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Career Definition of a Retail Consultant
A retail consultant is a type of management consultant that specializes in the world of retail, which means the majority of their client base is retailers. Like any other consultant, retail consultants work by first getting to know their client company by observing how the company is structured and how it functions on a day to day basis. They may review important financial documents to gain an understanding of the company's financial health so that they are able to provide the most helpful suggestions for improvement. Some companies may hire retail consultants to help launch a new part of their company, like an e-commerce division, or they may be in need of a retail consultant to elevate their direct selling operations. Some retail consultants may work in even further specialized industries, like grocery store and restaurant consulting.
These professionals often work for larger consulting companies and may split their time between working at their office and on-site at the client's office. As of 2014, around a fifth of all consultants were self-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some clients may hire retail consultants on a short-term contractual basis if they need help with a certain issue or problem. The specific role and duties of a retail consultant will likely vary greatly depending on the goals of the client and each individual job.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree or master's degree|
|Job Skills||Critical thinking, leadership skills, organizational ability, customer service, interpersonal skills, writing ability, management skills, time management, problem solving|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$81,330 (for management analysts)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||14% (for management analysts)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
To become a retail consultant, you will generally need at least a bachelor's degree, but many retail consultants also have a master's degree. Some universities may have programs specifically in management consulting, though there are a number of educational pathways that could prepare you for a career as a retail consultant. Some possible backgrounds could include business, finance, marketing, economics or management. It is also possible to pursue a post-graduate certificate in the field and obtain the Certified Management Consultant designation.
Because a large part of a retail consultant's career involves working with clients and other people, having strong interpersonal skills is highly important. These professionals also need to have the ability to solve problems, think analytically, and be able to multi-task. Retail consultants sometimes may work on projects on a contractual basis, so they need to be able to manage their time well and work efficiently.
Career and Salary Outlook
Retail consultants fall into the larger category of 'management analysts.' In 2016, these professionals made a median salary of $81,330 per year. Individuals who are considering this career also face a favorable career outlook, as there is projected to be 14% growth over the span of 2014-2024, according to the BLS.