Home / Career Guides / How to Become a Retail Sales Associate

How to Become a Retail Sales Associate

Do you most times prefer working early hours of the day or late hours of the night? Do you enjoy welcoming customers to stores and creating a nice environment for them to shop in? Helping and directing customers on the products they purchase and how to use them may make you the perfect retail sales associate. A retail sales associate is responsible for welcoming customers into the store, assisting them with the buying processes, showing them how to use them, and ringing up customers’ purchases on the register. 

The major duty of those working in retail is to promote the company’s products and services regularly through excellent customer service. Welcoming customers is the main objective, and guiding them through the store’s products are the major roles of this position. An ideal candidate will also answer a customer’s question and ensure that they have a great experience in the store.

Sample job description

Because we are a well-established and fast-growing company with many store locations, [Your Company Name] needs a diligent and hardworking employee for the purpose of helping our business grow. A self-driven individual with great customer service skills and a sense of urgency with a good work ethic is needed. You must welcome customers into the store and stay knowledgeable about our range of various products. Your duties will be to promote special sales, offers, and awareness of our store loyalty program.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Welcome customers into the store
  • Stay knowledgeable about our range of products 
  • Explain to customers the best products for their needs and push promoted products
  • Accept and process orders, operate the register, and resolve return issues
  • Recommend related products to increase customers’ opinions further and enrich the shopping experience
  • Explain to customers the best products for their needs

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or GED
  • In-depth knowledge of products
  • Excellent sales and communication skills
  • Working knowledge of payment systems

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent knowledge of working a register
  • Exceptional and outstanding sales experience
  • Knowledgeable about inventory management and skills to promote the business with confidence
  • In-depth knowledge of mathematics 
  • Communication & problem–solving
  • Quantifications and a cheerful working attitude
  • Ability to upsell
  • Very familiar with POS (Point of Sale) Systems and ability to adapt to learn new technologies

Preferred qualifications

  • Should be an excellent communicator with exceptional customer service and interpersonal skills
  • Outstanding sales knowledge and time management skills
  • Experience working in another retail store

Typical work environment

A retail sales associate typically works in stores and shops, interacting with customers on the sales floor. These professionals work either part-time or full-time and mostly in the evenings, on weekends, and during holidays. Most times, the busiest time of a retail individual’s jobs is during the year-end holiday season.

Typical hours

A shift for a typical retail sales associate varies. There are shifts available on the weekends and weekdays, and typically, the stores are open from 8 AM to 10 PM, or later during holiday seasons. 

Available certifications

A lot of available organizations are in good need of a retail sales associate. There are a few available certifications, including:

  • Citibank Certified Retail Sales associate: The course will make you learn about the value of great salesmanship and key activities that every sales associate needs to execute to be successful. Another benefit is discovering and practicing the activities required to make the customer comfortable in the store and with sales representatives. The training will build your interpersonal skills ahead of your tasks, such as describing the various selling and service models and how they impact customers’ satisfaction.

Career path

There is no dedicated career path to becoming a sales associate. However, most of these positions will require a high school diploma or GED. Then, you can secure a position at a store or other facility.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 41-2031

2020 Employment3,835,000
Projected Employment in 20303,795,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift39,300 decrease

Retail sales associates are going to decrease over the next ten years as employers look toward automated machines to take over. However, they will still need associates to manage these machines as well as the other daily tasks needed around stores, like cleaning and organizing. To stay ahead of the decline, associates should expand their skills so they’re able to continue to work.