What is this career about?
A career at a shoe store is a retail position, and with that in mind, this is a job that is completely concerned with meeting the needs of customers. There are many types of shoe stores. Some focus on athletic shoes only, while others may range from casual to formal to industrial. Your career here is about figuring out what the customer is looking for, and then find the appropriate solution. Great people skills and customer service are key components of this career.
What growth is likely?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently about 200,000 positions held within this industry. About 30,000 of these jobs are in management, with the remaining being entry level positions of some sort. This is good news for those looking to break into this industry as it indicates that there is a big need for both new employees, and those with experience in leadership positions.
Cashiers and sales associates can expect to start out making between minimum wage and $9 per hour. Some stores will pay commissions on top of this, depending upon the company you are employed with. Managers can expect an average salary of between $35,000 and $40,000 a year once some experience in the role is gained. The more successful your store is, the higher you can expect your rate of pay to be.
This industry has gone through a huge shift in the last 15 years or so. As the internet has taken over a portion of sales, there seems to be less demand for in-store experiences. This means that the stores that do still exist have had to make changes to help retain and grow their customer base. For example, many stores that focus on athletic footwear have had to expand their services, going into apparel, for example. Many of these stores also will help you to analyze your stride with advanced technology to help you select the perfect shoe for your running form. Other stores have expanded and offer a wide variety of product online and in-store. Some types of shops, specifically those that deal with more formal shoes, have had to make little in the way of changes because the internet has not adversely impacted their sales. Being aware of this before you apply is a must, as it will influence your ability to get a job in a specific company.
The good news is that this is an industry with ever changing demand and trends, and a new style of shoe seems to be coming out daily. This means that there is always going to be demand for the latest product, and keeping up with fashion trends is a must for you to succeed in this business. It also leads to a form of job security. Everyone needs shoes of some sort, and as a result of this, this is an industry that is not ever going to disappear.
How to succeed?
In order to succeed in a career at a shoe store, your first course of action should be to show that you get along well with other people. This is a retail job, after all, and being able to engage with customers in a friendly and helpful manner is a must for success. You should be able to not only help people to find what they are looking for, but you should have a great personality, be able to make small talk, and ask the right questions to figure out whether what they are looking for is what will actually meet the needs that they have out of a shoe or sneaker. This is particularly true when it comes to athletic shoes.
A good sense of style is also a good skill to have and develop as your career progresses. Fashion trends come and go, and being able to keep up with these things can be a good way to get ahead in your career. It shows that you are interested in the job and putting in the work to make sure that your customers are getting the most out of their visits.
You don’t need to have any sort of formal education, but getting a high school diploma or GED is a good way to boost your chances of moving up into a management role. A college degree might help, too, especially if you work for a large chain and hope to move up into upper management or a corporate position in the future.
Finally, make sure that you are dressed nicely for work, wearing footwear that would best reflect what your store is about.
Who should apply?
Many shoe stores will hire part time employees as young as 16 years old, but fulltime jobs require you to be 18 in this industry. You do not need any sort of formal education, but having a high school diploma or a GED will help you to get your foot in the door a little quicker. This is typically an entry level position, and you do not need any real experience in the industry to get started, although having retail or customer service experience can be helpful at more competitive stores.
If you have a love of fashion, footwear, or style, this could be a great career with you as it will enable you to share your unique views on fashion with your customers. This may also be the right career choice for you if you are an athlete and looking for a career that will help other athletes keep their feet protected and help improve performance at the same time.