Aquatic Retailer jobs(Also known as Aquarium retailer, Aquatic store owner, Fish shop worker, Tropical fish store worker)
A retailer of aquatic products supplies aquarium and fish stock and maintenance items to hobbyists. They offer sales advice on salt water, freshwater and pond fish, and supply a range of products to enable the fish keeper to keep their home stock healthy. Keeping fish is a popular hobby around the world. In order to maintain a healthy aquarium, the fish keeper must regularly purchase food, cleaning products and water maintenance solutions if his or her stock is to thrive for any length of time. At its most basic, a home set-up may consist of a single coldwater fish (such as a common goldfish) in a small tank with no heater and minimal décor, ranging up to a computer-managed salt water set-up costing tens of thousands of pounds. An aquatic retailer must not only supply the necessary fish and maintenance products, but they must also have enough knowledge about the hobby to advise those who are unsure. The retailer must know which fish are suitable for sharing a tank, what type of water they prefer, what food they need to thrive and what must be done when the fish become ill. Fish keepers will tend to visit one local store regularly to purchase supplies, but will travel any number of miles to other large retail stores to see what new stock they have. Aquatic retail is a lucrative business, and is thought to be worth around £300 million per annum in the UK (source: Wall Street Journal). Those who work in the industry, either as shop owners or retail workers for a large retail store, tend also to be interested hobbyists, which generally means that retailers can offer good advice and care information.
SalaryThe starting salary for an unskilled person joining a large aquatic retail outlet can begin at the minimum wage, which currently equates to £5.80 per hour for persons aged 22 and over, £4.83 for individuals aged between 18 and 21, and £3.57 for young persons under the age of 18 (source: HM Revenue and Customs). However, many large garden centres and chain stores will offer better wages as a means of encouragement because the retail advisor's enthusiasm for the hobby is crucial in retaining repeat custom. As an example, stores in the Warwickshire area are currently offering £13,500 for a retail service advisory position, up to £15,000 for a senior service position. Management opportunities abound at the larger chain stores, and remuneration is good: £25,000 upwards, along with incentives for meeting bonus criteria.
- Advise customers on the appropriate choice of stock and after-care for their existing aquarium.
- Advise new hobbyists on the appropriate choice of new stock and after-care for their new aquarium.
- Advise all customers on the appropriate purchase of new mechanical or decorative items.
- Consult reference materials when asked about a breed or technique for which the retailer has little or no knowledge.
- Handle cash and credit card transactions, and refunds in the case of a customer returning an item.
- General care for all livestock whilst it awaits sale to customers.
- Be sympathetic to a customer's requirements or complaints.
- In the case of a store manager, make decisions on stock levels and advertising and promotion.
- Store managers must also handle staff rotas and arrange for store accounts to be prepared each month.
QualificationsAlthough there are no formal academic barriers to entry, most chain stores will require at least a GCSE in maths and English. This will show that the candidate has the capacity to learn tasks, and also to be competent dealing with cash transactions and customer care. Store managers will normally be expected to have completed some form of management training, and the options are now diverse. This could have been completed whilst in the employment of another company, or it could have been self-funded by the management candidate by way of a higher education course or programme of adult learning. Business college represents the most common form of recognised business qualifications, and a certificate in retail management will often be a huge asset to a candidate at this level. A BTEC Level 3 or Foundation degree in retail management are both popular options, and are widely available throughout the UK.
- A knowledge and passion for fish keeping is helpful, but candidates do join outlets with no prior knowledge and learn “on the job”. They often develop into hobbyists shortly after.
- This is a “dirty-hands” role in the respect that it involves a lot of cleaning and feeding of the retailer's stock whilst it waits to be sold.
- Must be comfortable handling cash transactions and customer returns.
- In the case of a store manager, must be able to make decisions on stock levels and advertising.
- Store managers must be familiar with people management and financial accounting.