retail worker

What does a Retail Salesperson do?

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A retail salesperson is considered an entry-level position and often requires less than a high school diploma. Training is on-the-job and provides the opportunity to learn more about another industry. For example, if you are interested in electronics, you can work in a retail position that sells technology. If you love animals, you may enjoy a job at a pet store. There are many retail positions, so consider your personal and career interests and find a job that you’ll enjoy.

Watch a video to learn what a retail salesperson does:

How to Become a Retail Sales Person

Though it is true that a formal education is often not required for many retail positions, some employers do require a formal education or a high school diploma depending on the items they are selling. For example, if a retail store sells highly technical items, that employer may look for candidates that have a technical background through experience or education. Other employers may find value in experience, for example automotive dealers or retailers selling high priced or boutique items. The more experience, education, or know-how required often leads to a higher-paid position. Sometimes, this includes commission on products you sell.

Job Description for Retail Sales Person

retail worker

A retail salesperson works with customers most of the time. Tasks they perform on a regular basis include greeting people, helping them find the merchandise they are looking for, answering customer’s questions, or accepting payment for merchandise. Additionally, they may stock shelves or put away clothes. A job in retail can offer part-time or full-time hours as well as night and weekend shifts. If you are in school and looking for part-time work or work over summer break, a retail salesperson job may be a good position to seek out.

Many businesses are closed on Sunday. If you are looking for one day off every weekend that you can count on, apply to one of these businesses. If you are not wanting to keep extremely late hours, apply to businesses that keep shorter hours. For instance, many stores in the mall are open until 9 pm, but stores in strip malls may close around 6 pm or 7 pm. A retail worker however, is often expected to work during a stores busiest hours and this is often nights and weekends.

If you want to work a lot of hours, find a retail business that opens early and closes late as they might have the most shifts to offer. You also may want to check that the retail store is open 7 days a week as they may need you to work longer hours to cover their operating hours. Finally, choose a retail store that sells merchandise that interests you. You may enjoy the job even more!

Retail Salesperson Career Video Transcript

Whether they sit behind a cash register, stand at the ready on the car lot, or walk customers through a labyrinth of shelves, cashiers and retail sales workers are the face of many businesses. With more people employed in the field than in nearly any other job in the United States, retail offers workers the chance to learn skills that are essential for almost any workplace. Cashiers greet customers, ring up their purchases, and answer questions. They often handle product returns, sign customers up for rewards programs, and may stock shelves or clean up.

Retail salespersons perform cashiers’ duties with an additional focus on helping customers find and choose items to buy. Items range from lumber, jewelry, clothing, books, plants, and electronics to furniture and cars. Sales positions may require specialized knowledge and training. Appliance salespersons, for example, must explain product specifications, financing, and more. Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts, especially car parts. They advise customers, take orders, and inventory supplies.

Retail sales hours may be full-time, though part-time hours are common, and weekends and holidays are often required. A friendly manner and the stamina to stand for long periods are important. In general, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers, and most receive on-the-job training. High school education may be required for positions selling more complex items.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Retail Sales Workers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 41-2031.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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