Career Development

What Does a Retail Sales Representative Do?

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

Retail sales representatives are the face of many companies. They interact with customers on a daily basis and help to drive revenue by selling products or services directly to consumers. Retail sales reps commonly work on commission, so they have an incentive to sell as much as possible while providing quality customer service.

Retail sales reps often specialize in one area of retail—such as electronics, clothing, furniture, etc.—so they may spend most of their time interacting with potential customers within that niche.

Retail Sales Representative Job Duties

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

  • Providing customers with product knowledge to answer their questions about products or services
  • Processing cash transactions and handling returns or exchanges.
  • Greeting customers upon entering the store, helping them find what they need, and answering their questions about products or services
  • Maintaining knowledge of current trends in fashion, home décor, electronics, etc. to help customers find what they need
  • Offering product information and demonstrating products to customers
  • Closing sales by explaining financing options and helping customers complete paperwork
  • Assisting customers with packing and shipping orders
  • Promoting new products and special offers to current customers
  • Preparing reports on daily sales activity, customer traffic patterns, and merchandising effectiveness

Retail Sales Representative Salary & Outlook

Retail sales representatives’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)

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

Employment growth will be limited by the increasing automation of retail establishments, which will allow fewer workers to do more work. However, some new jobs will be created as retailers expand their e-commerce and mobile sales operations.

Retail Sales Representative Job Requirements

A retail sales representative typically needs the following:

Education: Retail sales representatives are typically required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer a minimum of a two-year associate’s degree in sales, marketing or business.

Training & Experience: Retail sales representatives typically receive on-the-job training from their employer. This training may include learning the company’s policies and procedures, as well as the products and services they offer. The training may also include instruction on how to use the point-of-sale system and how to process transactions.

Retail sales representatives who work in grocery stores may also receive training on how to use the store’s inventory management system.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become a retail sales representative, but they can make you a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Retail Sales Representative Skills

Retail sales representatives need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in retail sales. You must be able to communicate with customers to understand their needs and find the products they’re looking for. You must also be able to communicate with your manager and coworkers to receive training, updates and feedback.

Product knowledge: Product knowledge is the ability to answer customer questions about the features and benefits of a product. It’s important to know the details of the products you sell so you can answer customer questions and make informed recommendations. You can learn product details by reading product information, talking with other sales representatives or by attending training sessions.

Customer service: Customer service is the ability to understand and meet the needs of customers. Retail sales representatives should have excellent customer service skills to help customers find the right products and answer any questions they have about the products. Customer service skills can also help you build relationships with customers and encourage them to return to the store.

Problem-solving skills: Retail sales representatives often encounter challenges that require problem-solving skills. For example, if a customer is unhappy with their purchase, you may need to find a solution to their problem. You may need to offer a refund, exchange the product or find a solution that makes the customer happy.

Organization: Organization is a crucial skill for retail sales representatives. You should be able to keep track of your sales, cash and check totals, inventory and customer information. You should also be able to keep your work area clean and organized. This will help you to be more efficient and make a good impression on your manager and customers.

Retail Sales Representative Work Environment

Retail sales representatives work in a variety of settings, including department stores, clothing stores, and drugstores. They may also work in shopping malls or in stand-alone stores. Some retail sales representatives work in door-to-door sales. Retail sales representatives typically work the hours when their store is open, which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. They may work part time or full time. Retail sales representatives typically have a lot of contact with the public and must be able to deal with people in a friendly and professional manner. They must also be able to handle rejection, as not every customer they approach will make a purchase.

Retail Sales Representative Trends

Here are three trends influencing how retail sales representatives work. Retail sales representatives 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 customers.

This means that retail sales representatives need to be familiar with the latest technologies and trends in order to provide the best possible customer experience. They also need to be able to understand how to use data to make decisions about where to focus their efforts.

More Focus on Customer Experience

The retail industry is shifting its focus towards customer experience as a way to differentiate itself from the competition. This means that sales representatives will need to be skilled in providing excellent service to customers.

In order to be successful in this new environment, sales representatives will need to be able to understand what customers want and how to give it to them. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with both customers and coworkers.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the retail industry. This is due to the fact that technology allows retailers to connect with customers in new and innovative ways.

As technology becomes more prevalent in the retail world, sales representatives will need to learn how to use it to their advantage. This includes understanding how to use social media, create marketing campaigns, and utilize e-commerce platforms.

How to Become a Retail Sales Representative

A career in retail sales can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the business world. It offers the opportunity to learn about different industries, develop customer service skills, and build relationships with suppliers.

The best way to start your career in retail is by getting experience in different stores. Try working for different retailers that sell different products. This will give you a better understanding of what sells well and what customers want. You should also take advantage of any training opportunities offered by your employer.

Related: How to Write a Retail Sales Representative Resume

Advancement Prospects

Retail sales representatives can advance to positions such as sales manager, assistant store manager, or store manager. In larger organizations, they may advance to buyer or merchandiser. Some sales representatives open their own retail establishments.

Retail Sales Representative Job Description Example

Are you passionate about fashion and love working with people? Do you have a natural flair for sales? If you answered yes to both, then a career as a retail sales representative at [CompanyX] may be the perfect fit for you!

As a retail sales representative, you will be responsible for providing our customers with an exceptional shopping experience by offering them expert advice on the latest trends, styles, and fit. You will also be responsible for meeting and exceeding sales targets.

The ideal candidate will have previous experience working in retail sales, excellent customer service skills, and a strong work ethic. If you are a fashion-savvy individual with a passion for sales, we want to hear from you!

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand features and benefits of products and services to best assist customers
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of store policies regarding payments, returns and exchanges
  • Comply with all company safety and security policies and procedures
  • Help maintain a clean, organized and well-stocked store
  • Greet customers entering the store and provide them with assistance
  • Direct customer inquiries to the appropriate department or individual
  • Answer questions pertaining to store merchandise and services
  • Process customer transactions accurately and efficiently
  • Recommend potential products or services to customers based on their needs
  • Promote current sales, discounts and promotions to customers
  • Assist customers in locating merchandise
  • Stock shelves and end caps as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven customer service experience in a retail setting
  • Ability to meet sales targets and quotas
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Flexibility to work weekends and evenings

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 1-2 years of sales experience in a retail setting
  • Experience working with POS systems
  • Basic understanding of merchandising principles
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite

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