FeaturedNews & people

How to become a retailer: A guide

Looking for a career change? Or a new opportunity?

Becoming a retailer is tough and a competitive market, but with the right attitude, anything is possible. If you are asking yourself, where should I start? You need to know how to become a retailer.

Keep in mind that your previous professional experiences will contribute to your success.

Be sure to know how to build a resume and network with people in the industry.

Read our Talk Retail guide on how to become a retailer.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a retailer?

A retailer owns and operates a business that sells products. These items are commonly manufactured by another business.

Retailers no longer need a physical store to sell their products. Instead, they can quickly sell a variety of products online. Other forms to sell items include kiosks, vending machines, or door-to-door.

Furthermore, retailers may buy merchandise in bulk or they may buy on a case-by case basis from a wholesaler.

What type of training do I need to become a retailer?

There isn’t a straight career path to become a retailer. However, there are courses and training that will strengthen your capabilities.

Retail is highly competitive and as more and more people turn to online stores to shop, having some technical knowledge will be more than beneficial.

You may want to look into time management, social media, marketing, and coding courses.

Sales is an important aspect of this career path. Find a course on how to speak to customers and wholesalers, this will contribute to making better deals.

What skills do I need to become a retailer?

Retail is probably one of the oldest professions there are. Think about the merchants that used to exchange goods on Silk Road.

If you want to become a master in retail, these are some of the skills you need:

  • Work ethic: this means that you take your job seriously. It means that you are on time, that you respect your colleagues and the people you collaborate with.
  • Business awareness: you are aware of the industry and the trends that impact your business.
  • Customer-focused: you keep your customers at the forefront of everything you do.
  • Dependable: your employees, and customers, can depend on you.
  • Practical time management skills: you are organized and follow a schedule.
  • Self-awareness: You know how your behaviour impacts others and the areas where you need to improve.
  • Calm during a crisis: employees look to leaders for security and reassurance. Staying calm during an emergency is challenging, but a skill worth cultivating.
  • Culturally aware: it’s also important to be respectful of other cultures, identities and genders.

Additionally, attention to detail is essential. As a retailer, you have to ensure that you have the necessary stock of your products, that they pass quality checks, and much more.

How do I start?

Once you’ve decided this is the path you want to take, there are several steps to follow to achieve this goal.

dream big to become a retailer

Step 1: Find the business that fits you

One of the most important steps is finding your niche. Explore your interests and passions.

Consider the challenges you may face and how you would deal with them.

Do your numbers and think about whether the profit is worth the investment.

Finally, research your competitors. What are they doing right? Could you do something better?

Step 2: Develop your business plan

We all have great ideas. However, you need to put those ideas into paper. Ideas aren’t enough to make dreams come true.

You need to write and develop a business plan if you truly want to become a successful retailer.

Think about these questions when coming up with your business model:

  • What kind of products will you sell?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How many employees do you need to hire?
  • What will your startup cost be?
  • How much money do you need to start your business?
  • How long will it take you to break even?
  • How long will it take you to make a profit?
  • Will you be able to find investors?
  • Would you consider partnering with another person?

Most business plans are likely to change once you start, but it’s essential to have a base.

Step 3: Pick a product to sell

You must pick a product or products. It might be easier if it’s something you are passionate about or understand. That way, you are more likely to reach your customers.

Step 4: Decide how you will sell your product

The type of retail business you have will depend on the product, but also the location.

Will you have a storefront? A kiosk? Or, will you sell online?

Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Having a storefront allows you to get to know your customers, but your store has to be located strategically. If you sell online, you need a customer service team to help you deal with customer complaints.

Step 5: Who will find your business?

Unless you’ve won the lottery, you most likely need to find funding for your business.

You may either have some savings, but you may also be looking at loans or grants. Or possibly investors. It all depends on different factors: the type of product, your market, your location, etc.

Once you’ve finalized these 5 steps, there are other steps you’ll have to follow. For instance, legally establishing your business. One aspect of this is paying taxes and doing paperwork.

If you do decide to have a storefront, you’ll have to find a store location. And down the line, find and get your inventory.

It’s all very exciting and slightly scary, but it’s possible!

Expected salary

The expected salary will vary depending on a range of factors. For example, retail profit margins are attached to the type of product, the number of sales, and much more.

Standard profit margins in shops range from .5% to 7.5%. Meanwhile, online profit margins range between 2 and 5 %.


Becoming a retailer might seem challenging, but it can be highly successful at the right time and in the right market.

It’s essential to carry out research and take into account the financial, but also emotional costs. One of the most important things you need to know is your customer and how to reach them.

For further information and ideas about market research, go to Hotjar.