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Become A Retail Clerk

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Working As A Retail Clerk

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $25,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Retail Clerk Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Duties

Retail sales workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable
  • Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges

The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:

Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.

After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.

Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.

For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.

In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.

Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.

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How To Become A Retail Clerk

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

Education

Although retail or parts sales positions usually have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent, especially employers who sell technical products or “big-ticket” items, such as electronics or cars.

Training

Most retail sales workers receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months. In small stores, an experienced employee often trains newly hired workers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and usually conducted over several days.

During training sessions, topics often include customer service, security, the store’s policies and procedures, and how to operate the cash register.

Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training. For example, salespersons working in cosmetics get instruction on the types of products the store offers and for whom the cosmetics would be most beneficial. Likewise, those who sell computers may be instructed on the technical differences between computer products.

Because providing exceptional service to customers is a priority for many employers, employees often get periodic training to update and refine their skills.

Advancement

Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually involves selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.

Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people. 

Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.

Persistence. A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.

Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.

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Retail Clerk jobs

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Retail Clerk Career Paths

Retail Clerk
Stock Clerk Forklift Operator Security Officer
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Case Manager Account Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Security Guard Home Health Aid Front Desk Agent
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clerk Technician Service Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Associate Warehouse Manager General Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Barista Specialist Account Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Stock Clerk Security Officer Account Manager
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Hostess Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Account Manager Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Account Manager Sales Consultant
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Guard Service Technician Sales Manager
Market Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Barista Security Officer Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Crew Member Technician Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clerk Office Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Operations Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Operations Manager Account Executive
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Hostess Specialist Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Associate Delivery Driver Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Crew Member General Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Delivery Driver Account Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Retail Sales Lead 2.4 years
Clerk 2.3 years
Sales Person 2.2 years
Retail Sales Clerk 2.2 years
Retail Specialist 2.2 years
Sales Assoc 2.1 years
Sales Clerk 2.0 years
Retail Clerk 2.0 years
Stock Clerk 1.8 years
Jewelry Associate 1.6 years
Sales Associate 1.6 years
Associate Retailer 1.4 years
Retail Cashier 1.4 years
Seasonal Associate 0.6 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 18.2%
Internship 5.1%
Server 3.8%
Volunteer 3.6%
Waitress 3.4%
Clerk 2.9%
Hostess 2.9%
Cook 2.7%
Top Employers After
Cashier 12.5%
Server 5.9%
Internship 4.7%
Manager 3.2%
Volunteer 3.2%
Waitress 2.8%
Hostess 2.5%
Clerk 2.5%

Retail Clerk Demographics

Gender

Female

60.1%

Male

38.1%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

79.5%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.8%

French

9.8%

Russian

3.1%

Chinese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Mandarin

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Japanese

2.1%

Persian

1.4%

Korean

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Hebrew

1.0%

Greek

1.0%

Swedish

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Thai

0.7%
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Retail Clerk Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.7%

Ashford University

6.0%

Liberty University

5.7%

West Virginia University

5.3%

Lansing Community College

5.3%

McNeese State University

4.9%

Palm Beach State College

4.5%

San Francisco State University

4.2%

Georgia Perimeter College

4.2%

Michigan State University

4.2%

Western Michigan University

4.2%

College of DuPage

4.2%

Grand Valley State University

3.8%

University of Central Florida

3.8%

Central Michigan University

3.8%

Grand Canyon University

3.8%

University of Washington

3.8%

Kaplan University

3.8%

Essex County College

3.8%

Grand Rapids Community College

3.4%
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Majors

Business

24.0%

Psychology

7.9%

Accounting

6.4%

Criminal Justice

6.0%

General Studies

5.2%

Health Care Administration

4.9%

Communication

4.9%

Nursing

4.2%

Graphic Design

4.1%

Liberal Arts

3.9%

Marketing

3.7%

Medical Assisting Services

3.4%

English

3.3%

Biology

3.2%

Education

3.0%

Computer Science

2.6%

History

2.5%

Political Science

2.5%

Management

2.4%

Social Work

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.6%

Other

34.4%

Associate

15.4%

Certificate

5.6%

Masters

5.1%

Diploma

2.2%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Retail Clerk Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Retail Salesperson BH Photo New York, NY Apr 03, 2008 $47,625
Retail Salespersons Greenpoint Wine & Liquors Inc. New York, NY Nov 01, 2011 $32,011
Retail Salesperson Park Avenue Grocery, LLC Lakewood, NJ Jan 27, 2011 $31,555
Retails Salesperson Woolley's Fish Market Howell, NJ Dec 30, 2010 $31,555
Retail Sales Person Precision Carpentry Oceanside, CA Nov 19, 2009 $31,305
Retail Salespersons Sital Impex USA Inc. Denton, TX Jul 20, 2012 $31,096
Retail Salesperson Welcome Medical Supplies, Inc. Garden Grove, CA Jan 24, 2011 $30,909
Retail Salesperson Welcome Medical Supplies, Inc. Garden Grove, CA Mar 30, 2010 $30,908
Retail Salespersons Komerus Investment Corp. San Diego, CA Sep 18, 2014 $30,389
Retail Salesperson SJK Associates, Inc. Seattle, WA May 10, 2015 $30,262
Retail Salespersons Auto City Motors, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 18, 2014 $30,000
Retail Salespersons Main Violin LLC. Fort Lee, NJ May 13, 2010 $29,907
Retail Salespersons Clark Fashion Depot Inc. Chicago, IL Jan 16, 2014 $29,600 -
$29,800
Retail Salesperson Tenacious, Ltd. Los Angeles, CA Aug 11, 2015 $29,494
Retail Salespersons Lucky Industries, Inc. Winston-Salem, NC Jan 26, 2010 $27,653
Retail Salesperson Hyannis Flea Market Inc. MA Apr 01, 2016 $27,569
Retail Salespersons TK's Beauty Supply Marion, AR Mar 08, 2011 $27,269
Retail Salespersons J.Hardware Distribuitor, Corp D/B/A Nunez Depot New York, NY Jun 01, 2010 $27,173
Retail Salesperson Dick Brooks Honda Greer, SC Feb 02, 2010 $27,131
Retail Salesperson Hyannis Flea Market Inc. MA Apr 01, 2015 $27,068
Retail Salesperson Chic Fabric Inc. New York, NY Nov 15, 2010 $27,000
Retail Salesperson JNJ Citro Corp. NY Jan 25, 2011 $26,922
Retail Salespersons Kingsbridge Locksmith LLC New York, NY Apr 07, 2009 $24,543
Retail Salesperson Statesmen Corp Acton, MA Jan 30, 2008 $24,293
Retail Salesperson MacKinac Chocolate LLC Mackinac Island, MI Apr 15, 2015 $23,374
Retail Salesperson Rolland Hair Trend Doraville, GA Oct 14, 2008 $22,790
Retail Sales Person Roland Hair Trend Doraville, GA Jan 16, 2009 $22,790
Retail Salespersons Ossining Hardware Co., Inc. Ossining, NY Apr 29, 2011 $22,164
Retail Sales Person The Sharp Shopper Inc. Monsey, NY Dec 08, 2010 $21,517
Retail Salespersons Morales Deli & Grocery Corp New York, NY Dec 03, 2010 $21,496

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Top Skills for A Retail Clerk

DisplayMerchandiseCustomerServiceSkillsProvideCustomerCurrentSalesSalesPricesSalesGoalsCreditPaymentSecurityPracticesSalesTechniquesSalesFloorPublicInquiriesComputeRetrieveDataAdviseClientsSpecialOrdersChargeSlipsSecurityRisksInspectMerchandiseRetailSalesNewStock

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Top Retail Clerk Skills

  1. Display Merchandise
  2. Customer Service Skills
  3. Provide Customer
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ticket, arrange and display merchandise to promote sales.
  • Utilize customer service skills and engage patrons in a warm and helpful manner.
  • Provide customer service assistance by interacting with customers and business consumers via face to face and telephone.
  • Maintain knowledge or current sales and promotions and policies regarding payments and exchanges.
  • Calculate sales prices and total purchases to receive and process cash or credit payment.

Top Retail Clerk Employers

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