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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

  • $28,000

    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 Career Paths

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Retail Clerk Demographics

Gender

Female

53.3%

Male

35.9%

Unknown

10.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.0%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.4%

French

7.7%

Russian

3.6%

Italian

3.2%

German

3.2%

Mandarin

2.0%

Portuguese

2.0%

Chinese

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Japanese

1.6%

Hebrew

1.1%

Swedish

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Turkish

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Persian

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Korean

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%
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Retail Clerk Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.2%

Ashford University

6.5%

The Academy

4.6%

Arizona State University

4.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

West Virginia University

4.2%

University of Washington

4.2%

Grand Valley State University

4.0%

McNeese State University

3.8%

Temple University

3.8%

University of Central Florida

3.8%

Michigan State University

3.8%

College of DuPage

3.8%

Essex County College

3.8%

Lansing Community College

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of New Hampshire

3.6%

Baker College

3.6%

Miami Dade College

3.6%

Kaplan University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

23.6%

Psychology

7.2%

Criminal Justice

6.6%

Accounting

5.7%

General Studies

5.7%

Health Care Administration

5.6%

Medical Assisting Services

4.9%

Nursing

4.8%

Communication

4.7%

Liberal Arts

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.6%

Marketing

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Biology

3.0%

English

2.9%

Computer Science

2.6%

Management

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Sociology

2.1%

History

2.1%
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Degrees

Other

35.3%

Bachelors

35.3%

Associate

15.7%

Certificate

5.7%

Masters

4.4%

Diploma

2.6%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$19,000
Min 10%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Kroger
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.2 years
How much does a Retail Clerk make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Retail Clerk in the United States is $28,483 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $19,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $41,000.

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
Retails Salesperson Woolley's Fish Market Howell, NJ Dec 30, 2010 $31,555
Retail Salesperson Park Avenue Grocery, LLC Lakewood, NJ Jan 27, 2011 $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 Aug 29, 2008 $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 Ossining Hardware Co., Inc. Ossining, NY Dec 06, 2010 $21,496

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Top Skills for A Retail Clerk

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Sales Floor
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Achieved exceptional customer service by working as a powerful team member targeted at exceeding customer expectations.
  • Promoted company and greeted customers, communicating any sales promotions and/or new merchandise.
  • Maintained established merchandising standards including sales floor and promotional displays
  • Work cash register, stock shelves, handle customer service, answering phone and clean as needed.
  • Formulated pricing on merchandise according to requirements for profitability of store operations.

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Top 10 Best States for Retail Clerks

  1. North Dakota
  2. Maine
  3. Wyoming
  4. New Hampshire
  5. South Dakota
  6. Vermont
  7. Washington
  8. Oregon
  9. Hawaii
  10. Montana
  • (226 jobs)
  • (387 jobs)
  • (176 jobs)
  • (646 jobs)
  • (195 jobs)
  • (176 jobs)
  • (1,710 jobs)
  • (947 jobs)
  • (348 jobs)
  • (271 jobs)

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