Grocery stores must keep shelves, cases, racks and endcaps stocked and displayed to satisfy the needs of their customers and vendors. The grocery stocker plays a pivotal role in helping the store meet these goals. For grocery stockers, the job may serve as a portal to a career in grocery store or retail management.
What Does a Grocery Stocker Do?
Within the job description of a grocery stocker lie elements of manual labor, inventory control and gatekeeper against defective inventory. Grocery stockers serve as the initial recipients of merchandise that ultimately will reach the hands of shoppers. They also help preserve the safety of shoppers and other employees and promote the store’s image of quality customer service.
Grocery Stocker Job Description for Resume — Responsibilities
- Place merchandise on shelves, ends of aisles, cases, racks and other locations as directed by supervisor or manager
- Unpack shipments and compare quantities and type of product with invoice or shipment paperwork
- Report any defects in products, such as breaks, leaks and tears in containers, deficiencies in quantities, or incorrectly shipped products
- Affix price stickers or labels on merchandise according to price lists
- Display price information next to products or on shelves or racks where products are to be placed
- Organize and clean stockrooms
- Assist customers with retrieving certain items
- Guide customers to particular products when requested
- Keep store floors, including aisles, clean and free of obstructions or other hazards
- Place “wet floor” warnings in areas which have become wet or slick due to mopping or spills
- Answer customer questions about availability and location of merchandise
- Retrieve grocery carts and baskets from store parking lots and other locations throughout store
- Upon request, take customers’ purchases to vehicles
Grocery Stocker Required/Essential Skills
Concentration. To prevent loss of inventory, grocery stockers need to carefully handle and assemble stock. Concentration is also necessary to insure merchandise is correctly priced and placed and that out-dated or defective products do not reach floor to be bought by customers. At some stores, manufacturers and brands have arrangements for placement of their items in preferred or established locations.
Customer Service. While filling shelves, racks and counters, grocery stockers also encounter customers. Skills in customer service involve courteous and prompt acknowledgement of and response to customer questions and requests.
Listening. Grocery stockers receive instructions from managers and supervisors for checking and placing merchandise. Other staff in the store may call stockers to assist customers, bag groceries, clean spills and trash on the floor or retrieve buggies and baskets.
Physical. The responsibilities of a grocery stocker require reaching, lifting, walking, bending, carrying inventory, equipment or supplies; and squatting in varying degrees. On occasions, stockers may climb ladders to reach high shelves or racks. Coordination helps stockers whose duties include operating forklifts or machines.
Reading. Grocery stockers need basic literacy skills to read dates, including expiration or recommended “sell by dates,” product identifications, labels and displays. Reading also allows the stocker to determine if a delivery of merchandise conforms to an invoice or order sheet.
Becoming a Grocery Stocker
Grocery stocker positions often serve as entry-level jobs in grocery retail. Applicants for these jobs do not need formal training or certification in advance of hiring. However, they should demonstrate through education, training or work experience the ability to perform the tasks associated with grocery stocking.
Education and Training
A grocery stocker should hold a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED. According to O*NET, approximately 56 percent of “Stock Clerks, Sales Floor” jobs belong to high school graduates. Those who have not graduated from high school account for 44 percent of the work force.
Stores normally train grocery stockers on company-specific policies, procedures and store layouts. New grocery stockers may shadow more experienced ones in the first few days or weeks on the job. Subjects of training may also include use of computers, software, label printing and other equipment.
Certain stores may prefer candidates who have worked within the company or grocery industry. This may be particularly so for companies who prefer to avoid the need to train new hires. For stores that carry organic foods, stockers who have worked in similar type establishments are considered knowledgeable about the standards and qualities of such foods.
Where an applicant has not worked within a grocery setting, previous experience in a warehouse or stockroom of other retail establishments may prove helpful.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately a third of “Stock Clerks and Order Fillers” occupied part-time positions in 2014.
Most grocery stores are open seven days a week. Many operate 24 hours a day. As a result, grocery clerks stand to work evenings, nights and weekends. Even for those grocery establishments not open 24 hours, stock crews may report late night or early prior to opening to stock inventory on shelves or receive deliveries coming in late. During times where stores must take inventory for tax or other purposes, grocery stockers may report for overnight shifts.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,878,100 workers held “Stock clerk and order filler” positions in 2014. By 2024, that number should rise to 1,971,000, representing an increase of five percent.
With bar coding machines and other technology, stores may need fewer stockers to count inventory. The demand for their service, though, will come from the need of stores to keep shelves, racks and cases filled with groceries.
Opportunities for grocery stocker positions may grow in communities of population increases. In these areas, a new influx of residents may yield construction of shopping centers or freestanding grocery stores. With these new stores comes the need to staff them with stockers. Openings for positions, especially part-time ones, are commonplace.
Experience can lead grocery stockers to supervisory, assistant manager or eventually store manager roles in the company.
Working as a grocery stocker involves more than physical activity. Occupants of this position must employ reading and other mental skills to catch discrepancies and mistakes from suppliers. They must remain attuned to conditions in the store and customers seeking assistance, even as they stock the shelves and racks.
Grocery stockers can gain valuable experience to demonstrate their work abilities and ethic to future employers or in support of promotion within the company.