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Become A Sales Clerk

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Working As A Sales 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

  • $16,573

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales 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 Sales 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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Sales Clerk Demographics

Gender

Female

64.5%

Male

33.6%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

62.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.2%

French

9.7%

German

4.9%

Japanese

4.1%

Chinese

2.9%

Mandarin

2.3%

Italian

2.0%

Vietnamese

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Russian

1.3%

Tagalog

1.3%

Portuguese

1.2%

Korean

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Swedish

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Greek

0.7%

Gujarati

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Somali

0.4%
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Sales Clerk Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.9%

Liberty University

7.7%

Kaplan University

4.9%

University of Central Florida

4.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.4%

Ashford University

4.4%

American InterContinental University

4.4%

Grand Canyon University

4.3%

University of South Florida

4.3%

University of Southern Mississippi

4.1%

Valencia College

4.1%

Community College of Allegheny County

4.1%

University of Mississippi

3.8%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.8%

Mississippi State University

3.8%

Kennesaw State University

3.7%

University of Central Oklahoma

3.7%

Florida State University

3.7%

Miami Dade College

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

23.7%

Accounting

7.6%

Psychology

7.5%

Criminal Justice

6.5%

Nursing

5.2%

Health Care Administration

5.1%

General Studies

5.1%

Communication

4.5%

Medical Assisting Services

3.9%

Education

3.5%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Management

3.2%

English

3.1%

Elementary Education

2.8%

Computer Science

2.8%

Graphic Design

2.8%

Marketing

2.7%

Biology

2.5%

Cosmetology

2.2%

Political Science

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.1%

Other

35.0%

Associate

15.4%

Masters

5.7%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

2.2%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Sales Clerk Videos

What Your Sales Clerk Won't Tell You

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Sales clerk job description

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Real Sales Clerk Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sales Clerk Pura Vida Divers, LLC FL May 23, 2011 $38,610
Sales Clerk Harley Davidson of Ocean County Lakewood, NJ Jul 09, 2008 $31,555
Sale Clerk Sag Harbor Variety Inc. NY Mar 01, 2014 $29,427
Sales Clerk Flying Eagle LLC Manitou Springs, CO May 12, 2016 $28,112
Sales Clerk HG Investments Inc. Sioux Falls, SD Apr 15, 2016 $27,027
Sales Clerk Jlmoon, Inc. La Puente, CA Mar 21, 2016 $26,811
Sales Clerk MME, Inc. NY May 01, 2014 $26,505
Sales Clerk Flying Eagle LLC Manitou Springs, CO May 01, 2015 $26,296
Sales Clerk Press Liquors Washington, DC Dec 13, 2007 $26,234
Sales Clerk Aspen Skling Company, LLC CO Nov 15, 2010 $25,587
Sales Clerk American Me Corporation Wisconsin Dells, WI Apr 15, 2016 $25,357
Sales Clerk Pollacks D.B.A J.E.R Ack MA May 01, 2014 $24,731
Sales Clerk Diamonds International of Alaska Ltd DBA Diamonds AK May 01, 2012 $24,001
Sales Clerk American Me Corporation WI Apr 01, 2014 $23,896
Sales Clerk American Me Corporation WI Apr 03, 2014 $23,896
Sales Clerk Plaza Fish Market Los Angeles, CA Nov 18, 2015 $23,358
Sales Clerk Plaza Fish Market Los Angeles, CA Sep 06, 2016 $23,358
Sales Clerk I.S.T. Global LLC WY Apr 01, 2013 $20,327
Sales Clerk Hangaram, Inc. Alexandria, LA Apr 28, 2016 $19,781
Sales Clerk JK Bio Cosmetic, Inc. Buena Park, CA Nov 10, 2016 $19,718
Sales Clerk New Beginnings, LLC DBA Shop Therapy MA Apr 01, 2012 $19,701
Sales Clerk Max Wireless, Inc. CA Oct 27, 2016 $19,490
Sale Clerk Sag Harbor Variety Inc. NY Mar 01, 2013 $18,783

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Top Skills for A Sales Clerk

  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Store Shelves
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided professional customer service, performed sales transactions, and displayed ability to communicate with a variety of people
  • Set up merchandise displays and arranged merchandise to promote sales; completely reconfigured store to accommodate new merchandise for holiday seasons.
  • Arranged/stocked store shelves and end caps, received deliveries and manned the cash register; assisted customers with concerns.
  • Greeted customers, operated cash registers, and organized sales floor, clothing racks, and fitting rooms.
  • Fielded telephone calls and forwarded correspondence to concerned departments.

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Top 10 Best States for Sales Clerks

  1. Maine
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Wyoming
  5. Vermont
  6. North Dakota
  7. Washington
  8. Alaska
  9. South Dakota
  10. Oregon
  • (550 jobs)
  • (994 jobs)
  • (466 jobs)
  • (220 jobs)
  • (275 jobs)
  • (305 jobs)
  • (2,591 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (257 jobs)
  • (1,453 jobs)

Top Sales Clerk Employers

Jobs From Top Sales Clerk Employers

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