Duties in Retail


Retail store employees usually work long hours. They perform a number of duties, depending on the nature of their job. Managers are accountable for driving sales and profits in the store to meet their financial objectives. Managers must also train employees on both the operations and safety of the job. Hourly employees also perform a number of duties that keep a retail store running efficiently.


  • Retail employees at department stores, particularly clothing outlets, are often responsible for selling items within the store. Retail sales representatives often greet customers when they are browsing around their department, asking the customer if she needs assistance. The retail sales rep also answers technical questions about certain items, and even contacts other stores if a particular item is out of stock.

Running the Register

  • Retail employees are also responsible for running cash registers. Most cash registers are computerized as of 2010. The retail employee must know how to use certain register keys to complete various transactions. A retail employee's register duties may include processing coupons from customers. Additionally, cashiers must learn how to count their registers when they start their shift and balance them out at the end of their day.

Stocking Shelves

  • Retail entities like grocery stores have stock employees who take various food items out of cardboard boxes and stock shelves. Because of the amount of products they stock, people who stock shelves often work late at night when there is less in-store traffic. Stock employees must place items in the appropriate place and make sure they display shelf tags for each item.

Customer Service Duties

  • Most retail stores have a customer service department. People who work in customer service are usually responsible for making change, taking payments, handling complaints from customers, taking returned merchandise and even arranging for an employee to carry heavy merchandise out to a customer's car. Often, customer service employees have to answer incoming calls and forward the calls to the appropriate individual.

Inventory Management and Ordering

  • General or assistant managers often oversee the ordering of products to maintain a consistent amount of inventory in the store. Managers may have to order items that are in high demand several times per week. To provide more accurate estimates for ordering, managers often use electronic scanning equipment to record and track inventory levels.

Cleaning and Straightening Up

  • Most retail workers will occasionally need to wipe down counters, straighten up their area and return some merchandise to the appropriate area. A retail store will also employee some individuals to sweep, mop and wax floors, clean windows and scour restrooms. Employees who clean may also be responsible for replenishing paper towels, toilet paper and soap in the restrooms.

Advertising and Promotions

  • Managers will often be responsible for handling the store's advertising and in-store promotions, according to the article "Duties And Responsibilities Related to Being a Retail Store Manager" at exforsys.com. Advertising can include yellow pages ads, direct mail and even various newspaper ads. The manager may also need to construct special displays or put up point-of-purchase (POP) materials on shelves for some in-store promotions.

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  • Photo Credit top manager with cellphone image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com
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