Sales Associates are the primary workers who drive the retail industry. While they may be low in the industry employment structure, their position is generally the starting point for all jobs in the retail industry. They must be friendly and able to work with the public in providing assistance while also prioritizing sales.
Sales Associates cover a large range of responsibilities. Their most important functions are providing customer service to those who are interested in a product, and making sales. When not selling, they also complete various functions such as organizing and checking inventory, cleaning, moving products from storage to the floor, changing price tags, and assembling products when necessary. Sales Associates will make use of different tools such as a cash register, a tagger, a telephone, hand tools when assembly is required, scissors, and pen and paper. The retail industry has different hours than typical business hours. They are often open late into the evening, on weekends, and sometimes overnight. Therefore, working hours for a Sales Associate may be erratic, ranging from days to nights and weekends. Their work environment is usually inside various departments of retail stores, in the storage section of a store, and sometimes outside if they work in a seasonal department. Some Sales Associates also travel to businesses or homes of customers to make sales.
While there is usually no educational requirement for a Sales Associate, he or she must be able to work well with the public. Some Sales Associates are able to work while still attending college or high school, and in some instances a high school diploma is required. A college education is usually not required, but many employers of Sales Associates prefer some sales experience, and some require experience selling a particular type of product or service.
Sales Associates are the backbone of the retail industry. To be happy in their employment, they must be willing to work with the public. They may think of their position as a stepping stone to move up in position, but some are perfectly happy staying in their position. Their most important function is assisting customers in making proper decisions about purchases.
Sales Associate Tasks
- Attend special training of products/services to understand the product features, trends or styles of the products/services.
- Sell the organization's products/services to new or established customers typically via walk-in business.
- Process payment for products or service, may maintain customer preference records.
- Assist the customer in selecting products/services, answer questions and check for stock and availability.