What does a sales assistant do? (And how to become one)

Updated 25 September 2023

If you want a job that requires interaction with both colleagues and customers, you may ask, 'What does a sales assistant do?'. Sales assistants use a series of hard and soft skills to complete sales and build relationships with customers. By knowing what sales assistants do, you can decide whether this is the right profession for your needs. In this article, we discuss what sales assistants do, provide you with information on how to become a sales assistant and answer several frequently asked questions about sales assistants.

What does a sales assistant do?

Sales assistants provide their customers with strong customer service experiences. They also process payments and promote smooth transitions for customers. Sales assistants have significant knowledge of store layouts and inventory. These professionals also help customers locate specific products and maintain the organisation of a store's inventory. Sales assistants notify members of upper management when issues arise, initiate transactions and meet sales quotas. These professionals require insight into which fields and industries they want to work in because their soft skills transfer to several industries. For example, they can work in retail, insurance, education and grocery stores.

Sales assistants typically receive quotas from upper management. They also use equipment like computers, printers, fax machines and office telephones. The average base salary for sales assistants is £8.95 per hour. Here are other duties involved with being a sales assistant:

Maintain store layout

Sales assistants maintain the organisation of store layouts and ensure the position of all products and items. These professionals also read manuals from upper management to place complementary products together. They typically determine which products sell more products when placed next to each other. Sales assistants also maintain the store's cleanliness and regularly clean their workstations.

Ensure accurate information

Sales assistants ensure the accuracy of all customer information in databases. They do this by asking customers for their emails and phone numbers when completing purchases. From here, they verify that information with the information already included in the database.

Promote collaboration

Sales assistants collaborate with other sales professionals to answer customers' questions. These questions determine the satisfaction levels of their customers and promote customer-centric practices by considering the consumer's point of view. This increases sales by prioritising customer satisfaction.

Provide support

Sales assistants provide customers with support throughout their shopping experience. This includes finding product locations and helping them navigate issues. When customers have complaints about their experience, sales assistants also help them file reports.

Inventory management

These professionals maintain store inventories by monitoring how many items they have in stock for specific products, and may also report issues like inventory to management. When there are safety concerns regarding inventory, they also report those concerns to upper management. For example, team members who use ladders improperly in warehouses may obtain training to ensure proper use in the future.

How to become a sales assistant

Here's a guide to help you become a sales assistant:

1. Consider your education

While sales assistants don't require post-secondary education, consider an undergraduate or graduate degree in marketing or business to make yourself more appealing to hiring agents. A degree in marketing provides you with the education required to navigate store layouts. For example, you learn which products are complementary and how you can increase sales by adjusting your store layout. Completing a post-secondary degree in business also provides you with essential management skills.

Obtaining post-secondary degrees also provides you with the education required to obtain promotions and career advancement opportunities. For example, when the organisation has open job titles, members of upper management may consider you for those positions. If this is a short term-job or if you're not interested in career advancement opportunities, you only require a secondary education to work as a sales assistant.

2. Complete a CV

Before you obtain a job as a sales assistant, you require a CV to apply for job positions. If you don't know what to include on your CV or if you lack work experience, consider leadership, sales or customer service positions you completed in your personal life. If you have volunteering experience, you can write your CV to include the interpersonal skills you previously used in those volunteering positions.

You can also research sales assistant job descriptions and CVs to discover the required experience. Job descriptions also include the required skills for these positions. Compare that experience with your existing experience to determine which information you include on your CV.

3. Obtain work experience

This job position is an entry-level role that doesn't require additional work experience. When you apply for a job as a sales assistant, employers often provide you with training. This training typically includes information about how to complete sales, appropriate wardrobes and how to communicate with the company's clientele. For example, every company has a different cash register and your supervisor trains you to work with their cash register. These job positions provide a variety of schedules. If you're a student or have another job, you can typically work as a part-time sales assistant or work on weekends.

4. Build your network

Sales assistants benefit from building their network because other professionals help them meet potential employers. Attend networking events to discover new contacts and to learn about job openings. You can also ask colleagues, teachers and other acquaintances to introduce you to their contacts or provide a reference.

5. Strengthen your soft skills

Sales assistants require significant soft skills to succeed in their job position. Some of these soft skills include communication, persuasion, patience, problem-solving and customer service. It's also important to quickly learn about new products to explain and sell them to customers.

Skills required to become a sales assistant

Here's a list of skills required if you want to work as a sales assistant:

Communication skills

Sales assistants require communication skills because they interact with customers throughout their work shifts. You use these communication skills with your clients, customers and supervisors. You can practise your communication skills with those around you.

Time management

Managing their time effectively allows sales assistants to perform all the necessary duties during a shift. For example, sales assistants answer phones, help customers find items and complete sales transactions. These professionals also manage their time to ensure they can keep their workstations and stores clean.

Related: Time-management skills: definition, examples and tips for improvement

Interpersonal skills

Sales assistants use communication skills, empathy and emotional intelligence to connect with customers and help them find what they need. They also use patience when interacting with customers and helping them find products. They use interpersonal skills when interacting with other professionals and members of management.

Related: Interpersonal skills: definition and examples

Technical skills

Sales assistants require confidence in their technical skills because they use various forms of technology and equipment. For example, they use computers, point-of-sale systems and credit card systems. These professionals also use cash registers and know how to fix errors or issues with those cash registers. When necessary, they navigate inventory systems.

Frequently asked questions about sales assistants

Here are FAQs regarding sales assistants and their positions:

What's the work environment of a sales assistant?

Sales assistants typically work either part-time or full-time, depending on both their needs and the needs of potential employers. You may work different shifts every week or stand for extended periods. This title also requires you to lift and carry heavy materials and provide helpful services to customers during both fast-paced and slow-paced shifts.

Related: Part-time vs. Full-time: What’s the Difference?

What's the job description of a sales assistant?

Here's a sample job description for sales assistants:

Kang One Media seeks an enthusiastic sales assistant to join our team. If you want to apply for this job position, you require the following qualifications:

  • Multi-task, prioritise and assist sales executives in processing and fulfilling sales orders

  • Enter and maintain client database

  • Cross-train to be able to be the backup for other roles

  • Assist customers as needed


  • High school diploma or GED

  • Passion about working in sales

  • Experience with customer database software

  • Proficiency in monitoring and replenishing inventory

  • Organised, task-oriented, excellent communication skills

  • Time management

  • Self-motivation

  • Ability to work as part of a team or individually

  • Flexibility, open-mindedness and ability to evolve with our industry


  • Maintaining shelf stock, replenishing as needed

  • Meeting weekly sales targets

  • Performing cash and credit transactions

  • Helping customers find items

  • Placing special orders for out-of-stock items

  • Balancing cash drawer at the close of shift

  • Working with team members to satisfy store and customer needs

  • Keeping shelves organised, floors swept and surfaces clean

  • Bending, lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds occasionally

  • Communicate regularly with customers and team members to increase sales

  • Remain updated with new company policies by reading newsletters

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


  • Sales Assistant Skills: Examples and Definitions

  • Sales Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

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