What Does a Retail Salesperson Do? (Duties and Career Path)
Updated 26 March 2023
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Retail sales associates are the front-facing employees of retail outlets. They work as a link between a retail store and its walk-in customers and can have a huge impact on customer experience, sales revenue and business growth. If you are planning to pursue this career, then understanding its job details can be helpful. In this article, we discuss, "What does a retail salesperson do?", what skills and qualifications they need and how to make a career in retail sales.
What Does A Retail Salesperson Do?
The main objective of a retail salesperson is to assist customers and make in-store sales. They are responsible for helping customers find products, solve their queries, process purchases and ensure an overall pleasant experience. A retail sales associate performs several duties, which include the following:
Greet and offer help to customers: A retail salesperson greets customers as they enter the store to make them feel welcomed and create a positive brand impression.
Identify customer needs and recommend solutions: Retail salespeople attend to customers, ask them questions to discover their problems and recommend appropriate solutions.
Provide product demonstrations: Customers may request a live demonstration for certain products, such as a technology device or electronic appliance to understand their features and functionalities. Salespersons provide such demonstrations to help customers make an informed purchase decision.
Sell and upsell products: Sales associates may persuade potential customers to buy a product from the retail store. Many times, they may also upsell and cross-sell to maximise their profit, for instance, by persuading the customer to buy complementary items.
Offer advice about promotions: To encourage the sale of goods and services, retail associates are often responsible for advising customers about discounts. In this role, they may explain promotion guidelines and calculate sale prices for customers.
Answer customer queries: Retail sales associates perform basic customer service tasks such as answering customer queries about various products, pricing plans and policies. They also help customers locate products and sections in the store for a smooth shopping experience.
Process purchases: Retail sales associates are often responsible for calculating the amount a customer owes and processing payments. You may scan barcodes or enter merchandise details into a point-of-sale system before accepting cash, checks, cards or other modes of payments.
Organise the store: When they are not helping customers, sales associates perform miscellaneous store tasks, such as restocking products and organising the store.
Related: The Role of a Sales Executive: Responsibilities and Skills
Salary Of A Retail Salesperson
The average salary of a retail salesperson is ₹14,172 per month. The compensation may vary based on location, company or store, industry and job duties. Typically, salespersons also get additional benefits, such as incentives for meeting the sales target. It can be a percentage of the sales made or a fixed amount. However, such benefits may depend on the store or company policies.
Career Paths And Growth Opportunity
Retail sales associates have plenty of growth opportunities, making it a good option for a long-term career. With experience and good performance, a retail salesperson can advance to senior positions with more responsibilities, such as senior sales executive or supervisor.
In several large retail stores, qualified candidates can even get management and leadership positions. For example, you can become a store manager responsible for strategising and optimising store sales or a sales trainer handling training and supervising the performance of junior sales associates. With senior positions, you can also get higher compensation. For instance, the average salary of a retail manager is ₹20,818 per month, while the average salary of a sales trainer is ₹22,696 per month.
Related: What Is a Sales Manager? (With Duties, Skills and Salary)
Types Of Workplaces In Retail
There are various kinds of retail outlets, ranging from small shops to huge stores that employ sales staff. Some places where you can work are as follows:
Department stores that sell a variety of products, such as clothing, accessories and home and furnishing products
Brand retail stores that sell products of a particular brand
Speciality stores that sell specific kinds of products such as consumer tech merchandise, jewellery or automobiles
Skills For A Retail Salesperson
A retail salesperson is required to have excellent customer service, communication and sales skills. If you want to pursue this career, consider developing the following skills:
Since retail sales associates talk with customers frequently, interpersonal communication skills are essential for them. The ability to communicate well and quickly is important for building rapport with customers. Having good interpersonal skills means you know how to listen to others carefully, provide helpful responses to questions and recommend useful solutions to customer needs.
Sales and persuasion skills
Selling goods or services to customers is the primary duty of a retail salesperson. So developing sales and persuasive skills is critical for this role. You can learn the fundamentals of sales, practise active listening and learn negotiation tactics to improve your selling potential. Also, make sure you have in-depth knowledge of the products you sell.
As a salesperson, you need a good command of one or more languages to assist diverse customers. Apart from the common language of communication, proficiency in other relevant languages can give you an advantage. For example, being able to communicate well in the local language or customers' preferred language can help you explain better, built rapport and improve the chances of sales.
The difference between retail sales and other sales jobs is that retail sales give a lot of importance to customer service. It is your duty to ensure that the customer walking into the store gets a pleasant experience. This requires you to have good customer service skills to solve their queries and provide satisfactory solutions.
You also need a basic understanding of mathematics and calculation skills to handle transactions, make bills and process payments. It can help you make quick calculations during sales and help customers make quick purchase decisions. Most of the retail stores have automated cash registers and point-of-sale systems to assist you with calculations and billings, but you may still count bills and coins when providing the change in cash.
Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)
Educational Qualification And Training
You may get a job in retail sales with minimum education and even no experience. Usually, employers hire retail salespeople with a minimum high school or equivalent education. However, the qualifications required for a retail sales job can vary based on the industry of the retail store or the nature of products and services. For example, a tech retail store may require candidates with a technical education background to understand the product and explain to the customers to sell them. Regardless, if you have higher qualifications, such as a bachelor's degree, it can help you advance your career.
You may also receive on-the-job training from your employer to get familiar with the work environment and products. A typical retail sales training may include learning about the basics of sales and customer service, improving your communications skills, understanding company processes and using the essential tools and software to perform your duties.
Related: 30 Common Sales Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
How To Make A Career In Retail Sales
Here are steps you can follow to get a job as a retail salesperson:
Develop fundamental skills. Develop the basic skills required for the role of a retail salesperson, such as sales, interpersonal communication, language proficiency and basic mathematics. The good thing is that you can develop these fundamental skills with a little practice.
Prepare a job-focused cover letter and resume. A well-written and relevant cover letter and resume can increase your chances of getting hired. So prepare them focused on a retail sales job, highlighting your relevant skills.
Practise for interviews. Practise the common sales-related and general interview questions to get comfortable during the interview. During the interview, employers may also assess your abilities to handle customers and make sales.
Search for retail sales jobs. Be proactive and search for retail sales jobs in the market. You can use Indeed's job portal to find vacancies, check the potential employers' website or contact local retail stores for walk-in interviews.
Gain experience and advance career. As you gain more experience and cultivate skills, you can get opportunities to advance to senior positions. If you aspire to get a managerial post, you can also get college degrees in related fields.
Related: How To Create the Best Retail Sales Resume - Tips and Examples
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.
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