A career in Retail Management
Retail management is a relatively new branch of management studies. It has huge potential in a growing market like India. Even internationally, retail managers are lapped up at attractive salaries
Retail management pertains to the task of managing supermarkets and hypermarkets in strict business terms. In India, the retail industry has seen a great upsurge in the past decade. From adopting new marketing strategies to diversifying into businesses, companies have tried all gimmicks to impress the customer. This is one industry that works clearly on the paradigm, “Customer is King”. The next time you enter a Reliance Fresh supermarket or a Big Bazaar to buy a commodity of your choice, try and analyze the various discount prices being offered. The systems these days are super fast and dynamic and computerized. Unlike in the past when you had a grocery or a kirana shop selling you products and commodities at higher prices, now almost everything comes for a discount! It is the sale season for no proper reason! Right from factory outlets to supermarkets, some brands or the other would offer you discounts to beat and win the competition.
Accordingly, retail management is a subject that requires you to be fully aware of brands, marketing strategies, and retail philosophies behind winning the customer.
You will need to clear the CAT (Common Aptitude Test) for getting into prestigious colleges such as the IIMs or clear GMAT (General Management Aptitude Test) to get admitted to foreign universities for pursuing MBA.
Some of the best institutes offering courses in retail management are MDI Gurgaon and NMIMS University, Mumbai. You would have to appear for entrance exams to get admitted to these colleges.
As a student, pursuing a course in retail management would equip you with knowledge in the following areas overall:
1. Introduction to Retail Management and Concepts
2. Retailing trends
3. Retail Market Segmentation
4. Retail Pricing and merchandising
5. Relationship Marketing in Retailing
6. Role of Information Technology in Retailing
All other topics are a subset of either of these or are related subtopics.
Retail management is an unconventional subject, to say the least. It is a choice you must make if only you have the acumen to understand the retail industry and an inclination towards advertising as well. No doubt then, it will be a highly rewarding career.
Is it the Right Career for Me?
As stated above, retail management is the right or rather the best career for those who feel an interest in commodities, sales markets, market segments, diversification of businesses, advertising and campaigning, and marketing research. The profession offers wide scope for exploring new companies that get introduced into the market and offer various products. You can start as an assistant retail manager and manage a a store. You have to be dynamic and a team leader to succeed in the field.
What would it Cost Me?
A course in retail management would cost you somewhere between 1 lac and 3 lacs annually depending on the college or institute you choose. If you are pursuing the course from a Tier-1 B-school such as the IIMs, then you would be charged optimally in the range specified above. On the other hand, if you are pursuing a course from an international university that offers you chances to travel abroad, the fee would be higher.
The best option for getting education loans is from the State Bank of India, which offers up to a maximum loan of 7.5 lacs. Other banks offer education loans too but you must check on the payback interests being charged.
Several colleges offer scholarships to brilliant students. However, this is rare in India. Though colleges abroad offer full funding for students who score very well in GMAT exams or CAT exams, you must be prepared for meeting additional expenses such as boarding and lodging. The GMAT and CAT scores are taken into account for funding in universities abroad
The job options in the retail field are quite interesting for a college graduate. You may start working as a sales executive or be directly employed as a sales manager or a marketing manager and even start a retail business of your own by becoming a franchisee of another big player in the retail business!
The pay packet for a sales executive or a floor manager averages anywhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 25,000 depending on the magnitude of business you handle. Your responsibilities would primarily include managing people on the floor and assisting them with purchases.
At a corporate level, you may work as a business development officer as well.
Demand and Supply
The demand for floor personnel and retail managers is always high. This is primarily because the supermarkets and hypermarkets business is ever-expanding. Sometimes, start-up retail chains select freshers from colleges or hire students for part-time jobs to handle customers who visit the market.
The educational requirement sometimes is limited to just a twelfth standard with passing marks! However, for students who have completed MBA in Retail management, the demand is more on the side of business research, market research, and pricing and strategizing perspective. The supply is optimal in India but there is always a huge demand for retail professionals.
Companies such as Reliance, Big Bazaar, Vishal Mega Mart, and the newly started Star Bazaar make millions of rupees per day owing to the sheer volume of products and commodities they sell. Besides these companies, apparel leaders such as Westside and Pantaloons, and shoemakers such as Regal, Metro, and Bata use different strategies to market their products and come up with creative methods to sell their brands.
In this context, the summer, spring, and winter sales, and discounts hold much importance. The rise and fall of stocks and shares of these brands entirely depend on the monthly and annual sales.
The concept of supermarkets and hypermarkets has been borrowed by India from abroad from brand names such as Wal-Mart. A company like Wal Mart uses advanced supply chain strategies to market and sell its products.
Much to the satisfaction of Indians, brands such as Ray-Ban, Bose, Gucci, and Mango that sell fashion products have also entered the Indian market a long time ago to provide a high-end Indian customers with quality products.
In this context, the job opportunities for students of retail management are quite encouraging.
• There are several foreign retail chains from countries like Germany, the US, and the UK that are opening up stores in India every year. As a result, these have generated many opportunities for job seekers.
• The retail systems in general are very colorful and exciting. Individuals pursuing a job in this industry get wide exposure and an opportunity to interact with different kinds of people.
• Some retail outlets hire individuals who are simply graduates and do not ask for an MBA degree or any specific qualification in retail management. Sometimes, this may lead to inconsistencies in people’s careers.
• Certain brands that don’t do well in the market sometimes downsize their business and lay off employees. This is a risk factor often associated with the retail business.
Different Roles, Different Names
The employees hired by retail companies are usually known as floor managers, floor executives, lobby managers et al. At a corporate level, they would be called sales managers or marketing managers.
Nonetheless, the growth and expansion of the retail industry have seen the upsurge of plenty of malls, supermarkets, movie theatres, and hypermarkets for the general public. Though the products they see are different, the basic functionality remains the same, capturing customers’ hearts.
These are the top 10 retail companies in India: Shopper’s Stop, Westside, Pantaloons, Lifestyle, RPG Retail, Crossword, Wills Lifestyle, Globus, Piramals, and Ebony Retail Holdings
Tips for Getting Hired
To get hired by a retail company, follow the steps mentioned below:
1. Prepare a resume that highlights your passion for interacting with customers and excellent communication skills.
2. Include details of any awards or recognition bestowed upon you in school or college.
3. Apply with the top 5 to 7 companies to select the best job position.