Retail Job Titles and Descriptions

What Job Titles Can You Expect in the Retail Industry?

Woman tries on necklace with shop keeper's help
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If you are looking for a job in the retail industry, you should learn the job titles you can expect to see in listings. Retail means selling to the public. It can be a storefront, office, or online business. The business might consist of a single person with no employees, or it might be a small company where several employees each take on multiple roles. Or, it might be a large store or chain of stores with multiple departments and specialized positions.

Retail Job Responsibilities

To some extent, your duties in a retail position depend on what you are selling. Retail staff must be familiar with both the products they sell and the needs of their customers. For someone selling camping gear, for example, it is not enough to know the difference between types of sleeping bags. To give truly excellent customer service, it is also helpful to have slept in both of them.

But all retail jobs, regardless of industry or market, are more alike than different. While there are exceptions, such as stocking clerks or some purely managerial positions, most retail jobs involve a mix of working the cash register and providing customer service, plus some subtle but effective loss prevention. Some jobs include upselling, but many do not.

Job titles tend to vary somewhat from one company to the next. The same job might be called a “front end associate,” a “cashier,” or a “checker,” depending on who the employer is.

Conversely, duties might be divided differently in different businesses.

For example, in one store, cashier and sales associate positions might be strictly separate, while in another, the same personnel might fill both roles at the same time, or perhaps on alternate shifts. And yet, there are certain job categories that tend to be consistent from one business to another, at least above a certain size.

If you have succeeded at one retail establishment, you will likely succeed with a similar title elsewhere.

Top Retail Job Titles

Entry-level Positions
New hires often find themselves working as cashiers, stockers, or sales associates, although these can be long-term positions for some employees. Some people, for example, work as cashiers for years while earning regular raises and increased benefits. These are not jobs without skill. Both cashiers and sales associates function as the public face of the company and provide most of the customer service within the store. Stockers might not interact with customers (some work while the store is closed), but must be fast and accurate. These are entry-level positions because they don’t involve supervising anyone.

Intermediate Positions
Floor leaders, team leaders, and similar positions do supervise other staff, but these are often peer-leadership positions. That is, the lead cashier is still a cashier, and might have no true authority, but acts to coordinate the work of the other cashiers, making sure everyone takes breaks at the proper time, and so on. Customer service representatives may act as lead cashiers or lead sales associates in some stores.

In others, these positions are separate, but the customer service representative still has greater authority because they are empowered to handle agitated customers. None of these job titles are management, however.

Management Roles
In a small business, the manager might simply be the owner. In a large business, particularly one with multiple locations, there might be several layers of management. A department manager might actually be a team leader with an impressive title, the head of a department, but not part of management in a technical sense. Sales managers are true managers, responsible for training the sales team, setting goals and quotas, and making related decisions.

A store manager is responsible for an entire location in a chain, while a regional manager is responsible for several locations in a chain.

Depending on the company structure, there may be other managerial positions. At each level, each manager may have one or more assistant managers. These positions seldom involve any customer contact. Some managers rarely even speak to entry-level associates. But an awareness of the principles of sales is still important background for these positions.

More Retail Job Titles

  • Area Manager
  • Assistant Buyer
  • Assistant Merchandise Manager
  • Assistant Store Manager
  • Associate Merchandise Buyer
  • Associate Product Manager
  • Automotive Parts Counter Person
  • Automotive Product Specialist
  • Automotive Sales Manager
  • Automotive Sales Manager
  • Bilingual Retail Sales Representative
  • Buyer
  • Buyer - Fashion
  • Buyer - Fashion - Clothing
  • Buyer of Cosmetics
  • Buyer of Girls Apparel
  • Cashier
  • Copywriter
  • Customer Service Assistant
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Delivery/Bulk Merchandiser
  • Delivery Merchandiser Trainee
  • Department Manager
  • Director of Merchandise Planning and Allocation
  • Display Assistant
  • Display Manager
  • Display Merchandiser
  • District Sales Manager
  • Divisional Manager
  • Executive Merchandise Trainee
  • Floor Area Manager
  • Floor Leader
  • Floor Manager
  • Footwear Buyer
  • General Manager
  • Global Logistics Supervisor
  • Graphic Designer
  • Image Editor
  • In Store Assistant Branch Manger
  • Inventory Associate
  • Inventory Taker
  • Inventory Manager
  • Junior Art Director
  • Loss Prevention Specialist
  • Manager of Retail Strategy Communications and Processes
  • Meat Manager
  • Merchandise Analyst
  • Merchandise Buyer
  • Merchandise Manager
  • Merchandise Manager
  • Merchandise Planner
  • Merchandise Supervisor
  • Order Entry/Processor
  • Order Filler
  • Order Picker
  • Paint Specialist
  • Product Demonstrator
  • Procurement Specialist
  • Promotions Coordinator
  • Regional Manager
  • Retail Administration Analyst
  • Retail Associate Store Manager
  • Retail Buyer 
  • Retail Customer Service Associate
  • Retail Food Service Manager
  • Retail Leadership Development Program
  • Retail Management Trainee
  • Retail Marketing Specialist
  • Retail Personal Banker
  • Retail Sales Associate: Retail Sales Worker, Sales Clerks, Retail Clerks, Salespeople
  • Retail Sales Associate/Photographer
  • Retail Sales Consultant
  • Retail Sales Representative
  • Retail Security Officer
  • Retail Trainee
  • Retail Team Leader
  • Sales Associate, Salesperson, Sales Worker
  • Sales Manager
  • Senior Art Director
  • Service Supervisor
  • Stock Clerk
  • Stocker/Placer
  • Store Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Team Leader
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Warehouse Associate - Material Handler
  • Warehouse Manager
  • Wine Sales, Cashiers and Stock Associates

Related Articles: How to Get a Retail Job | List of Retail Skills | Retail Job Interviews | Top 10 Best Hourly Retail Jobs

Lists of Job Titles
See more information on job titles and a list of job titles for a variety of occupations.