The Career Clusters in a retail store

The Career Clusters in a retail store
The roles and responsibilities you’ll find in a retail store are as varied as the stores themselves – find out what to expect in this Workplace Spotlight.

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Retail stores exist to provide a physical space where customers can buy products and services. They allow people to see the items they want to buy, get help from staff, and make informed decisions. In a retail store, you could find yourself selling nearly anything, including clothing and accessories, electronics and gadgets, home appliances and furnishings, books, toys and games, beauty and personal care products, groceries and household items, sporting goods, and automotive supplies.

Even though online shopping has exploded in popularity, there are still lots of physical stores that need staff too. Retail stores offer social connections and contribute to local economies by creating jobs and supporting other businesses.

Each retail store is different, but there are some things they have in common:

  1. You’ll be working with people a lot – including both interactions with customers and collaborating with your co-workers.
  2. Problem solving is key – from figuring out the best solution for a customer to quickly calculating prices in your head.
  3. Lots of flexibility – many roles in retail are highly flexible, including many opportunities for part-time and casual work.

Key Outcome

Provide goods and services to the public

The main purpose of a retail store is to make shopping convenient and enjoyable for customers.

Key Tasks

  • Assist customers with inquiries and purchases.
  • Operate cash registers and handle transactions.
  • Stock and organise merchandise on store shelves.
  • Maintain store cleanliness and organisation.
  • Monitor and managing inventory levels.
  • Provide product information and recommendations.
  • Process returns and exchanges.
  • Set up visual displays and merchandising.
  • Ensure store security and loss prevention measures.
  • Collaborate with team members.


You can find retail stores in the retail trade industry

Retail stores are generally found in the retail trade industry. They can vary in size from small boutique shops that sell just a few select products, to huge supermarket-style stores that stock a wide variety of goods.

Work Environment

You can expect regular hours and on-site work

Regular hours  |  Work on-site  |  Jobs in metro, regional, and rural areas  |  Moderate job growth

Many retail stores are open during normal trading hours (generally 9 to 5), and also tend to open on weekends. Some stores are open on holidays, but this will vary depending on the store’s policy. Lots of roles available in retail stores are part-time or casual.

Retail roles typically require a physical presence in the store, meaning opportunities to work remotely or from home are limited. But there are some exceptions, such as administration, marketing, or even online customer support.

Retail stores can be found right around the country, though the type of store and kinds of things you’ll sell will likely be different depending on the needs of the community.

The Career Clusters you’ll find in a retail store

People from all Clusters are needed for a retail store to run successfully, but the most common Clusters you’ll find are Linkers and Coordinators. In many roles, you might find yourself performing tasks across multiple Clusters.


Makers in a retail store help to keep shelves filled and tidy, as well as packing and storing extra supplies and goods. They also ensure the store is kept clean and presentable. Some Makers might be responsible for delivering goods to and from the store. Other Makers might help with the initial fit out of the store too.

  • Shelf Fillers/Pickers and Packers
  • Cleaners
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Shop Fitters

Linkers are the face of any retail store, greeting and serving customers, selling and giving advice on products or services, and helping to answer any questions or complaints. They also promote the store and their services to the public, enticing new customers and increasing brand awareness.

  • Sales Assistants
  • Social Media Managers
  • Marketing Managers

Coordinators manage the behind-the-scenes responsibilities of a retail store, including ordering new stock, organising rosters and pay, keeping budgets on track, and reviewing sales targets. Other Coordinators might work out on the floor, supervising other workers and ensuring everything is running smoothly.

  • Store Managers/Supervisors
  • Accounts Managers
  • Logistics Managers
  • Administration Assistants

Informers help to train new workers in retail stores, teaching them everything they need to know about the job and helping them settle in. Some Informers are product experts with in-depth knowledge, able to answer any question and even demonstrate a product’s usage. Other Innovators might even track and collate data to identify trends and patterns in customer behaviour.

  • Trainers
  • Product Demonstrators
  • Data Analysts

Innovators help to design creative and inviting layouts and product displays for retail stores. Other Innovators might provide graphic, web, or UX design services for a retail store, helping with creating branding elements and websites.

  • Visual Merchandisers
  • Graphic/Web/UX Designers

Guardians aren’t the most common Cluster, but are still needed for some roles, including keeping the store and any products inside safe and secure. Other Guardians might advise on workplace health and safety practices and requirements, ensuring workers stay safe on the job.

  • Security Officers
  • Workplace Health and Safety Officers

How do we expect working in a retail store to change in the future?

In the future, working in a retail store is expected to undergo some changes, mainly driven by new technologies and emerging trends.

One notable change we have already seen is the integration of technology, with the increased use of self-checkout systems, mobile payment options, and automated inventory management systems.

Personalisation could also be enhanced, with stores using data analytics and customer profiling to offer tailored product recommendations and personalised shopping experiences. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) might play a larger role, assisting with tasks such as inventory management, customer support, and data analysis.

Retail stores will likely need to shift their focus towards creating unique and immersive in-store experiences to differentiate from online shopping, giving customers a reason to come into the store instead of staying at home.

As a result of these changes, retail workers may need to adapt and acquire new skills, such as tech skills, data analysis, creativity, and problem solving.