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What is Retail?

The retail industry involves selling products or services to consumers – in other words, selling something to someone who will eventually use that product. Working in retail can include working in a large department store like Myer, an e-commerce or online shopping company, retail stores like Apple, or even in a supermarket such as Coles or Woolworths.

Why Study Retail?

Whether you’re in a big city like Melbourne or Sydney, or a small town in a rural area, understanding retail can be a valuable skill. Even though not all businesses are classified as retail, they still provide a product or service to a consumer of some sort. 

Retail is the second largest industry in Australia, employing approximately 9.5% of Australia’s workforce. Studying a retail course will put you one step ahead of others in the retail industry, showing hiring and store managers that you’re serious about a retail career and willing to learn to further your career. Retail qualifications will also help increase your chances of promotion opportunities.

If you are considering completing a TAFE retail course, there are many study options and qualification levels available. If studying independently is your cup of tea, a retail online course may be right up your alley. More of an on-campus person? Plenty of TAFE retail courses can be completed in-person or blended.

What Will I Learn in a Retail Course?

Completing a retail course will equip you with all the skills you need to flourish in this busy, customer-facing industry. Some of the knowledge, techniques and skills you may learn during your retail training include:

  • The difference between e-commerce online retailers and brick and mortar stores
  • How retail differs between store types – a fashion retailer will have very different processes to a healthcare company
  • The supply chain and how it affects the retail environment
  • How to predict and measure retail sales
  • What new technologies including self-service checkouts and PayPal mean for Aussie retailers
  • Slang and terminology that retailers use overseas, including ‘high street’ or ‘drugstore’, and what they mean in Australia
  • How retailers and consumer habits differ between locations – shoppers in Western Australia may shop very differently from customers in South Australia, NSW, or even New Zealand
  • How a global market changes the way retailers operate, and what international buyers in large markets such as China are looking for
  • What retail employee rights include

Whether you want to work in retail as a shorter term university or high school job or pursue it as a long term career, completing a retail course can help! Browse our list of available retail courses today to start moving towards your future.


How do I start a retail career?

Although no formal qualification is necessary to work in retail, it’s strongly encouraged. Retail courses are a great entry point for this customer-facing career, and studying a retail training course will equip you with the skills needed to excel in this career. You can complete a retail course online, in-person, or choose a blended option of both.

Which course is best for retail business?

A Certificate III in Retail Training (SIR30216) is a popular TAFE retail course to begin your retail career journey. This course will teach you everything you need to know to thrive in a retail job. 

If you are interested in becoming a retail store manager or a senior leadership position, consider studying a Certificate IV in Retail Management (SIR40316) or a Diploma of Retail Leadership (SIR50116). You can complete a retail online course, or study in-person or blended learning to receive this retail training.

Is retail management stressful?

There’s no doubt that a retail management career can be stressful at times. Running a retail store is no easy feat. Store managers and senior leaders need to be organised, have sharp time management skills, effective communication and interpersonal skills. Although it can be stressful, retail management is a fulfilling and rewarding career.

How long is a retail management course?

The Certificate IV in Retail Management (SIR40316) typically takes 12 months to complete when studying the retail training course full-time. If you’re undergoing a traineeship or opting to study part-time, it can take up to two years to finish, depending on how much of the workload you decide to take on at a time.