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Become A Retail Sales Representative

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Working As A Retail Sales 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

  • $21,780

    Average Salary

What Does A Retail Sales 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 Sales 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 Sales Representative jobs

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Retail Sales Representative Career Paths

Retail Sales Representative
Sales Manager Operations Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Assistant Branch Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Regional Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Consultant Retail Sales Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Manager District Sales Manager Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Account Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Branch Manager General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Consultant Account Executive Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Security Officer Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Territory Manager Sales Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Retail Sales Lead 2.4 years
Sales Consultant 2.2 years
Sales Person 2.2 years
Retail Sales Clerk 2.2 years
Retail Specialist 2.2 years
Sales Assoc 2.1 years
Representative 2.1 years
Sales Clerk 2.0 years
Retail Clerk 2.0 years
Sales Expert 1.9 years
Cellular Sales 1.9 years
Phone Sales 1.8 years
Retail Consultant 1.8 years
Sales Associate 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 5.1%
Internship 3.7%
Manager 3.5%
Server 2.5%
Top Employers After
Cashier 2.6%
Manager 2.5%
Specialist 2.1%

Retail Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

52.5%

Female

45.7%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

77.5%

Hispanic or Latino

13.5%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

70.2%

French

4.8%

Portuguese

3.6%

German

3.3%

Italian

2.8%

Chinese

2.6%

Arabic

2.0%

Mandarin

1.5%

Japanese

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Urdu

0.8%

Korean

0.5%

Hebrew

0.5%

Bosnian

0.5%

Croatian

0.5%

Serbian

0.5%

Polish

0.5%
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Retail Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.0%

Strayer University

7.7%

Liberty University

6.0%

Ashford University

6.0%

Kaplan University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Bellevue University

3.9%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.6%

University of Alabama

3.4%

Western Michigan University

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%

University of Akron

3.4%

East Tennessee State University

3.4%

Temple University

3.1%

Wichita State University

3.1%

West Virginia University

3.1%

University of Central Florida

2.9%
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Majors

Business

36.8%

Marketing

9.8%

Communication

6.9%

Psychology

5.1%

Management

4.9%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

Accounting

3.5%

General Studies

3.2%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Education

2.4%

Finance

2.4%

Human Resources Management

2.3%

Kinesiology

2.2%

Political Science

2.2%

Computer Science

2.0%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Graphic Design

1.9%

Nursing

1.8%

English

1.7%

Public Relations

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.5%

Other

26.8%

Associate

11.3%

Masters

9.6%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.3%

Doctorate

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

Top Skills for A Retail Sales Representative

OutstandingCustomerServiceRetailSalesVerizonCustomerSatisfactionRetailStoreCustomerBaseProductKnowledgeWirelessProductsInternetSalesRepresentativesMonthlySalesQuotasCellPhonesCustomerIssuesTechnicalSupportCustomerRelationshipsSalesFloorStoreManagementWal-MartPOSCustomerAccounts

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Top Retail Sales Representative Skills

  1. Outstanding Customer Service
  2. Retail Sales
  3. Verizon
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Resolve customer issues; deliver outstanding customer service, and process payments.
  • Performed retail sales assisting customers with plant selection and creatively suggested products for design.
  • Analyzed new and existing Verizon subscriber's needs, developing product and service solutions in order to complete the sale.
  • Increased customer satisfaction and retention levels by meeting their personal and work communication needs.
  • Retail Sales Representative Primary customer interface at retail store location with responsibility for making sales presentations.

Top Retail Sales Representative Employers

Retail Sales Representative Videos

A Look Inside: Retail Careers | AT&T

Retail Sales Techniques - How to convince people to buy in retail

A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep

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