Have a passion for gemstones or Jeeps? Then these retail sales jobs, which can be relatively higher paying than other retail positions, may be just the spot for you.
Many top-earning salespeople sell big-ticket items like cars, furniture or jewelry, says Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of the talent management consultancy Matuson Consulting. These jobs also can pay commissions and even performance bonuses.
“Don’t assume that every retail sales job just pays a straight salary,” she says.
While the median pay for retail sales jobs in 2012 is lower than that of all workers — $21,410 per year compared with $34,750 — top retail sales jobs pay better than that average retail salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though the overall figures are from 2012, wages and job projections are from May 2013.
There are some enticing perks for these positions. They include work schedule flexibility, since 1 in 3 salespeople worked part time in 2012, according to the BLS. And benefits can include medical and vision insurance, and even stock options.
“You may also get product training and discounts on products,” including reductions on pricey jewelry and furniture, Matuson says.
So polish your people skills and make some money in retail.
If you’re a car aficionado, you’re in luck. Car salespeople are at the top of the retail pay pyramid.
However, you’ll need to do your homework to land the job. “Know the industry inside and out,” says Don Firth, CEO of TopUSAJobs.com and other sites. “And know how cars work.”
Also, by knowing the competition, such as how a Ford model compares with a Toyota model, you can answer questions better and make sales, he says. Selling exotic cars, such as Lamborghinis, will require even more detailed information on horsepower or accessories to make sales.
However, you’ll be well-rewarded. Besides a salary, car salespeople usually receive commissions, which can be 20 percent to 40 percent of the profit on a car sale, according to CarSalesProfessional.com. On top of that, many car dealers offer bonuses to spur salespeople.
“You may even be able to drive that shiny Mercedes or BMW,” Firth says.
The number of retail salespeople at motor vehicle and parts dealers is projected to rise from 352,900 in 2012 to 381,800 in 2022, the BLS says.
Making the job sector rosier, the U.S. automobile market has recovered from the impact of the recession. In 2013, auto sales increased 8 percent year over year to 15.6 million units, according to Zacks Equity Research. In the long term, sales are expected to rise on the back of strong pent-up demand, easier car financing and low gas prices.
Other big-ticket sales items like furniture can be a boost to those who move into this sector.
To snag these retail sales jobs, boost your knowledge of furnishing your home and matching various types of furniture, says Tim Wackel, a Dallas-based sales trainer. “Have a flair for design,” he says, since you’ll be talking to designers, too. “And connect easily with customers so they can be confident in what they’re buying.”
Many furniture-store chains pay generous commissions and bonuses. For example, salespeople at one major furniture chain can receive a bonus each quarter for one of three sales categories if they exceed certain thresholds. If all three categories are achieved in one quarter, the bonus is doubled in value.
Salespeople receive in-store training sessions to shore up rusty skills. Full health insurance, including vision benefits, is also available.
The number of retail salespeople in this sector is projected to grow from 201,600 in 2012 to 218,200 in 2022, the BLS says.
If you pay attention to computer gigabytes and RAM, then electronics sales may be for you.
For these retail sales jobs, the staff includes sales personnel knowledgeable in the characteristics and warranties of their line-of-retail products, the BLS says. A technical background is also important, since you’ll need to demonstrate product functionality.
But don’t worry. Additional training is usually easily gotten from electronics manufacturers’ reps. “With many electronic gadgets, you’ll be able to pick reps’ brains,” says Firth of TopUSAJobs.com.
When hunting for these wired jobs, don’t forget to include mom and pop stores. “You’re better able to negotiate salary with them,” says Matuson, though some big stores may have helpful training programs if you need that assistance.
The number of retail salespeople in this sector is projected to grow from 226,600 in 2012 to 232,600 in 2022, the BLS says.
Like measuring plywood and knocking out do-it-yourself projects at home? Then these jobs are right for you.
The staff in these stores is usually knowledgeable in the use of products in construction, repair and maintenance of the home and associated grounds, according to the BLS.
In addition, being handy with a hammer and saw makes sense, Firth says. “There are many different hammers at a hardware store, so being able to tell the difference between products is key,” he says. The same is true for selling garden equipment, where tools also vary.
Matuson advises to beware — Some home improvement stores are cutting commissions. Remember that there’s no written rule about how retailers handle their commissions and bonuses. “Ask questions about whether they’re offered and the likelihood of making them,” Matuson says.
The number of retail salespeople in this sector is expected to grow from 429,200 in 2012 to 467,200 in 2022, the BLS says.
If you’re fascinated by diamonds and gemstones, these sales jobs are for you.
“Since these are fashion items, you’ll need to be trend-conscious,” Firth says.
But the pay is substantially better than selling clothing or accessories. And jewelry salespeople usually receive their highest commissions during the Christmas season, when you can log higher sales and sometimes receive bonuses, according to Jewelry-Secrets.com.
Some retailers even let you buy jewelry at cost and offer classes in gemology. Or, they may pay for you to become certified in diamonds, which can increase your pay, according to the website. Benefits are usually generous, too, including medical and dental insurance.
The number of retail salespeople in this sector is expected to dip slightly from 90,500 jobs in 2012 compared with 89,900 jobs in 2022, the BLS says.
Do you keep up with the latest concoction to improve your skin? Then these jobs may be for you.
Personal-care sales jobs, such as cosmetic sales, likely will pay commissions, which can quickly increase your income, Matuson says. “However, you’ll have to understand the product pretty well and build relationships. Many people shop for information and then go online and order something instead,” she says.
Staff may include pharmacists, opticians and other professionals engaged in retailing, advising customers or fitting the product sold to the customer’s needs, according to the BLS. Some health and personal-care stores may have specialized staff trained in dealing with the products.
Employment in this sector is projected to grow from 144,600 in 2012 to 171,400 in 2022, the BLS says.
Foodies who know about their gluten-free granulated peppers or Napa sauvignons are welcome here.
People increasingly have more sophisticated palettes, Firth says. So, knowing how to sell food and beverages means differentiating between specialty sauces and types of Chardonnay since there are many varieties.
At specialty stores, knowing the number of calories in a food can be a way to reach a customer, Firth says. Some people also want strong-tasting or light-tasting foods or beverages, he says.
Still, foodie-retailer workers are well-rewarded. For example, salespeople at one large specialty grocery chain are rewarded with stock options, productivity bonuses and even 20 percent discounts on food.
Employment in this sector is projected to grow from 123,500 jobs in 2012 to 130,500 in 2022, the BLS says.