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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

  • $31,000

    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 Career Paths

Retail Sales Representative
Account Executive Sales Manager Store Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Consultant Personal Banker Credit Analyst
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Consultant Personal Banker Sales Specialist
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Consultant Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Consultant General Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Consultant Assistant Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Loan Officer Team Leader
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Retail Sales Consultant Specialist Sales Specialist
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Store Manager
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader General Manager
Managing Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Representative Sales Specialist Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Representative Buyer Account Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Representative Buyer Store Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Outside Sales Representative Territory Sales Representative Regional Sales Manager
Director Of Sales And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Outside Sales Representative Territory Sales Representative Sales Manager
Business Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Outside Sales Representative Territory Sales Representative District Sales Manager
General Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Representative Administrator Branch Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Representative Executive Assistant Owner/Manager
Internet Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Cellular Sales 1.8 years
Sales Expert 1.8 years
Top Careers Before Retail Sales Representative
Cashier 8.1%
Manager 3.6%
Internship 3.5%
Server 2.9%
Supervisor 1.8%
Top Careers After Retail Sales Representative
Cashier 4.8%
Manager 2.9%
Server 2.5%
Owner 2.1%

Do you work as a Retail Sales Representative?

Average Yearly Salary
$31,000
Show Salaries
$26,000
Min 10%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$31,000
Median 50%
$37,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
John L. Scott
Highest Paying City
Santa Maria, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Retail Sales Representative make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Retail Sales Representative in the United States is $31,553 per year or $15 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $37,000.

Top Skills for A Retail Sales Representative

  1. Customer Service
  2. Retail Store
  3. Sales Goals
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed wide variety of customer service and administrative tasks to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
  • Retail Sales Representative Primary customer interface at retail store location with responsibility for making sales presentations.
  • Exhibited competitive performance abilities by consistently exceeding monthly metric and sales goals.
  • Identify customer needs and provide a customized Verizon mobile solution.
  • Activated new accounts and audited existing accounts for customers efficiently and professionally.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Retail Sales Representatives

  1. Idaho
  2. Utah
  3. Oregon
  4. Wyoming
  5. California
  6. Alaska
  7. Maine
  8. Nevada
  9. Arizona
  10. Washington
  • (668 jobs)
  • (1,560 jobs)
  • (1,627 jobs)
  • (254 jobs)
  • (13,284 jobs)
  • (198 jobs)
  • (553 jobs)
  • (902 jobs)
  • (2,149 jobs)
  • (2,722 jobs)

Retail Sales Representative Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 14,548 Retail Sales Representative resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Retail Sales Representative Resume

View Resume Examples

Retail Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

49.1%

Female

43.2%

Unknown

7.7%
Ethnicity

White

60.5%

Hispanic or Latino

18.0%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.2%

French

4.4%

German

2.9%

Portuguese

2.6%

Chinese

2.4%

Mandarin

2.0%

Italian

2.0%

Arabic

1.9%

Japanese

1.7%

Russian

1.5%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Tagalog

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Carrier

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Polish

0.7%

Bosnian

0.5%

Croatian

0.5%
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Retail Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.4%

Strayer University

7.8%

Ashford University

6.3%

Ohio State University

4.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

Kaplan University

4.0%

Liberty University

4.0%

Michigan State University

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.8%

The Academy

3.7%

Western Michigan University

3.4%

University of Houston

3.3%

Bellevue University

3.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.2%

University of South Florida

3.2%

Houston Community College

3.1%

University of Maryland - University College

3.0%

Texas State University

3.0%

Purdue University

3.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

36.9%

Marketing

9.8%

Communication

6.6%

Psychology

5.1%

Criminal Justice

4.9%

Management

4.7%

Accounting

3.7%

General Studies

3.2%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Finance

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Computer Science

2.3%

Human Resources Management

2.2%

Political Science

2.1%

Nursing

1.9%

English

1.8%

Kinesiology

1.8%

Medical Assisting Services

1.8%

Graphic Design

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.6%

Other

26.3%

Associate

12.9%

Masters

8.8%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.3%
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