How To Become a Personal Shopper in 6 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a personal shopper can offer exciting opportunities to meet new people and build a career in the fashion industry. Because a personal shopper typically needs specific expertise to succeed in their industry, it can be helpful to know about the requirements and process for becoming a personal shopper before looking for employment. If you have an interest in fashion and enjoy shopping, you might enjoy a career as a personal shopper. In this article, we consider what a career as a personal shopper can be like and explore steps for how to become a personal shopper.

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips To Get the Job

What is a personal shopper?

A personal shopper is a retail professional who visits stores and makes purchases on behalf of their clients. Many personal shoppers work in the fashion industry and help clients find new clothing that suits their body type and that follows the latest design trends. Personal shoppers can also work for grocery delivery services or on a freelance or contract basis. This typically means that a personal shopper can shop for almost any kind of item depending on who they're helping.

What does a personal shopper do?

A personal shopper's duty is typically to shop for a client's personal items. Some of their official responsibilities might vary depending on the employer and circumstances, but here are some common duties for a personal shopper:

Visiting malls and shops

A personal shopper visits malls and groceries on behalf of their clients. First, they meet up with the client to know their needs. Then, they come up with shopping locations that stock the listed. In some cases, the client may ask the personal shopper to go to a specific shop.

Financial planning

A personal shopper works with a budget set by the client. A personal shopper buys quality products at the best price. Exploring the market to find the best deals is an important part of the job.

Offering suggestions

Personal shoppers are image consultants. This applies to shoppers in the fashion industry. The client will ask the personal shopper what they should wear for a big event. It's the shopper's responsibility to provide them with the best suggestions.

Predicting needs

Since personal shoppers handle all kinds of clients, they should be understanding. They can also benefit from being active listeners, and keen observers. This can help ensure they can adapt to each client's individual needs.

Reporting

Personal shoppers that work for retail firms submit reports to management. The report highlights the sales performance of various items. The personal shopper includes recommendations for improving performance in the report.

Making decisions

If certain goods are in demand, the personal shopper has to decide whether they'll include those items in their portfolio. To convince clients, personal shoppers need a portfolio and a pitch. The pitch should appeal to the emotions of a potential client.

Managing social media

Social media activity can define online presence. Personal shoppers need to be active on social media to find clients. They keep their followers engaged to earn their trust and establish an excellent reputation.

Managing relationships

It's easier to keep current customers than to gain new ones. A personal shopper has to foster strong professional relationships with current clients. They update them on the latest offers and trends, congratulate them on notable occasions, and sometimes attend special events. They are constantly looking for ways to forge genuine relationships with clients and build their businesses.

Salary and job outlook for a personal shopper

The national average salary for personal shoppers is currently $56,624 per year. Indeed also notes that personal shoppers often have the potential to earn higher salaries depending on the city or region where they work.

The Government of Canada Job Bank forecasts the number of people working as a buyer in retail to remain fairly consistent from 2019 to 2028. This is because of a balance between the number of new job openings for personal shoppers and the number of new graduates interested in pursuing personal shopping as a career. They also provide information about which provinces and territories are likely to experience the most job growth for personal shoppers. These regions include:

  • British Columbia

  • Manitoba

  • New Brunswick

  • Quebec

How to become a personal shopper

Here are some steps you can use to start a career as a personal shopper:

1. Research the position

Before committing to the profession, it's helpful to do some research and be sure that your career goals fit the expectations of the role. To excel as a personal shopper, professionals need to be prepared for travelling frequently and providing excellent customer service. When researching what a career as a personal shopper is like, explore different resources to learn about what the position involves. This depends on your potential employer or clients.

You can use the following resources to research personal shopper careers:

  • Fashion school websites

  • Online fashion and shopping forums

  • Client reviews

  • Employee reviews

  • Other personal shoppers

2. Choose your niche

Freelance personal shopper jobs don't always cater to one industry or personality type, and can serve many industries. For example, you could become a personal shopper for an attorney, executive, or medical doctor. You can also work for high-profile individuals or celebrities, but those roles are competitive, and you benefit from referrals and extensive experience. Shopping for the elderly is another niche worth considering, as many senior citizens want to enjoy their retirement or have health restrictions that make shopping a challenge. You may shop for more functional items like groceries or pharmacy prescriptions.

You can also specialize in specific goods or stores. For example, personal shoppers usually have the option to be fashion or grocery shoppers. Fashion shoppers typically work in retail, as many retail clothing shops hire them to serve their esteemed clients. Working for a retailer can be one of the best ways to gain experience as a personal shopper, as it can introduce you to new people and help you build a client base to ensure you have consistent business.

3. Learn about the industry

To become a good personal shopper, you need strong interpersonal and networking skills. Clients typically consider their personal shoppers to be professional consultants, which means your customers can expect you to be knowledgeable in your field.

To learn about the industry you want to operate in, you can speak with other personal shoppers. Look for professionals who work in different industries and ask about the details of their jobs. You can also take this opportunity to learn about the channels other personal shoppers use to advertise their services. Then, you can identify the best platform for you based on your expertise and area of specialization.

Related: Guidelines on How To Network

4. Earn a degree

Many aspiring personal shoppers attend fashion school before they apply for work in the field. Then, they can learn about the fashion industry and the basics of design that can inform the recommendations they make to clients. Fashion school typically involves studying elements of design, learning about famous designers, and remaining updated on all industry trends.

However, you can also prepare for a career as a personal shopper by earning an associate or bachelor's degree in a subject like communication or sales. This is because these programs can help you develop the interpersonal, communication, and sales skills that can make you an effective personal shopper. In a communication or sales degree, you might learn about best practices in sales, how to pitch a product to a customer, and customer service skills.

5. Develop your skills further

As working as a personal shopper requires strong interpersonal and sales skills, it's helpful to keep developing your skills while you look for open positions. One way to keep working on your skills is to offer your services to friends or family and ask for feedback about their experience. This can provide you with the opportunity to practise your sales skills and learn about which areas you might benefit from improving. You can also build interpersonal skills by volunteering or communicating with others casually as often as possible.

Related: Transferrable Job Skills You Need for Any Industry

6. Stay updated with trends in the industry

The fashion industry is always changing, as fashion designers typically release new garments and designs every year. Keeping up with the latest fashion trends can prepare you for each client's needs, especially when certain clients want to adhere to trends as closely as possible. Some clients might prefer non-designer brands. However, knowing about the current industry trends can also help you serve those clients by identifying popular designs or styles in more affordable options.

One way to discover the latest trends is to browse the internet and visit the social media pages of popular fashion influencers. This can be especially effective, as many influencers receive new fashion from designers before it's released to the public so they can post it as a promotion. Customer review websites can be another significant source of information on fashion trends, as well as fashion magazines and websites.

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