Career Development

What Does a Retail Clerk Do?

Find out what a retail clerk does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a retail clerk.

Retail clerks are the face of many retail stores. They help customers find what they’re looking for, answer their questions about products and services, and assist with checkout or other payment processes. Retail clerks may also be responsible for keeping the store clean and organized, handling inventory, and other tasks that keep the business running smoothly.

Retail Clerk Job Duties

A retail clerk typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Maintaining store inventory by locating and replacing out of stock items such as toys or electronics
  • Keeping records of daily sales, discounts offered, and markdowns made to items in inventory
  • Providing customers with product information or other assistance when requested
  • Cashiering duties such as ringing up purchases and processing returns or exchanges
  • Taking inventory of store merchandise and maintaining records of all inventory movements
  • Performing clerical tasks such as counting cash drawers, arranging product displays, or maintaining store security
  • Maintaining a neat, clean environment by sweeping floors, dusting shelves, and cleaning windows
  • Processing payments such as cash, checks, or credit cards at the register
  • Helping customers locate products using store maps or catalogs and assisting with price checks

Retail Clerk Salary & Outlook

Retail clerks are typically paid hourly wages, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors.

  • Median Annual Salary: $49,500 ($23.8/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $64,500 ($31.01/hour)

The employment of retail clerks is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Growth in e-commerce is expected to lead to more online shopping, which may result in fewer retail stores and fewer retail clerks. However, the need to provide customer service will continue to drive demand for retail clerks in traditional retail establishments.

Retail Clerk Job Requirements

A retail clerk may be required to have the following:

Education: Retail clerks typically need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some retailers may require a certificate or associate’s degree in retail or a related field.

Training & Experience: Retail clerks typically receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training may include learning the store’s policies and procedures, the inventory system and cash register use. Training may also include learning how to interact with customers and how to handle common customer questions.

Retail clerks who work in grocery stores may also receive training in food safety and handling.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not generally required for this role. However, certification can give you a competitive edge over other candidates and demonstrate your abilities and aspirations to potential employers.

Retail Clerk Skills

Retail clerks need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication skills are necessary in retail because you often work with customers from different backgrounds and cultures. You should be able to communicate with customers in a way that they understand you and you understand them. This can include knowing how to speak with customers who speak English as a second language.

Customer service: Customer service is the ability to interact with customers in a friendly and helpful manner. Retail clerks are in customer service roles, so it’s important for them to be friendly and helpful when customers ask them questions or need assistance.

Organization: Organization is the ability to keep track of multiple tasks and responsibilities at once. Retail clerks often have many tasks to complete at the same time, so it’s important to be able to prioritize and keep track of all the different things you need to do. Organization skills can also help you save time by allowing you to complete tasks in the right order.

Product knowledge: Retail clerks should have a thorough understanding of the products they sell. This can help them answer questions from customers and help them find the right product for their needs. Product knowledge can also help you sell products by explaining their features and benefits.

Multitasking: Retail clerks often have multiple tasks to complete at the same time. For example, you may be processing a customer’s payment while also restocking shelves and keeping an eye on the store’s entrance to greet customers as they enter. This can help you be more efficient and increase your productivity.

Retail Clerk Work Environment

Retail clerks work in a variety of settings, including grocery stores, department stores, drugstores, and specialty stores. They may work in the stockroom, on the sales floor, or at the cash register. Most retail clerks work full time, and many work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some retail clerks may be required to work early morning shifts to prepare the store for opening. Many retail clerks are required to lift and carry heavy boxes and bags of merchandise, which can be tiring and physically demanding. In addition, they may be required to stand for long periods of time.

Retail Clerk Trends

Here are three trends influencing how retail clerks work. Retail clerks will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Shopper

The rise of the digital shopper is a trend that is quickly changing the retail landscape. As more and more people shop online, retailers are having to adapt their strategies to meet the needs of these shoppers.

This means that retail clerks will need to be familiar with the latest technologies and trends in order to provide the best possible customer experience. They will also need to be able to work effectively as part of a team, as many businesses are now moving towards a collaborative model for retail operations.

More Focus on Customer Experience

As customers become more demanding, retailers are focusing more on providing a great customer experience. This means that clerks will need to be well-versed in customer service skills, such as communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

In addition, clerks will need to be knowledgeable about the products they are selling in order to answer questions and provide recommendations. By focusing on customer experience, retailers can set themselves apart from the competition and ensure that customers keep coming back.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the retail industry. This is evident in the increasing use of technology in stores, which is helping clerks manage inventory, track sales, and communicate with customers.

As technology becomes more prevalent in retail, clerks will need to learn how to use it effectively in order to stay competitive. This includes learning how to use software tools to help manage store operations, as well as social media platforms to connect with customers.

How to Become a Retail Clerk

A career as a retail clerk can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the retail industry. As a retail clerk, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about different products and services, meet new people, and develop customer service skills. You may also be able to move up the ladder and become a manager or supervisor.

To succeed in this role, it’s important to be friendly and helpful, have good communication skills, and be willing to work hard. You should also be comfortable working on your feet for long periods of time.

Related: How to Write a Retail Clerk Resume

Advancement Prospects

Retail clerks can advance to become first-line supervisors of other retail sales workers. Some may open their own retail establishments. Many retail clerks receive on-the-job training that can lead to supervisory positions. Some large retail companies offer management training programs to their employees.

In addition, many retail clerks take advantage of opportunities to learn about the merchandise they sell and move into positions as buyer’s assistants or trainee buyers. Some eventually become buyers or purchasing agents.

Retail Clerk Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], our retail clerks are the face of our company. They provide excellent customer service while maintaining the store’s visual appearance and cleanliness. We are looking for a retail clerk to join our team who is friendly, outgoing, and detail-oriented. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in retail or customer service. He or she will be responsible for greeting customers, stocking shelves, conducting sales, and providing general assistance to customers. The retail clerk will also be responsible for keeping the store clean and organized.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Greet customers in a friendly and professional manner
  • Answer customer questions and provide information on products and services
  • Help customers find the products they are looking for
  • Stock shelves with merchandise
  • Organize and clean the sales floor
  • Process customer transactions accurately and efficiently
  • Handle returns and exchanges
  • Keep track of inventory
  • Assist with store opening and closing procedures
  • Follow all company policies and procedures
  • Maintain a positive and professional attitude
  • Be available to work flexible hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as retail clerk or in a similar position
  • Basic math skills
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills
  • Friendly and polite demeanor
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Some college coursework or degree
  • Previous experience working in a fast-paced environment
  • Experience with POS systems
  • Bilingualism

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