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Working in a retail environment can be a very demanding career. Hours can vary widely based on seasonal needs and store sales, among other factors. Working in the softlines department of a retail store or shop includes positions that are responsible for the sale and merchandising of clothes, towels and linen, in addition to jewelry items. Understanding the skills required to be successful in this specialty will prepare you for success in your retail career.
Merchandise and Displays
A softlines department employee might have to start at the entry level. For softlines, an entry-level role often entails maintaining a store department's appearance, stocking merchandise, and ensuring displays and racks remain in good order. This may include accessing the stock room, and straightening merchandise after customers have looked at or tried on clothing. As an entry-level employee, ensuring clothing and other softlines are in their proper order, such as sorting by size, and location will make it easier for customers to find items.
Meeting customers and quickly developing rapport, as well as having an in-depth knowledge of all the department's products and their placements is needed for a retail sales position in the softlines department. This can also be a physically demanding position, requiring a person to remain on their feet, perhaps for hours at a time. Maintaining composure in the face of sometimes unkind customers will help you excel as a softlines salesperson. Ultimately, success is measured by meeting or exceeding revenue objectives.
Often the next step after succeeding as a salesperson, a job as a softlines assistant manager will require you to assume additional responsibilities. Supporting the efforts of sales and service employees and working directly with the customers are usually required. As an assistant manager, department revenue targets are expected to be met. This person must also represent the company in all facets of her work. Handling customer problems and conflicts is a key component of this role.
Team executives or leads have overall responsibility for at least one, sometimes multiple, softlines departments, such as clothing and bedding departments. These positions generally require several years of supervisory experience, usually within the retail industry. This role is also responsible for the training and ultimate performance of assistant managers and all other employees within the department. Often required to open and close the store, a team executive can expect to work long hours. As with most retail positions, a softlines team executive still interacts with the store's customers, ensuring they have a a good buying experience.
Tim Brugger has been writing professionally since 1995. He has published newsletters, white papers and informational articles for organizations such as IDS Financial Services, Red Chip Review and Western Independent Bankers. His fiction has also been published online. Brugger majored in business studies at the University of Oregon.