A Personal Shopper's Job Description
What the Job Entails, and How to Break Into the Industry
Shopaholics no longer need 12-step recovery programs as much as they need good job resumes because shopping is no longer just a personal addiction, it is now a valid and viable retail career. "Shopping," of course means personal shopping. Today most of the largest U.S. retail chains have personal shoppers on their payroll.
It's not just luxury retail chains like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus where personal shoppers can find a retail career path for themselves. Upscale retail chains like Macy's, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom also employ personal shoppers. Even Sears and Kmart have a personal shopping offer for their customers.
So what does it take to turn a shopping talent into a paid personal shopping job? This personal shopping job description outlines the salary, responsibilities, education, and experience requirements that will help any shopaholic get a job doing what they love to do most.
Personal Shopper Job Description: Overview
Personal shoppers provide expert advice and give the highest level of customized and personal customer service possible to individual shoppers. By giving personalized attention and providing advanced knowledge of products, services, and trends, personal shoppers become trusted consultants for shoppers who want an enhanced buying experience.
In this job, you will develop deep and lasting relationships with your client base, and will proactively communicate with them regularly as a professional advisor. Personal shoppers define the highest customer service standards for sales, and customer satisfaction in every retail operation.
Personal Shopper: Key Responsibilities
As a personal shopper, you will be responsible for building a client base of loyal shoppers who make frequent purchases. Using a variety of communications methods, you will craft a shopping experience for customers which is easy, inspiring, and productive. The result of your efforts as a personal shopper should be higher sales ticket averages and an extreme customer-centric experience.
Personal shoppers drive the relationship with their clients using mail, e-mail, telephone, and face-to-face communications. Listening is more important than talking because the information you gain by asking questions will help you fill the extensive reference files you will be keeping.
Personal shoppers use their files to recommend new offerings and store events to their clientele. Because of the appropriateness of your recommendations, customers will greet your communications with positive expectation and enthusiasm. You will be giving shoppers the motivation to visit your store often and make purchases frequently.
Many customers request personalized service, but you will also cultivate relationships with everyday shoppers who are not familiar with a personal shopping experience. Personal shoppers usually have appointment levels, sales quotas, and customer satisfaction goals to achieve.
Suggestive selling and upselling will be a natural part of the personal shopping experience because of your in-depth knowledge of both the customer and the current offerings. Continuous education will allow you to provide your customers with expert product knowledge and far-reaching insights about retail industry trends and future offerings.
Crafting the Customer Experience
Shoppers are dedicated to one shopper at a time. You will lead each client through their shopping experience, guiding them to products and services that are particularly suited to their needs and desires.
You will also be the single point of customer service before, during, and after the sale for your clients, so it's imperative that you follow-up, follow-through and keep your commitments to maintain strong relationships. Each personal shopping client wants to feel as if they are the only customer you have. Your organization and relationship skills will create that illusion for them.
Prior Experience Needed
This is not an entry-level retail job. Since personal shopping services are used for competitive differentiation, retail employers will be looking for someone with a solid track record of sales success, preferably with the same types of products or a similar industry.
Some employers may be willing to provide product knowledge training to someone who has general sales experience, but an existing passion for the products and industry will make you a better candidate.
Qualifications: What You Need to Be a Personal Shopper
Personal shoppers always maintain the highest level of professionalism in both appearance and attitude. Retail employers will want their personal shoppers to be authoritative, ultra professional experts with an inviting and friendly demeanor. A passion for sales and delivering unparalleled customer service will drive you to success in this career.
Successful personal shoppers are also goal-oriented, self-motivated and possess an entrepreneurial spirit which sparks their creativity and resourcefulness. Patience, flexibility, tact, integrity, and dependability will be expected by both your employer and your clients.
You must have superior written and verbal communication skills to be a successful personal shopper. Sales skills, organizational skills, and self-directed time management skills will be essential for those in this position. An organized appointment schedule will ensure that each client receives your undivided attention. To complete required paperwork, you will need basic computer skills and a knowledge of basic Microsoft Office programs.
Because your work is appointment-driven, your schedule may be inconsistent and will undoubtedly include nights weekends, and holidays.
Education Requirements and Recommendations
While this is not a position with strong educational requirements, having a retail or industry-related degree will demonstrate your level of commitment and make you a more desirable candidate.
Including commissions and bonuses, the compensation of a personal shopper ranges from $25,000–$100,000 or more per year. Your starting base salary may not be much more than any other retail cashier or sales associate. As your client base and productivity grow, however, you should be able to negotiate a better package for yourself, including expense reimbursements and other perquisites beyond the standard retail employee benefits.