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Job Training in Retail

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Retail is a huge and highly competitive industry. In 2007, more than 15.5 million people were employed in retail in the United States, according to Because of the demands placed on retail stores, especially during the holidays or when sales are held, retail employees must be trained to handle various aspects of their job. A lot of job training in retail is on the job in nature. However, there are also video and online training tools, as well as more formal training available as well.


Because retail salespeople and other retail employees have the most contact with customers, it is essential that employees are trained to serve store customers in a timely manner. Part of the retail sales employee's job training may include hospitality and how to greet customers. Employees may also be trained on how to approach customers who are just looking around, or how to use various upsell techniques while a customer is making a purchase.


Job training in retail is almost always focused on product knowledge, prices, styles or varieties. The retail employee must know where products are located; how to explain various features of a product; what advantages certain brands have over others; and in which styles or varieties the products are sold. Retail employees are also trained how to locate or look up the price for various items.


Job training in retail almost always includes some sort of cash register or POS (point of sale) system training. Most products are programmed into registers by managers. The retail employee must learn how to swipe merchandise over scanners or hit the correct keys when customers buy products. Once the items are entered into the register, employees are trained to total the purchases, handle credit card or cash transactions and print receipts for customers.

Types of Training

Retail employees are often trained by other more experienced employees or managers. An employee may perform certain tasks while another employee or manager oversees her performance. Over time, the employee learns by repetition. However, there are also videos, teleseminars and online tutorials that can be used for job training in retail. Videos may discuss certain safety measures for lifting or store security. Online tutorials can serve as reference materials. More formal classroom training or workshops may be required for retail management employees.


Job training in retail also includes teaching employees how to locate items in the stockroom, how to take inventory and what to do with returned merchandise. Retail employees also receive training on special promotions, learning how to ring up sales items on the register or how to accept coupons or discounts.