Sales assistants are responsible for serving and assisting customers whilst overseeing sales of products and services for their employer.
They will typically work within a retail environment and aim to keep customers satisfied whilst also keeping the interests of the company in mind, such as sales, stock control and company reputation.
This in-depth guide contains a full sales assistant job description and everything else you could possibly want to know about sales assistants, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Sales assistant job description
- How much do sales assistants earn?
- What does a sales assistant do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs sales assistants?
- Which junior jobs progress to sales assistant roles?
Sales assistant job description
Shopzy is looking for a Sales assistant
Who we are
At Shopzy, we are a fun caring brand, looking to deliver the very best in ethical fashion to our millennial customers of all backgrounds and lifestyle choices
What you’ll be doing
We need a talented and friendly sales assistant to help our in-store customers find the best products for their needs and ensure an amazing customer experience, whilst boosting sales and repeat business for the store – reporting to the shop manager.
You will be responsible for…
- Ensuring customers receive an outstanding customer experience, by meeting-and-greeting and answering product questions attentively on shop floor
- Maintain optimal stock levels by assisting in stock checks and ordering stock from head office
- Assessing customer needs and recommending suitable products
- Promoting product offers and shop loyalty card to generate repeat business from customers
- Keeping shop safe and attractive to customers by with regular checks, tidying and assisting with visual merchandising
- Processing customer transactions at the counter, dealing with refunds and handling complaints
- Opening and closing of shop including balancing of cash registers
What we need from you
- Part time role offering flexible hours (minimum 10 hours per week)
- Based in our lively Manchester shop – occasional cover in nearby shops may be required
- Weekend and evening work is highly likely
What skills & experience you’ll bring to us
- Excellent face-to-face communication skills and a willingness to go the extra mile to make our customers smile
- A good grasp of basic mathematics and English language
- A high level of patience and the ability to work in a busy and sometimes pressurised environment
- Ideally you will have experience working in a customer facing role within a retail environment, but this is not essential
- Basic GCSEs are helpful but not mandatory
Want to apply? Get in touch today
If you think you’ve got what it takes to join our passionate and fun-loving team, drop us an email at email@example.com, attach your CV and tell us why you’d love to work here.
How much do sales assistant earn?
Sales assistant typically start on a relatively low wage, but with experience there are opportunities for promotions and pay rises.
Sales assistant salaries in the UK
- Low: £16,662
- Average: £19,000
- High: £24,000
Sales assistant salaries will vary hugely depending on:
- The size of the employer – Working for large chain stores may offer higher wages and more opportunity for progression than working for small independent shops or boutiques.
- The type of products being sold – Sales assistants with specialist product knowledge or sales experience — for example, electronics — may receive a higher wage.
- General salary factors – Level of candidate experience and location.
For example, a sales assistant with 5 years of experience selling smartphones and laptops may receive a higher wage than a school leaver working as a sales assistant for the same company. This is because the experienced candidate has gained specialist, in-depth product knowledge and can discuss and sell technical products confidently and likely provide greater value to the employer in the form of sales and revenue.
The figures listed above are taken from job advert samples and do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, overtime and pension schemes.
What does a sales assistant do?
Breaking down the job description, below is a list of the typical duties, tasks and responsibilities that sales assistants will carry out on an average shift:
- Greeting customers – Welcoming customers as they enter the shop and engaging in conversation when appropriate.
- Advising customers – Advising customers on what product(s) is best for them and answering any questions or queries.
- Customer service – Being attentive to customers throughout their visit and ensuring superior standards of customer service throughout.
- Working the till – Processing cash and card transactions via a till system, including returns and refunds.
- Acquiring product knowledge – Keeping up-to-date with the benefits and features of new products.
- Restocking – Restocking and replenishing shelves to maintain a fully stocked store, ensuring products are displayed in an organised and appealing manner.
- Promoting products – Informing customers of relevant special offers, sales and promotions.
- Processing deliveries – Receiving, processing, and organising new shipments and deliveries.
- Cleaning + tidying – Helping to maintain a clean, tidy and organised shop floor at all times.
What do sales assistants need?
Generally, sales assistant jobs don’t require any formal qualifications.
However, basic GCSEs and relevant higher qualifications will increase an applicant’s chances of securing a role and may also open up opportunities for future progression. Additionally, acquiring a vocational retail, sales or customer service qualification can help to increase a candidate’s chances of success within the industry.
The exact requirements for sales assistant jobs will depend on the seniority of the role, as well as the type of products being sold. However, here’s a basic overview of what’s needed:
Sales assistant jobs – It’s possible to gain a role without any prior training or experience.
Team leader jobs – Senior sales roles, such as supervisory and team leader positions, require several years of sales or retail experience. They may also require experience in the specific sector — for example, food, electronics or men’s fashion.
The following soft skills are commonly sought-after in sales assistants:
- Customer service – Ensuring customers receive adequate care and attention throughout their interaction with the shop
- Teamwork – Working with colleagues to achieve common goals and resolve problems.
- Interpersonal skills – Communicating with colleagues, managers and a wide range of customers in a clear, confident, polite and professional manner.
- Basic numeracy – A basic grasp of general numeracy, in order to confidently handle money, process payments and calculate change accurately.
- Computer literacy – Competent with the use of computers, software and technology, such as tills and POS systems.
- Flexibility – Adapting to the needs of the shop and the wider team, such as working on new tasks, switching shifts and taking on overtime.
Sales assistant qualifications
There are no formal academic requirements to work as a sales assistant. Employers often take on new hires with minimal experience, as long as they possess the soft skills listed above. For senior roles, employers generally value experience and skills over qualifications.
However, there are several qualifications available that could help aspiring sales professionals boost their career prospects:
Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service
This government-funded qualification is free to those who meet the criteria and will enable students to learn more about the delivery of excellent customer service and improve their communication skills.
Certificate Diploma in Retail Skills
Covering several levels, this versatile retail diploma prepares students for work in a wide range of retail roles. Ideal for those who are just starting out in the world of work, the course teaches the practical skills required for employment and career progression within the retail sector.
NVQ Certificate/Diploma in Customer Service
With 4 course levels to work through, a Customer Service NVQ is a good option for those looking to move forward in a customer-focused career. This needs to be taken alongside a work placement or part-time job, or during a retail apprenticeship, making it a good option for school leavers who wish to earn and learn.
Depending on the NVQ level taken, the course will cover topics such as communicating using customer service language, maintaining a positive customer-friendly attitude and dealing with customers face to face.
What is expected of sales assistants?
Typically, sales assistants will be expected to commit the following:
- Full or part-time hours – Sales assistant roles are available on contracts ranging from 4 to 40 hours per week. Overtime is often available, especially during sales periods and the Christmas season.
- Regular evening and weekend work – Depending on the shop’s opening hours, sales assistants may be required to work unsociable evening and weekend shifts.
- Location – Sales assistants are normally based in a single shop, department store or supermarket. However, those working for larger chains may occasionally be asked to cover shifts for other shops in the area.
Sales assistant benefits
Full-time sales assistants may receive some benefits in addition to their salary, such as:
- Paid holiday
- Sick pay
- Bonus/commission opportunities
- Pension scheme
- Staff discounts
Part-time staff will still be eligible for bonuses, commission, discounts and pension schemes, but holidays will be applied on a pro-rata basis.
Who employs sales assistants?
With the retail industry employing over three million people in the UK sales assistants are in high demand across the country.
Sales assistants typically work in retail stores. Jobs are available in large multi-national and national chain stores, as well as small independent shops and boutiques
Typical sales assistant employers include:
- Fashion retailers
- Department stores
- High-street chain shops
- Independent high-street stores
- Fast food chains
- Coffee chains
- Wholesale suppliers
Which junior jobs progress to sales assistant roles?
Sales assistant jobs are generally entry-level roles, so it’s possible to enter straight into the profession without formal training, qualifications or prior experience.
However, junior job seekers often opt to undertake a retail apprenticeship in order to build customer service skills on-the-job, and eventually progress into a permanent sales assistant role.
Which senior jobs do sales assistants progress to?
Gaining experience as a sales assistant can acts as a springboard into more senior and higher paid jobs, such as:
Team leader or supervisor
With a few years of experience on the shop floor, sales assistants can progress into team leader or retail supervisor roles. These roles involve supervising, motivating and managing junior staff and new recruits to ensure they’re delivering a high standard of customer service.
People who work as team leaders or supervisors in a retail setting can then step into assistant manager roles, before progressing into senior management. Duties in these roles will vary depending on the size of the shop but are generally focused on overseeing the smooth and efficient running of the store, recruiting and training staff and setting targets, goals and KPIs.
For those who excel within a retail manager role, a job as an area manager is the next logical step. Area managers are responsible for the success and profitability of all the stores within a certain area, ensuring that staff are performing well and that all company policies and procedures are consistently followed.
Sales assistant job description – conclusion
Sales assistants are always in demand, with employment available from a wide range of sectors across the UK.
With no minimum academic requirements, sales assistant jobs can be a good way for entry-level job seekers to get their foot in the door and build a rewarding career within the retail sector.
Additionally, with plenty of part-time roles available, a job as a sales assistant is a good choice for students to fill their pockets and build transferable soft skills.