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Become A Retail Representative

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Working As A Retail Representative

  • 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

  • $83,158

    Average Salary

What Does A Retail Representative 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 Representative

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 Representative jobs

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Retail Representative Career Paths

Retail Representative
Retail Supervisor Operations Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Operations Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Merchandiser Retail Supervisor General Manager
Area Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Merchandiser Sales/Marketing Event Coordinator
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Representative Account Executive
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Service Technician Operations Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Sales Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Merchandiser Retail Sales Merchandiser Sales/Marketing
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Reset Merchandiser Merchandiser Sales Manager
Market Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Reset Merchandiser Retail Merchandiser Merchandising Specialist
Merchandising Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Representative Territory Manager Sales Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Retail Merchandiser Sales/Marketing
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
Senior Account Executive
6 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Representative Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Office Manager Sales Consultant
Senior Sales Representative
5 Yearsyrs
Retail Supervisor General Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Representative Sales Consultant Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Retail Representative Demographics

Gender

Female

56.1%

Male

42.1%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

80.8%

Hispanic or Latino

10.4%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

67.2%

Chinese

4.5%

Portuguese

3.0%

German

3.0%

French

3.0%

Mandarin

3.0%

Tagalog

3.0%

Vietnamese

1.5%

Braille

1.5%

Japanese

1.5%

Hindi

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Russian

1.5%

Korean

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Italian

1.5%
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Retail Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.7%

Liberty University

7.6%

University of Central Florida

6.1%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

6.1%

Grand Valley State University

5.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.3%

Northeastern University

5.3%

Grand Canyon University

5.3%

Michigan State University

4.6%

Saginaw Valley State University

4.6%

Western Michigan University

4.6%

Community College of Rhode Island

4.6%

Arizona State University

3.8%

University of Northern Iowa

3.8%

University of Memphis

3.8%

Ashford University

3.1%

Temple University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

Rhode Island College

3.1%

Florida State University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

34.5%

Marketing

7.6%

General Studies

5.4%

Criminal Justice

5.0%

Management

4.1%

Psychology

4.1%

Communication

3.9%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

Computer Science

3.5%

Accounting

3.5%

Sociology

3.1%

Nursing

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Medical Assisting Services

2.6%

Education

2.3%

Information Technology

2.3%

English

2.2%

Graphic Design

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.2%

Political Science

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.5%

Other

34.4%

Associate

13.9%

Masters

6.9%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Retail Representative

OutstandingCustomerServiceMerchandiseDisplaysStoreManagementStorePersonnelTerritoryCrossmarkRetailStoresWal-MartSalesActivitiesWeeklyBasisRetailTasksGroceryStoresRetailSchematicsProductPlacementSalesGoalsNewItemsPOSExecutionObjectivesAuditInternet

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Top Retail Representative Skills

  1. Outstanding Customer Service
  2. Merchandise Displays
  3. Store Management
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Received numerous awards for Outstanding Customer Service.
  • Implemented new merchandise displays and maintained existing displays.
  • Communicate with store management regarding assigned tasks/sales promotions and client objectives.
  • Communicated effectively with store personnel regarding tasks, sales activities, promotions, and client sales plan objectives.
  • Managed my assigned territory to consistently exceed all standards for merchandising and productivity, while frequently traveling to mentor new hires.

Top Retail Representative Employers

Retail Representative Videos

A Look Inside: Retail Careers | AT&T

A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep

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