Working in a Fashion Shop Retail Job, What is it Like? by Collette Costello – Surviving a Career in Fashion Series

During my years as a student I worked part-time in a number of retail fashion shop jobs, my first job was working the night the Trafford Centre first opened in Barratt’s Shoes, other places I have worked are River Island and Top Shop.  Managers love staff that are positive, enthusiastic, a lot of retail fashion shop work can be a little boring, however its about being professional at all times and keeping busy makes the time go quicker.


What Do You Do, or Main Duties?

  • You will usually start on the shop floor, this means your job will be too make sure the shop is tidy, putting clothes in correct size order, jumpers folded and replenishing, restocking from the stock room garments, shoes that may have sold.
  • A face on the shop floor, you are there for customers to ask any questions about what clothes the store have in stock and for directions to different areas of the store.
  • Attending the dressing room is another duty, this means counting the customers clothes in and out, giving them tickets to make sure nothing is stolen.  Another member of staff would usually put the unwanted clothes back in the correct place in the shop.
  • Working part-time I found the stores were quite reluctant to train such staff on the tills, however you may find you are working on the tills, scanning customer clothes, bagging up and taking their all important cash.
  • Working in a shoe shop you would be asked by customers for their size in that shoe, going in to the stock room you would retrieve the shoes for them as I am sure you have had happen many times.  Shoe shop work is hard work, lots of running up and down stock room ladders with shoe boxes, the positive is it goes fast.


Good Customer Service is Everything!

Doing a good job in retail is all about good customers service, happy customers equal happy managers.  Some of my customer services was quite poor at seventeen, I remember telling a women in the changing room at River Island who complained a dress did not fit, that she needed “to get the next size up as it was too tight”, it did not go down well, a better response would have been “yes the sizes are very small, can I get you another size?”.  So to do a good job here are a few rules to follow, remember the customer is always right.

  • Be busy all the time, managers love it, there will always be clothes to fold, shelves to tidy.  Never stand round chatting, it looks really bad to customers especially if they need help.
  • Smile at customers when they come in the shop, ask if you can help them in anyway, are they looking for anything in particular if they look stuck.
  • Know the lay out of the shop and the stock you have.  The amount of times I have be told by shop assistants they don’t have it, only to find the item in stock.
  • If a customers asks for an item not in the shop offer to look in the stock room, phone another store to check stock or offer to order it in, another option is to offer alternatives rather then the customer leave without buying anything.
  • Working on the changing room, offer to have alternative sizes brought to the customer rather then them having to go half dressed into the shop looking for another size.
  • When working on the till never ever be rude to a customer, if they are unhappy about being unable to return an item offer to let them speak to a manager, someone with more authority maybe able to offer a credit note or something to keep them happy.

If retail sounds like it is for you and would like to find out more about how I got the jobs check out my blog posts “Applying for a Job in a Retail Fashion Shop” and “Surviving an Interview in a Retail Fashion Shop”.

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