Sales Associate Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Sales Associate, or Sales Assistant, plays a vital role in the retail industry. Typical duties of a Sales Associate include welcoming customers into stores, selling products and services to customers and resolving complaints.


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Sales Associate duties and responsibilities

Sales Associates serve as the first point of contact between a company and its customers. Usually, they have an in-depth understanding of the company’s products, services and policies which helps develop a trusting relationship with customers. Here are examples of the duties and responsibilities of a Sales Associate:

  • Provide excellent customer service which includes greeting customers, answering their questions and ensuring optimal customer satisfaction
  • Achieve sales goals
  • Operate cash registers, process point of sale purchases and balance drawers
  • Advise customers on products and services that best suit their needs
  • Learn about new products, services and company policies regularly
  • Keep the sales floor clean and visually appealing
  • Handle merchandise returns and refunds
  • Cross-sell products to increase revenue


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What does a Sales Associate do?

The primary function of a Sales Associate is to achieve sales goals and deliver excellent customer service. They greet customers when they arrive at the store, interact with them and answer questions regarding products or services. Sales Associates also sell products to customers, suggest items to visitors, process payments and handle returns and refunds. They help resolve complaints and maintain cordial relationships with customers. In many organisations, the Sales Associate also keeps the sales floor clean and presentable.


Sales Associate skills and qualifications

A successful Sales Associate candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed to perform duties effectively. These include:

  • Diploma in Retail Skills, other equivalent qualification or an apprenticeship
  • Proven work experience in a retail sales role
  • Knowledge of customer service and sales
  • Ability to stand and walk for extended periods
  • Proficiency in handling cash registers and point of sales transactions
  • Ability to achieve sales quota
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Basic arithmetic skills


Sales Associate experience requirements

Sales Associates need proven experience in a sales position, even if it is from a temporary job at a local store. Some employers prefer candidates who have worked as a Sales Assistant, Sales Representative or in similar, related roles. The ideal candidates need at least a basic knowledge of inventory management, point of sale systems and bookkeeping to balance cash registers. They must have the physical stamina to stand and walk around for extended periods while responding to questions because the position requires extensive interaction with customers. Some marketing experience to promote products and services to customers is also beneficial.


Sales Associate education and training requirements

Most candidates need a college course or apprenticeship as a minimum. Some employers prefer candidates with a Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Retail Skill or Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Sales Professional for senior roles. Sometimes, Sales Associates may need a university degree for employment. Regardless of qualification and experience, Sales Associates often require on-the-job training to familiarise them with your company’s products, services and policies.

Successful Sales Associate candidates will have confidence, excellent communication skills and knowledge of customer relations. Typically, candidates can apply to this role without specialised credentials or licenses. However, positions in specific fields such as tech, manufacturing and health may require professional certifications. If your company sells restricted goods and alcohol, then the Sales Associates need to be over 18-21 years of age to work legally.


Sales Associate salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for Sales Associate candidates is £22,566 per year. The actual salary may depend on the employer, experience, location, qualification, industry and specific job duties and responsibilities.


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Sales Associate job description FAQs


What should you look for in a Sales Associate resume?

An attractive Sales Associate resume contains specific keywords from your job advertisement. Some vital points to look for include experience in a similar role, such as a Sales Clerk or Sales Assistant. Check for knowledge of point of sale systems, experience with ERP software, bookkeeping and inventory management procedures. It’s also helpful to see if the resume contains past achievements or numerical mentions of exceeded sales targets in previous employment.


What qualities make a good Sales Associate?

An ideal Sales Associate is an excellent communicator with interpersonal skills. The candidate has empathy and looks for ways to make customers happy. A successful Sales Associate needs to be confident about selling, which needs persuasion and convincing skills. A positive attitude and a sharp memory are also beneficial in maintaining comprehensive knowledge of your company’s products, services, store policies and regulations. These skills are helpful for efficient and fast interaction with the customers.


Who does a Sales Associate report to?

Sales Associates typically report to the Sales Manager. However, they can also report to a Store Manager, Marketing Manager or the relevant senior member in an organisation’s sales hierarchy.

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