Retail Sales Associate Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | September 3, 2023
Retail Sales Associate Job Description
Retail Sales Associates are usually the first to make contact with customers at the store.

If you are searching to learn about the retail sales associate job description and career, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform, this post will be helpful to you.

You will also learn how to become a retail sales associate, including the requirements you will need to meet to be hired for the role, as well as the salary you can earn.

Please, continue reading:

What Does a Retail Sales Associate Do?

Retail sales associate are usually the first set of people a customer meets when they enter a store.

The retail sales associate job description entails creating as well as maintaining a long-term relationship with their customers so as to represent the store in a positive manner and achieve sales goals while ensuring further business.

Their responsibilities also include helping customers in making choices, and assisting them to locate items they want to buy, and also providing information about the particular product they are interested in.

The main duty of a retail sales associate is to sell. He/she may work in any industry – from selling cars to shoes.

The person needs to have an extensive knowledge of his/her company’s services and products, and must be customer focused and sales oriented.

In some companies, a retail sales associate’ work description may involve performing tasks, such as operating cash register once a sale has been made.

The role of the retail sales associate does not end here – they are also expected to order stock, stock shelves and even manage inventory.

They may be required to put a price on products, as well as update shelves if the price of any item changes, or when new products come in.

Retail sales associates work very closely with customers, which is the major reason they need to be able to resolve the customers’ complaints satisfactorily.

They educate customers with product knowledge in relation to warranty and features, along with any special deal or discount that the product may hold.

Retail Sales Associate Job Description Example/Sample/Template

Retail sales associates perform various functions in their quest to achieve sales goals. A list of specific duties, tasks, and responsibilities which make up most retail sales associates’ job description are shown below:

  • Greet customers and determine their wants cum needs
  • Discuss quality, type and number of merchandise required for a particular purchase
  • Recommend merchandise based on the individual requirements
  • Advise customers on care and utilization of merchandise
  • Advise clients on any service or product they need information and help on
  • Explain the advantage and use of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions satisfactorily
  • Demonstrate live how merchandise works
  • Quote discounts, prices, as well as trade-in allowances, credit terms, delivery dates and warranties
  • Assist in displaying merchandise
  • Welcome customers by greeting; and offer them assistance
  • Direct customers by escorting them to counters and racks, as well as suggesting items they could buy
  • Advice customers on suitable goods to purchase
  • Assist customers in making selection from the diverse range of products available
  • Build customer confidence by offering them suggestions and opinions
  • Document sales by creating and updating customer profile records
  • Process card payments and cash
  • Stock shelves with merchandise
  • Answer queries from customers
  • Report problems and discrepancies to the supervisor
  • Give guidance and advice to customers on product selection.
  • Balance cash registers with receipts
  • Attend to customer refunds
  • Keep the store tidy and clean by hovering and mopping it daily
  • Deal with customer complaints
  • Work with established rules, mostly with brands
  • Attach price tags to items on the shop floor
  • Be on the lookout for fraudulent credit cards, shoplifters, etc.

Retail Sales Associate Job Description for Resume

The sample retail sales associate job description shown above can be applied when writing a resume for the role if you are searching for a new job and have worked or are currently working as a sales associate in a retail outfit.

You can simply adopt the highlighted retail sales associate duties and responsibilities in the sample job description in completing the professional experience section of your resume to show that you have proven experience of the job.

Retail Sales Associate Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities for Career Success

If you are seeking the job of a retail sales associate, you should be aware that recruiters will want to be sure that you can effectively carry out the obligations, purpose, and objectives of the position before hiring you.

They will therefore want you to meet certain requirements to prove that you are the right person for the job.

Shown below are major required traits, knowledge, abilities, and skills, which applicants should possess to be considered by recruiters for the retail sales associate position:

  • Possession of a High School diploma or equivalent educational level
  • Sales experience may not be required
  • Must have a confident disposition, and be able to treat customers with respect
  • Must be polite, helpful, and regular in attendance
  • Must be physically fit and able to lift as much as 50 pounds regularly; and perform physical activities such as bending, climbing, stooping, etc.
  • Strong ability to stand or move about the department all through working hours
  • Ability to adhere to company policy and procedures in carrying out all assigned duties
  • Good written and verbal communication skills to relate effectively with customers, co-workers, and management
  • Strong reading and math skills and ability to give attention to detail and write legibly
  • Strong ability to relate effectively with co-workers and work in a team to achieve store goals
  • Ability to always use relevant technological tools in carrying out the functions of the role
  • Must have extensive understanding of the different departments, such as, Fast Moving Consumer Goods, retail, and sports equipment departments
  • Must have knowledge of inventory techniques
  • Must maintain smart dressing and appearance and be articulate in speech
  • To be hired into this position, some employers may require you take and score high in certain job tests. See various job assessment tests and how to make high scores.

Retail Sales Associate Salary

According to Indeed, the average salary for a retail sales associate is $58,110.

The top states that pay the highest include: New York, NY, $67,396; Los Angeles, CA, $63,861; Chicago, IL $63,129; Atlanta, GA, $61,097; and Houston, TX, $59,342 per year.

In the United States, there are currently over 2,822,902 retail sales associates employed. 

Women make up 59.3% of all store sales associates, while men make up 40.7%. An employed store sales associate is 42 years old on average.

Retail Sales Associate Career Advancement

Retail sales associate can advance their careers in different paths, some of these include:

  1. Customer service representative.

A customer service representative is a person who comes in contact with the public. They are also called retail sales associate.

In general, they are responsible for maintaining the good relationship with customers, whether it is answering their questions, assisting them in any transactions, or simply managing their expectations regarding service.

These professionals must possess excellent communication skills and have a friendly attitude because they will need to be able to connect well with customers at all times.

2. Administrative assistant

The administrative assistant is a skillful employee who is responsible for handling all of the planning and organizational duties within an organization.

These tasks may include scheduling appointments, responding to requests, preparing reports, and arranging presentations.

3. Insurance agent

Insurance agents are salespeople who are employed by insurance companies in order to sell various insurance premiums to individuals and organizations.

To become an insurance agent, individuals must pass the necessary licensing examinations and receive a license from the state insurance commission.

With this license, agents must then register with their company of employment at which point they will receive their first accounts.

Retail sales associate career
The retail sales associate career can open up various career opportunities, such as administrative assistant, insurance agent, and real estate agent.

4. Real estate agent

Real estate agents are hired by real estate agencies in order to sell residential and commercial property to interested parties.

These professionals must be licensed by the agency in which they work and work in accordance with the regulations of their agency.

As an agent, individuals must show excellent interpersonal skills, possess strong negotiation abilities and have a full knowledge of all aspects of their field.

Individuals who are interested in this career should get some experience working as a real estate agency assistant or make sure that they do their research on the subject beforehand.

5. Sales engineer

Sales engineers are individuals who sell products and services by representing their companies to potential customers.

Sales engineers must have a solid understanding of the product they are selling, along with a working knowledge of their company’s specific market.

Individuals who want to become sales engineers must first complete an Associate degree or higher, be experienced in the field, and pass a thorough exam before they can be considered for this job.

They should also possess strong communication and interpersonal skills.

6. Sales manager

A sales manager is an individual who oversees a team of sales associates and directs their efforts in order to meet sales goals and company standards.

To succeed as a sales manager, individuals must possess excellent leadership qualities, be well-organized and know how to delegate tasks.

In addition to these requirements, they must have a thorough understanding of their industry and be able to communicate effectively with their clients.

7. Marketing manager

Marketing managers work in marketing companies and oversee the development of strategy plan for companies, including researching the market, managing budgets, developing advertising strategies, and handling other marketing projects.

In addition to these tasks, they are also responsible for maintaining a good relationship with customers.

They must have a background in marketing and have a thorough understanding of the industry they are working in.

8. Career consultant

Career consultants are responsible for offering career guidance and helping clients attain their personal career goals.

A career consultant has a wide range of responsibilities including providing information regarding specific industries, conducting interviews with job candidates, and evaluating their skills.

They must possess excellent communication skills and work well within teams.

Challenges faced by Retail Sales Associates on the Job

Some of the challenges faced by retail sales associate are:

  • Difficult work environment

Keeping in mind to address a diverse audience, the job environment is often very difficult.

The work environment can be frustrating to deal with; it has been seen that there are always situations regarding people who have deep rooted psychological problems or exhibit bad behavior.

  • Inappropriate dress and Uniform

When encountering the public, retail sales associates are expected to wear their company’s specific uniform.

In addition to this, they must also adhere to the dress code of their individual employer.

This can become a challenge for some individuals who don’t feel comfortable wearing a particular uniform or when working in environments where specific clothing is prohibited.

  • High Turnover rates

This can be one of the biggest challenges faced by retail sales associates.

According to some retail experts, a high turnover rate may be due to difficult work environment and not everybody coming in contact with clients are equipped with strong enough communication skills and have proper training.

  • Work related stress and burnouts

It is reported in retail industry, the work is never ending. The work environment can be very challenging while the pace of business may increase unexpectedly leading to stress and burnout.

  • Unexpected promotions and demotions

Although there are no permanent promotions in retail, experience may change their roles at their company or at times because of their working performance.

Some years back, it was the case where an individual who was expected to undergo “demotion” was given a promotion instead.

How to Become a Retail Sales Associate

If you are interested in becoming a retail sales associate, here are the steps to take:

  • Get a diploma or GED

Some retailers prefer candidates with high school diplomas and retail sales training. If you’re in high school, take business and marketing classes to prepare to become a retail sales associate.

Part-time retail jobs can help you gain experience and skills before applying for full-time jobs.

  • Consider sales training

Many employers train new retail sales associates, but some may require it. These programs can teach you about selling products and interacting with customers.

They teach basic math for calculating prices and discounts. Some retailers offer hourly pay while teaching the necessary skills. This program lets you earn while you learn.

  • Master customer service

Customer service is an essential part of any retail job, so develop your skills. This means greeting customers with a smile and being attentive to their needs.

Remember to say “please” and “thank you,” hold items for customers while they make other purchases, and follow return and exchange policies.

  • Know your products

Retail sales associates must know their products well. To help customers make informed purchases, you should know where products are in the store, how they work, and their benefits.

You may need to show how to use some products or provide more details. Knowing this can improve customer service.

Major Benefits of a Retail Sales Associate Career

Here is a list of benefits you may get if you pursue a career as a retail sales associate:

  1. Earn money

You can earn a pleasant amount of cash by working as a retail sales associate. This job is a great starting point for many careers as well as security to have a good income.

2. Gain experience

This job gives you the opportunity to gain valuable experience that may lead toward other higher level jobs and responsibilities within your company’s hierarchy.

3. Learn new things

The job of retail sales associates provides you with the opportunity to learn many things and pick up new skills.

For most of the larger chain stores there are training classes for those who work in management, accounting, or information technology positions where you can have a leadership role.

For example, in some Wal-Mart stores there is an Employee Advisory Board that helps new employees receive mentoring through their specialist areas such as training, customer care, and product knowledge.

4. Help support the economy

Most retail outlets depend on the sale of their branded products in order to generate profits to stay in business.

As a result, they must ensure that they are selling these products as customers are increasingly demanding cheaper products.

5. Work in a variety of places

One of the major benefits of working as a retail sales associate is that you can work in a large number of locations.

As well as being able to work in your neighborhood or town, there are many opportunities to travel abroad and work abroad too, throughout the world.

For example, working on cruise ships is one such option where you can enjoy some time away while working at the same time.

6. Work in a variety of different roles

Depending on your level of experience and the different retail outlets where you work as a retail sales associate, you can perform a range of different roles.

For example, like many other jobs in this sector, you could be asked to assist with the company’s marketing campaign working either on the shop floor or behind the scenes.

7. Work in a competitive environment

Retail sales associates have to face strong competition in order to sell their products. Because of this, they must have the ability to work hard and be able to sell and motivate their customers.


If you are looking to become a retail sales associate, there are lots of job options for the career.

From working in a small store or boutique to providing great customer service at a national department store, the role can vary greatly.

If you decide to pursue a career as a retail sales associate, make sure that you keep your skills up to date by continuing your education and training.

If you are a recruiter or HR manager hiring for the retail sales associate position and need to make a description of the job to inform prospective employees of the duties and responsibilities to expect to perform if hired, the sample job description provided above gives you the information you need to make it.

Posting a detailed description of the retail sales associate position available in your store will help you attract the best qualified and capable individuals to your offer.

This post will also help individuals interested in the retail sales associate career to learn about what the role entails and be sure that is what they want to do.

Also, see Top 15 Retail Sales Associate Skills to be best on the job.