Changing jobs? If you are going to be looking for part time work and are thinking about which sector you would like to work in, there are often lots of part time job opportunities in the retail sector.
The great thing about working in retail is that there is a variety of roles so there could be something that will match your skills and traits. A part time job that suits your skills and traits can prove to be rewarding.
Retail jobs can also be a good idea if you are looking for entry level work or work that requires previous experience or specific skills.
So if you are looking to change your career direction, you are looking to get back into the workplace after time out for family or other commitments, or you want a part time job for other reasons, retail jobs can be a great place to start.
In the UK, there are currently lots of vacancies in the retail sector so now could be the perfect time to start your search. Because retail takes place all over the UK, you should be able to find a role close to where you live.
Let’s take a look at part time retail jobs in more detail.
What Is Retail?
If you decide to work in retail, you will be working in one of the world’s oldest trades. Retail is the sale of a product or service to another person, most often for a profit.
For thousands of years, merchants have traded products to customers who have paid them a fee for that product.
Today, the British retail sector is 5% of the UK economy and is the largest private sector employer, providing around 3 million jobs. Lots of people in the retail industry work part time in local communities and you could be one of these people.
Part time retail jobs can be hugely rewarding. Whilst there is, of course, a focus on profits for retail companies, working in retail jobs can make small or significant positive contributions to the lives of others.
Working in a rural area in a local grocery shop, for example, means you are providing an essential service to the local community – especially if that place also acts as a gathering spot for local people to chat with each other.
Large supermarkets, on the other hand, will give you the opportunity to work with a large team of staff and also come into contact with thousands of customers, too.
A great way to meet new workmates from a variety of backgrounds whilst also making sure UK shoppers are getting access to the goods they need.
What Are The Common Jobs In The Retail Sector?
In the introduction, we said there are lots of types of jobs you can do when you work in the retail sector.
If you are looking for part time jobs at entry level or you are looking to retrain and begin a new career in retail on a part time or full time basis, let’s take a look at some of the most common retail jobs out there.
Depending on where you are doing your part time retail jobs, some companies have their own job titles for some positions but your duties will generally be the same as those of other retail companies.
In some retail companies, depending on their size, you might focus solely on one position. In smaller retail stores where staff numbers are lower, you will usually be required to cover a number of roles.
Store Assistant/Sales Assistant
If you enjoy meeting people and working with the general public, then the role of sales assistant could be the perfect part time retail job for you. This is especially true if you are looking for entry level jobs to get a foot in the door.
As well as being confident around people, the sales assistant has a responsibility to encourage shoppers to buy the company products. You are there to assist and advise customers without coming across as being too pushy. Remember, you will be the face of the company and it is important that customers leave with a positive feeling about the company.
Sales assistant jobs can be rewarding when you feel you have helped a customer get exactly what they are looking for and they have left the store in a better mood. Perhaps you have made them feel good by advising them on which clothing to buy or you might have helped them to find an essential ingredient for a recipe they want to follow.
As well as dealing with customers, a part time store assistant also has other duties. There will be times when customers can’t find what they are looking for so you will need to have a knowledge of your workplace and where different items are so that you can point them out.
The shop or store must also be kept clean and tidy. How many times have you been into a busy clothes store for example and seen clothes that have been unfolded and placed back onto the shelf by customers.
Any spillages and breakages need to be cleaned up, also. Not just to keep the shop looking clean and tidy but also for the safety of customers and other team members.
It is your job to try and keep on top of tasks like this and make sure everything is being presented to the customer in line with company procedure.
If some products are running low on the shop floor, you might also be required to restock and replenish so that everything is on show for the customer.
Some sales assistant roles will have a flat hourly rate whilst others might come with commission or bonuses for when you reach any given sales targets.
Shelf Stacker Jobs
Shelf stackers play an important role in any larger retail store, replenishing goods that have been sold throughout the day. For some shelf stacking jobs, you might be required to work through the night so that products are replenished for the following day.
Shelf stackers need to make sure all goods are displayed as the retail company wants them to be, with labels facing the right way so that customers can see what they are buying. Goods also need to be in the correct place on the shelves with correct pricing information clearly visible. This will also include any stickers or cards that advertise special offers.
Shelf stackers will also need to be aware of stock rotation and make sure that older goods are brought forward and newer goods placed at the back to reduce the chances of goods going out of date.
Occasionally, shelf stackers will also be part of the team that rearranges furniture and shelving in a store and makes sure everything is put back on display correctly.
In retail work, part time customer services jobs can be in person – working behind a customer services desk, for example. If you have been to larger supermarkets, you will have probably seen a customer services desk. This can also sometimes be labelled as a help desk.
Customer service assistants need to be confident in dealing with people, have a strong knowledge of the products the company sells and also be able to handle tricky situations.
Sometimes, customers are not happy with their purchase for whatever reason and might need to return it. It is often the job of the customer services assistant to deal with these situations, offering refunds and replacements and dealing with any other queries that customers may have.
Customer service assistants are part of the team of staff who ensure that customers feel welcome in the store and leave the store feeling satisfied, even if they arrived at the desk, originally, to complain about faulty products or to change an item for other reasons.
As well as face to face communications, part time retail jobs as a customer services assistant can involve telephone communication, emails and social media messaging.
If the store you are working at has a meet and greet service, part of your job might entail greeting customers at the door as they enter the store. This makes customers feel relaxed and welcome.
In any type of retail store, part time retail jobs as a cashier will come with lots of responsibility.
In days gone by, the role of the cashier was mainly about dealing with cash transactions but these days, of course, there are numerous ways of paying for goods. Indeed, some retail outlets no longer accept cash.
The cashier needs to be familiar with all the different ways the retail store encourages customers to pay for goods.
The cashier also needs to be able to use all the machinery and software needed to keep on top of monies received.
In some retail jobs, the cashier will also be responsible for upselling goods at the point of payment. Any sales might be rewarded with commission.
Depending on the type of retail outlet you are working in, the set up might be such that rather than covering a whole shop floor, you will serve customers from behind a counter.
This is often the case in delis and larger supermarkets where you might work on a specialist counter area. This might be serving up takeaway salad bowls, specialist cheeses or seafood for example.
These types of roles will see you in direct contact with customers whilst also giving you the opportunity to learn a more specialised role/
In larger stores and in fashion retail, for example, visual merchandising jobs are specialist roles where you will need some previous training or experience.
If you have an interest in this type of work and think you have a good eye for what looks good in a store, this could be a role that you get into when working in other retail roles on the shop floor. Indeed, this is a common route into visual merchandising and you can go on to gain visual merchandising qualifications by doing training, courses or an Apprenticeship.
Again, if you are working in a smaller retail store, you will be doing all the roles mentioned above as well as visual merchandising.
Part time retail jobs as a visual merchandiser will mean you are responsible for how goods are presented in store and also the window displays. It is the window displays that attract customers into the shop in the first place so this is a crucial part of retail work.
Visual merchandisers are creative people who can present goods in an attractive way and arrange displays and furniture so that customers are lead around the store in such a way that they have a positive visual experience and therefore want to buy more goods as they wander around the shop floor.
Apply For Part Time Retail Jobs
The roles mentioned above are just a few of the types of part time retail jobs you could do. Of course, if you have experience of working in retail stores, you could also apply for part time supervisory roles or retail management positions.
Bear in mind that lots of retail jobs will require you to work evenings and weekends and bank holidays and, for some roles such as working in 24 hours stores, you might be required to work night shifts.
This might be useful for those of you looking for the type of role that doesn’t require you to keep office hours. If you like to work flexible hours where the opportunity to work more hours is available around busy periods, part time retail jobs are worth your consideration.
Post-pandemic, many retail outlets are looking to recruit part time staff to fill the many vacancies that have arisen as a result of stores reopening and people once more returning to shopping centres, supermarkets and high streets.
Take a look at our current retail vacancies to see if there are any part time retail jobs to suit you.