Career Development

What Does a Sales Clerk Do?

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

Sales clerks are the frontline employees of retail stores, supermarkets, and other businesses that sell products to consumers. They’re responsible for helping customers find what they’re looking for, answering their questions about products or services, and ensuring that they have a positive experience while in the store.

Sales clerks typically work on an hourly basis and may be paid commission based on how much they sell during their shift. This can create a strong incentive for them to push sales as hard as possible—sometimes at the expense of providing quality customer service.

Sales Clerk Job Duties

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

  • Processing cash transactions by accepting money, counting bills, and entering prices into a computer system
  • Providing customer service by welcoming customers, answering phones, processing payments, assisting customers with purchases, answering questions about products
  • Maintaining inventory by reviewing customer orders for accuracy and updating inventory levels accordingly
  • Processing returns by taking back items and issuing refunds or store credit
  • Receiving and storing incoming merchandise by unpacking items from boxes and arranging them on racks or shelves
  • Ensuring adherence to company policies and procedures by greeting customers, answering phones, processing payments, assisting customers with purchases, answering questions about products, and filing paperwork
  • Maintaining customer records by recording customer purchases and other relevant information about their accounts
  • Determining customer needs by listening to customers’ requests and offering suggestions based on knowledge of available products
  • Processing payments by accepting cash, checks, credit card payments, or other forms of payment

Sales Clerk Salary & Outlook

Sales clerks are typically paid hourly wages, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $27,500 ($13.22/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $137,000 ($65.87/hour)

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

Employment growth will be limited by the increasing automation of retail establishments, which should reduce the need for sales clerks. However, some traditional types of retail establishments, such as clothing stores and department stores, are expected to continue hiring sales clerks.

Sales Clerk Job Requirements

A sales clerk may be required to have the following:

Education: Sales clerks are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer a candidate who has completed a certificate program in retail or sales.

Training & Experience: Sales clerks typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or managers. This training may include how to use the store’s computer systems, how to process transactions and how to interact with customers. Sales clerks who work in retail stores that sell automotive parts or equipment may receive additional training on how to use the products they sell.

Certifications & Licenses: Sales clerks usually don’t earn certifications. However, some stores selling specific products may prefer sales clerks with professional certification.

Sales Clerk Skills

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

Communication: Communication skills are necessary for sales clerks to help customers make informed decisions about the products they’re purchasing. You should be able to explain the features of the products you’re selling and answer any questions customers may have. You should also be able to communicate with your coworkers to ensure customers are satisfied with their purchases.

Listening: Listening to customers and coworkers can help you provide the best service. You can also use your listening skills to learn more about the products you sell. This can help you answer questions and make suggestions. It can also help you identify when a customer needs help and direct them to the right person.

Product knowledge: Product knowledge is the ability to explain the features and benefits of a product. This is an important skill for sales clerks because it allows them to answer customer questions and help them find the right product. You can develop product knowledge by reading product descriptions, researching the company’s website and asking a manager for product information.

Organization: Organization skills can help you manage your tasks and the tasks of your coworkers. You can use organization skills to keep track of your inventory, the items customers have purchased and the money you’ve taken in. Organization skills can also help you keep track of your coworkers’ schedules and the tasks they’ve completed.

Customer service: Customer service skills are a crucial part of being a successful sales clerk. You should be able to greet customers, answer their questions and help them find the products they need. You should also be able to handle any customer complaints professionally.

Sales Clerk Work Environment

Sales clerks work in a variety of settings, including retail stores, supermarkets, and department stores. They typically work the standard 40-hour week, although they may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some sales clerks may work part time. The work environment is usually fast-paced and can be stressful, especially during busy periods, such as holidays. Sales clerks must be able to stand for long periods of time and be able to lift and carry heavy boxes of merchandise. They also must be able to deal with irate customers.

Sales Clerk Trends

Here are three trends influencing how sales clerks work. Sales 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 way businesses operate. As more and more people shop online, sales clerks will need to learn how to work with this new type of customer.

Sales clerks can adapt to this trend by becoming familiar with the latest online shopping platforms and developing skills in customer service and product knowledge. They can also focus on building relationships with customers through social media channels.

More Focus on Customer Experience

As customers become more demanding, businesses are focusing more on providing a great customer experience. This means that sales clerks will need to be well-versed in customer service techniques and able to provide excellent support for their customers.

In order to be successful in the future, sales clerks 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 customers and manage expectations.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the retail industry as retailers look for ways to improve the customer experience. This is leading to an increased use of technology in stores, such as self-checkout lanes and kiosks that help customers find what they are looking for.

As sales clerks are increasingly relied upon to help customers find what they are looking for, they will need to be familiar with these technologies and how to use them. This includes knowing how to use search engines and other tools to help customers find what they are looking for.

How to Become a Sales Clerk

A career as a sales clerk can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the retail industry. As a sales clerk, you’ll learn about different products and services, develop customer service skills, and build relationships with customers. You may also have the opportunity to move up the ladder and become a manager or even own your own business.

To succeed in this role, it’s important to be friendly and outgoing, have strong communication skills, and be able to work well under pressure. It’s also helpful to be familiar with the products you sell so that you can answer customers’ questions and help them find what they need.

Related: How to Write a Sales Clerk Resume

Advancement Prospects

Sales clerks may advance to become lead sales clerks, key holders, or assistant managers. With experience, some sales clerks may open their own retail establishments. Many salesclerks receive on-the-job training that covers the operation of the particular store in which they work. Some large stores offer formal training programs that lead to a certificate or diploma.

Sales Clerk Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for a sales clerk who is passionate about customer service and providing a positive shopping experience for our customers. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in retail or customer service, and will be able to demonstrate exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. He or she will be responsible for greeting customers, assisting with sales and returns, stocking shelves, and keeping the sales floor clean and organized. The sales clerk will also be responsible for providing excellent customer service, which includes being knowledgeable about our products and services and providing helpful and friendly assistance to our customers.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Greet customers in a friendly and professional manner
  • Answer customer questions about merchandise, prices, and availability
  • Help customers find the products they are looking for
  • Assist customers with loading their purchases into their vehicles
  • Keep the sales floor clean and organized
  • Stock shelves as needed
  • Price merchandise as needed
  • Process customer transactions accurately and efficiently
  • Follow all company policies and procedures
  • Maintain a positive and professional attitude at all times
  • Be available to work flexible hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays
  • Be able to stand for long periods of time and lift heavy objects

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Cash-handling experience
  • Basic math skills
  • Excellent communication, customer service, and time-management skills
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 1-2 years sales experience
  • Proven success meeting sales quotas
  • Strong negotiation skills
  • Familiarity with retail POS systems

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