18 Pros and Cons of Working in Retail

Retail

The Great Resignation escalated in 2021, during which time many people began to rethink their occupational futures.

If you are still employed but need a change, have you considered the pros and cons of working in retail?

Pros of Working in Retail

1. Start Working Now With No Degree

Some higher-end clothing stores might require a previous retail job, but for the most part, you do not need to attend college and earn a degree before you land your first retail position.

Now, taking classes while you work would not hurt.

The education may even enhance your leadership skills if you want to become a manager.

However, you can just earn while you learn when working in a store.

2. Good First Job  

Not many first-time jobs help you start building your resume as a retail job does.

Your customer service experience will take you far.

For instance, it could help you secure a position answering phone calls or online chats just because you have customer service experience. 

3. Easy to Prove Yourself

To prove yourself when working in retail is easy.

You do not need to have a three-page resume.

All you need to do is respond to seasonal job ads posted during times when most stores require extra workers.

If you are serious about a long-term retail career, there is a good chance they will not let you go when a temporary season ends.

This may require performing beyond your original Call of Duty as a cashier or associate.

However, it could result in you not only having a full-time job but also could reward you for a management position. 

4. Learn About Business

Working in retail exposes you to many of the most important elements of running a successful company.

For instance, you will observe how to create employee schedules and learn the right ways to promote products and services.

You also learn how to keep a place stocked and organized. 

5. Flexible Schedule (Sometimes, for Part-Time)

Whether it be a restaurant, store in a shopping mall, or a grocery store, you can take advantage of opportunities to set your part-time schedule.

A flexible schedule benefits if you work more than one job or need to earn extra money while in college.

You also can work around family, hobbies and volunteer projects, and doctors’ appointments. 

6. Potential for Raises and Overtime

The more hours you’re willing to put into your work, the more you will earn on average.

You might even receive raises and have the chance to work overtime during the busy seasons.

This will prevent you from having to take time to look for a new job when you need extra money.

7. Merchandise Discounts

Some retail stores offer merchandise discounts usually ranging from about 10%-15% off an entire store purchase.

You could save money on food, clothing, and household items if you work in a store that offers this benefit.

Both full-time and part-time retail stores usually offer this perk.

8. Fun Work Environment

Not all stores have that many employees in them anymore because of new types of task automation that have emerged.

However, most stores still need people to fulfill online orders either for pickup or delivery.

This provides you a chance to meet new people, and this offers you the opportunity to have some laughs on the job.

During times when you are not super busy, working in retail can be a fun work environment.

9. Learn People Skills

If you are not naturally an outgoing person, working in retail can help you develop people skills.

Few skills that you ever learn on the job for the rest of your life measure up to the importance of getting along with others. 

It helps you both in your personal and professional life. 

10. Gain Sales Experience

Some retail jobs as of 2022 may still only pay a little more than minimum wages.

However, those positions can prepare you for the possibility of earning a six-figure income and living an extravagant lifestyle.

There is no guarantee of this.

However, it could happen to you if you learn how to apply your retail sales experience to a commission sales job.

11. Employee Benefits

Both full- and part-time retail employees may have the chance to secure a variety of job benefits.

These include paid vacations and holidays, retirement, and health savings accounts.

You might also become eligible for different types of insurance, such as medical, optical, or dental.

Some of them might also provide onsite childcare or vouchers for this to keep you employed.

Cons of Working in Retail

1. Store Closures

CNBC Lauren Thomas reports that 40,000-50,000 stores may close by 2026.

This number is down from the earlier projection of 80,000, but that are still quite a few stores that may go out of business.

Already, many stores in New York City had shut down after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

The only ones that will probably make it are those that offer hybrid shopping services.

For example, many clothing boutiques will have virtual kiosks that allow people to try on clothing in an augmented realm.

2. Work When You Do Not Want (Especially Managers)

Now, it is true that during the Great Resignation, many people have quit their jobs that probably would not have had the chance to before the pandemic.

However, it will not always stop people from having to work when they don’t want to forever. 

About Nights, Weekends, and Holiday Work

Pandemic or not, if working in retail, it is hard to avoid not working at least some weekends, nights, and holidays.

This especially applies to local or district managers, who run one or more stores.

If you decide to become a retail manager, do not think you have time for much of a life outside of work.

On the other hand, you can practice assertiveness.

It is the only way to make sure your employer does not always force you to work hours you do not want to work.

Assertiveness, by the way, is the only thing that may prevent you from wanting to quit without notice too.

Even managers caused entire stores to close down in 2021 because of too much work when they did not want it. 

3. Fluctuating Hours

If you work part-time in retail, you may not always end up with the same number of hours from one week to the next.

Your employer will more than likely slash your hours before they do a full-time employee.

If you do work at a store, you probably will want to try for full time if you want to maintain a steady revenue.

Even then, not all employees who work more than 30 hours will consistently end up receiving overtime pay.

By the way, fluctuating storehouses became quite apparent after the initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Many part-time retail and restaurant workers had their hours cut when the government reduced the number of hours required to be full-time.

Most of the ones who used to work at least 30-35 hours all of a sudden only worked about 24 hours.

This still sometimes happens in 2022, just like it did between 2010-2015. 

4. Lower Pay Than Commission Sales

You might have quite a bit of fun working in a retail store.

However, you may only start at minimum wage and not make much more than that unless you become a manager.

Either way, you usually would not make any commission as an associate or in a cashier or shift supervisor position.

The chance to earn a commission might not come until you have landed a position running an entire store.

If you do not want to run a whole store, you might instead have to work as a car salesman, start your own online shop or promote other companies’ products online.

5. Commute or Travel Required

If you end up in a retail position where travel is required, you might not have much time outside of work, whether it is studying, volunteering, or maybe even your hobbies.

You might not see your family much either.

Even if you have a local job, you will have to spend more time and money commuting than if you were to find a position that allows you to work at home.

6. Possible Burnout

You may begin to feel overworked and fatigued, especially if you are the one who ends up having to work every time someone else calls in or leaves early.

You might have to learn to say “no” and not feel bad when working in a place like this.

People often quit entry-level retail jobs without notice too, or they do not show up for work at all and do not even bother to call and tell you they are not coming.

This can cause burnout and make you want to quit too. 

7. Hard On the Body

Working the cash register probably is the toughest retail job.

Standing in one place all day, especially without supportive footwear, can cause aching legs, back pain, and hurt feet.

You would be better off working on the sales floor or in a different job where you can move around if you have these issues when working retail.

Pros and Cons of Working in a Retail – Summary Table

Pros of Working in a RetailCons of Working in a Retail
1. Start Working Now With No Degree1. Store Closures
2. Good First Job  2. Work When You Do Not Want (Especially Managers)
3. Easy to Prove Yourself3. Fluctuating Hours
4. Learn About Business4. Lower Pay Than Commission Sales
5. Flexible Schedule (Sometimes, for Part-Time)5. Commute or Travel Required
6. Potential for Raises and Overtime6. Possible Burnout
7. Merchandise Discounts7. Hard On the Body
8. Fun Work Environment
9. Learn People Skills
10. Gain Sales Experience
11. Employee Benefits

Should You Become a Retail Employee?

Some of the most “fun” retail jobs probably would be working in a clothing store or a flower shop.

Those places allow for the most creativity.

Probably the number one advantage is the exercise you would get if you work on the sales floor helping customers or stocking. 

Probably the least “fun” job in a retail store is cashiering.

In that position, you have to spend up to eight hours on your feet in one spot.

Even with the floor padding and supportive footwear, it takes a toll on the body. 

If you want to earn more than minimum wage, you might want to become a manager.

Assistant managers probably make about $30,000-$50,000, and store managers probably about $45,000-$70,000 a year or more. 

Jamie Willis