Published in ‘The Economic Times’ India and ‘Educations Times’ on December 7th 1999

Retailing has finally arrived in its true sense in India. Today every nook and corner of most metros seem beaming with outlets, with neon signage and well dressed up windows screaming for attention. Boutiques, discount stores, mom and pop corner stores, mall’s, supermarkets, shopping complexes they have all arrived in a big way. We are slowly moving away from the typical counter stores, which have existed over the years. Today’s retailer has to ensure that he provides the same goods at the same price with additional value-added services, which would ultimately act as a differentiators for the customer to choose which store to buy from. One of the mediums to offer this difference is by having trained and skilled manpower in field of sales, store management and merchandising. Sales force makes a lot of difference in marketing high value consumer durables and high value service products. Adequate product knowledge in such situations is of outmost importance. Training has to be provided on both sales and product front. Many management institutes are now offering an elective in retailing in the second year of the M.B.A (Marketing) program. Also a lot of retailers have developed their own in house training program to suite their own store needs. Some of Jobs titles with their job profile and skill set required are listed below.

Sales and Merchandising Representative (S.M.R)
The fast growing retail sector has become a critical battlefield for manufacturers. Manufacturers have realized that, to be successful in retail, they must continuously wage war for mind share of the retailer, space in his stores, and the allegiance of the store sales team in the face of increasing competition. To that end some manufacturers has created the important position of Sales and Merchandising Representative.
The S.M.R is responsible for
  • Winning mind share of Retailer.
  • Identify shelf space for your product and convincing the retailer for the same.
  • The product training needs of the in-store sales force.
  • Allegiance of the store’s people to sell and promote your products.
  • Effective flow of information on new products and happenings to the retailer.
Desired Skill-set required for S.M.R
  • Understanding of retailer’s environment in which they operate.
  • Should be effective communicator for transfer of information between manufacturer and retailer.
Sales Executive or Marketing Executive
Responsible for
  • Counseling all walk-in customers on the products and providing any additional information, which would facilitate the customer to make the right product choice.
  • Involvement in the entire selling circle of prospecting to closing the sale.
  • Responsible for reaching personal Sales Targets set by store manager.
  • Could be assigned a rotating task of managing in-store inventory and cash counter.
  • Demonstration of Products whenever required.
Store Manager
Responsible For
  • Achieving predetermined monthly and annual sales target.
  • Leading and motivating a team of in-store sales executives.
  • Preparing pre-sales reports like potential client lists and sales progress charts.
  • Preparing post-sales reports like daily and weekly sales reports.
  • Co-ordination with logistics to ensure timely deliveries to customers and to keep inventory levels optimum in the branch.
  • Developing human resources at the branch level.
  • Preparing business plans for financial quarter.
  • Overall merchandising of the store and look of the store.
  • Designing and carrying out promotional schemes within the store.
Desired Skill-set required for Sales Exec/ Store Manager
  • Good communication and convincing skills.
  • Patience to deal with all kinds of customers.
  • Good product knowledge of the products in terms of features and USP’s.
  • Knowledge of competitors products.
  • Good knowledge of Store dynamics in terms identifying of hot selling goods, high traffic spots in the store and merchandising requirements.
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