What Does a Retail Stockroom, Fulfillment, Inventory Associate Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

stocking associate in shoe store restocking shelves

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Stockroom, fulfillment, and inventory associates are responsible for the flow of merchandise from a central point of delivery to the retail sales floor, to an internal destination, or into a shipping or delivery process. These employees can be responsible for receiving, unpacking, processing, organizing, storing, packaging, and labeling merchandise. More than two million workers were employed in this capacity in 2016.

Retail Stockroom, Fulfillment, Inventory Associates Duties & Responsibilities

Even though much of your work will be off the sales floor and not in direct contact with customers, a stockroom, fulfillment, and inventory associate is responsible for enhancing the brand image of the products as well as the store. Duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Positively impacting customer experience through display and visual appeal
  • Ensuring that products are easily accessible, constantly available, and properly distributed
  • Ensuring that products are safely packaged
  • Contributing to the profitability of the retail operation by receiving, handling, and helping to manage the inventory of merchandise and supplies in a timely and organized manner
  • Checking merchandise and supply deliveries for accuracy, verifying that quantities received match bills of lading, purchase orders, and other documents
  • Participating in formal periodic inventory audits
  • Decreasing store shrinkage by researching inventory discrepancies and reporting suspicious activities to loss-prevention specialists
  • Shipping merchandise and supplies in and out of inventory to internal locations, departments, and mailing/shipping providers
  • Advising appropriate partners about product placement and new inventory levels
  • Organizing the stockroom or warehouse, ensuring accurate labeling, logical placement, neat arrangement, and cleanliness

    A stockroom, fulfillment, and inventory job isn't just about heavy lifting. Often the company’s merchandising and visual display standards are these associates' responsibility, as is the accurate and efficient fulfillment of customer orders through internet e-commerce and mobile retailing channels. 

    Retail Stockroom, Fulfillment, Inventory Associates Salary

    The pay of stock and inventory associates can vary depending on the size of the operation and its geographic location.

    • Median Annual Salary: $24,470 ($11.77/hour)
    • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $40,360 ($19.40/hour)
    • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $18,870 ($9.07/hour)

    As with most retail jobs, merchandise discounts will probably be part of your employment benefits.

    Education, Training, & Certification

    Requirements can vary somewhat depending on the size of the company.

    • Education: Most employers want you to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and about 70 percent of people holding this job have that education. Only about 7 percent possess college degrees. A stockroom, fulfillment, and inventory associate position would be a good job for someone ultimately seeking a retail or business degree because it sets you up with retail experience that might be required for a higher-level postgraduation position.
    • Background checks: You'll have access to large quantities of new merchandise, so most employers will require some combination of criminal, background, drug, credit, and/or driving record screenings. A valid driver’s license and a clean driving record will also be required if driving is required for your job.
    • Experience: This can be an entry-level position in large retail operations that employ stock supervisors. Previous warehouse, logistics, stock, receiving, inventory, or retail experience might be required in smaller operations with minimal supervision.

    Retail Stockroom, Fulfillment, Inventory Associates Skills & Competencies

    Employers look for certain key qualities in the stockroom, fulfillment, and inventory associate role.

    • Organization and multitasking skills: High levels of efficiency and engagement are required while performing repetitive tasks. 
    • Communication skills: You should be able to clearly communicate your specifications to co-workers, orally and in writing.
    • Manual skills: You might be using a wide range of equipment and machines, including power jacks, pricing guns, cardboard bailers, trash compactors, cranes, hoists, and forklifts. Training, experience, or appropriate certification with this type of equipment would be helpful and may even be required.
    • Computer skills: A basic understanding of Microsoft programs such as Excel, Access, and Outlook would be helpful, along with experience with other inventory-specific software programs. Proficient use of a calculator will most likely be required.

    Job Outlook

    Employment in this area is projected to increase from 5 percent to 9 percent during the 2016 to 2026 period, with almost 270,000 more job openings nationwide.

    Work Environment

    This position requires the handling of merchandise, supplies, and materials, so it will be physically demanding. Your physical functions will include ladder climbing, lifting up to 50 pounds without assistance, and bending, twisting, reaching, pushing, pulling, and performing repetitive motions. You'll be standing or walking for up to eight hours at a time. This isn't a career for those who prefer to avoid physical exertion.

    Work Schedule

    Many of the largest retail companies prefer that stocking duties be performed before or after regular hours of operation. You might have to be flexible and willing to work late nights, early mornings, weekends, and holidays.

    Comparing Similar Jobs

    Some jobs are similar to those involving stocking, fulfillment, and inventory but don't require the same level of physical exertion or off hours.

    Source: O-Net Online