Retail: Certification & Licensing
A business license allows prospective retailers to operate within a particular location. Without one, the local government can fine or even close the facility. Requirements vary by location, but, in most instances, the retail entrepreneur will need to obtain a license from the state, county and/or city.
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides in-depth information and links regarding obtaining business licenses. Even if your retail business does not have a bricks-and-mortar location, it can still be subject to government regulations. In fact, special rules apply to online businesses.
Applicants should also check with their state and local government offices for specific local regulations, such as obtaining occupancy permits. Links to all state licensing divisions are listed on the SBA website.
In the competitive retail industry, certifications can show your competence and set you apart. Whether you are climbing up the management ladder or working on sales skills, the right certification program can assist you in attaining your goals and enhancing your career.
For the retail business owner, certifications can also be an indication of the most qualified candidate for the job or for advancement. Most certification programs are through industry trade associations and/or their educational affiliates.
The National Retail Federation trade association offers several retail certifications through its Educational Foundation (NRFF)’s RISE UP certification program:
- Retail Industry Fundamentals. The Retail Industry Fundamentals credential helps train and advance both entry-level retail associates and first-time job seekers. It is an industry-led and validated program that focuses on five core areas: basic work fundamentals, the business of retail, customer focus, getting and keeping jobs in retail, selling.
- Customer Service and Sales. The Customer Service and Sales curriculum is designed to help entry-level sales and service associates learn skills related to frontline work in retail (or any industry that values customer service and sales skills). Individuals taking the course will learn: products and services; assessing and meeting customer needs; preparing for selling; gaining customer commitment and closing the sale; the basics of store operations and inventory control; the process of merchandising; the importance of common employability skills; crafting a polished resume.
- Advanced Customer Service and Sales. The Advanced Customer Service and Sales credential is designed for sales and service associates looking to expand their skills in retail and other sales and service-focused industries. Individuals taking this course will learn: preparing for selling, gaining customer commitment and closing a sale, developing and implementing plans for selling and follow-up.
When a retail business involves the storage, handling and/or sale of food, ServSafe Certification may be required. A division of the National Restaurant Association, the ServSafe program offers certifications for managers of retail food establishments so as to comply with state and local health and food safety regulations.
- ServSafe Food Manager and ServSafe Food Handler. These courses help define food safety best practices because we involve specialists from regulatory agencies, academia, and the foodservice industry to create them. ServSafe materials reflect the latest science, research and FDA Food Code.
- ServSafe Alcohol. The ServSafe Alcohol Training program is developed by the National Restaurant Association and experts who have direct experience with the risks involved in serving alcohol. Their connection to the foodservice industry provides insights that help prepare you for difficult situations. These materials help define responsible alcohol service best practices because we involve specialists in regulatory agencies, law, insurance, medicine, law-enforcement, restaurants and academia to create them.
- ServSafe Allergens. The ServSafe Allergens Training program is developed by the National Restaurant Association and experts who have direct experience with the risks involved in serving to populations sensitive to allergens. Their connection to the foodservice industry provides insights that help prepare you for difficult situations. These materials help define best practices for safe foodservice because we involve specialists in regulatory agencies, law, insurance, medicine, law-enforcement, restaurants and academia to create them.