Retail Sales Associate Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Retail Sales Associate, or Retail Sales Assistant, takes care of customers in a retail environment and ensures that they have an enjoyable shopping experience. Their duties include helping customers locate the products they require, handling payment transactions and keeping the shop floor neat and presentable.


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Retail Sales Associate duties and responsibilities

The responsibilities of Retail Sales Associates vary depending on factors like the type of retailer and the size of a shop. Retail Sales Associates in a small boutique may have duties like placing orders or dressing mannequins. In a large chain, they may have different responsibilities depending on their department. In general, however, the day-to-day activities of these employees include:

  • Receiving and unpacking deliveries and keeping a storeroom tidy and organised
  • Assisting with weekly and monthly stock-takes
  • Working on a point-of-sale system and cashing up the till at the end of the shift
  • Packing and replenishing shelves as needed
  • Assisting with the setting up of promotional displays
  • Dealing with customer complaints and refunds and involving management as needed
  • Informing clients of promotions and recommending products
  • Building a rapport with customers


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What does a Retail Sales Associate do?

The job of a Retail Sales Associate involves manning a shop floor and tending to the needs of customers. These customer-facing employees make a valuable contribution to various retail businesses, including supermarkets, boutiques, department stores, jewellery shops and electronic stores. It’s the responsibility of Retail Sales Associates to make clients feel welcome and special so that they have a positive shopping experience and keep returning. To provide customers with excellent service and make the appropriate recommendations, Retail Sales Associates have in-depth knowledge of the products they are selling. 


Retail Sales Associate skills and qualifications

The most important aspect of a Retail Sales Associate’s job is interacting with customers and ensuring that they’re satisfied. To achieve this, Retail Sales Associates possess excellent customer service and interpersonal skills. In addition, these employees need the following skills to excel at their job:

  • Active listening skills to help customers and effectively gauge their needs
  • Excellent verbal communication skills to effortlessly engage customers in conversation
  • Presentable appearance and excellent hygiene to deal directly with clients
  • Good health and fitness levels to cope with the long hours on their feet
  • Basic computer skills to work with point-of-sale systems and handheld devices
  • Good work ethic, which includes pitching for shifts on time and actively driving sales
  • Trustworthiness to handle inventory and payments
  • The ability to work well in a team with other Retail Sales Associates


Retail Sales Associate experience requirements

The level of experience a Retail Sales Associate needs depends on the position and employer. Some employers consider candidates with no retail experience and provide them with on-the-job training. Other positions require candidates who have previous experience in a retail environment or a customer-facing role.


Retail Sales Associate education and training requirements

There are no fixed education or training requirements for this occupation. Typically, candidates need at least a few GCSEs, including English and maths, to demonstrate that they have adequate numeracy and literacy skills. Candidates can develop their skills and knowledge in the field by obtaining a professional qualification through a professional body. The Institute of Sales Management (ISM), for instance, offers relevant qualifications like a Level 2 Certificate in Sales and Marketing or a Level 3 Diploma in Sales and Marketing. It’s also possible for candidates to develop the necessary skills and knowledge for the job through an intermediate level retailer apprenticeship.


Retail Sales Associate salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Retail Sales Associate is £8.88 per hour. Salaries vary, however, according to factors like location, level of experience and employer.


Job description samples for similar positions

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Retail Sales Associate job description FAQs


What are the hours of a Retail Sales Associate?

The work hours of a Retail Sales Associate depends on the hours of a shop. In general, these employees work rotating shifts, which means their hours vary from week to week. Sometimes, Retail Sales Associates also work extra shifts in the evenings, over weekends and on bank holidays in stores with a high volume of customers.


What makes a good Retail Sales Associate job description?

To craft a good Retail Sales Associate job description, aim to strike a balance between adding the necessary requirements and keeping the document concise. In this way, you can attract qualified applicants while also ensuring that suitable candidates don’t hesitate to apply because of a long list of requirements. Try to include benefits, bonuses or commissions if your store offers them to the employees.


Who does a Retail Sales Associate report to?

A Retail Sales Associate reports to different people depending on the size of the store. Retail Sales Associates who work for larger retailers typically report to a Retail Manager or Supervisor, whereas those who work in smaller setups may report directly to the owner.

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