. Direct interaction with customer expects that professionals must be good problem solvers and should be efficient in handling customers. 

Further, to handle the management talent crunch and to inculcate appropriate  retailing skills, academia has come up with number of degree and diploma courses. Several online portals, government institutes and private business schools are offering certificate/diploma programmes in retailing. The skill development initiate of government of India is also providing free courses and placements even to undergraduates. 

Private business schools are providing PG diplomas in retail management. Institutes and universities are also providing certificate and degree courses in Fashion Merchandising, Marketing and Retail Management. 

The retail boom accelerated by multi-national retail outlets in India has opened a new vista for professional and ensures good prospects in retail sector in 2014.

Prospects for career growth

In the retail industry, the management level jobs may not be supervisory, but rather carry a higher level of responsibility and expertise. 

While working as an apprentice under one or more experienced store managers, management trainees gain the skills and experience in merchandising, store management, buying, booming of online retailing, central management advertising, inventory, bookkeeping, and human resources that position them for advancement in their retail career.

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