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What Does a Sales Associate Do?

What does a sales associate do

Learn About Being a Sales Associate

A sales associate is anyone who works for a retail store and is responsible for interacting with customers. This can include greeting them, helping them find what they’re looking for in the store, and ringing up their purchases at checkout. In some cases, the job may involve stocking shelves with products or operating cash registers at checkouts.

Average salary

The average salary of a sales associate is $41,000. That’s an impressive number, especially considering the fact that it’s a starting salary. If you’re looking to make more money right away and work your way up to the top, this could be a good fit for you!

Even if you don’t have much experience in sales, it’s not difficult to get your foot in the door as a retail employee. In fact, many people look down on retail as something “lesser” than other professions because of its perceived lower status or difficulty—but those who’ve tried their hand at working in retail know that it can actually be pretty fun! And once you become better at what you do (and with practice), there are plenty of opportunities for advancement that lead up through the ranks until eventually reaching management positions within stores or even opening companies on your own later on down the road (that’s one reason why so many famous entrepreneurs started out as cashiers).

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Sales associate requirements

In addition to the required high school diploma or GED, you must have:

  • A clean driving record.
  • The ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • The ability to stand for long periods of time.
  • Some sales experience is helpful, but not necessarily required.


  • Customer service skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Sales skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal and team work.

Sales associate work environment

The work environment for a sales associate is quite varied. These professionals may be employed by stores or restaurants, hotels or other businesses that rely on customer service. Sales associates must be able to work well with others and they need to have good communication skills in order to interact with customers effectively. Sales associates also often have long hours because they are typically responsible for opening and closing the business day as well as helping out during peak hours throughout the day.

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The exact duties of a sales associate vary from job to job.

The exact duties of a sales associate vary from job to job. The exact duties of a sales associate also vary depending on the size of the store and whether it’s an independent shop or part of a chain (in which case, you might have to follow stricter rules). In general, though, here are some things you can expect your average sales associate to do:

  • Greet customers when they come in and ask if they need help finding anything
  • Recommend products based on what customers are looking for (for example, if someone is looking for jeans and asks for a recommendation)

Typical duties can include:

Because you’ll be interacting with customers on a regular basis, it’s important to be friendly and outgoing. Customers want to feel welcome in your store, so it’s up to you as a sales associate to make them feel comfortable. In addition, you’ll need to know how to use cash registers and operate the checkout machines at your store. You may also have duties that include cleaning up dressing rooms and keeping the floors clean.

If there are special promotions or events happening at your store, sales associates are often called upon to help carry out these plans for customers by helping them find what they’re looking for within their budget or sale prices.

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Greeting customers

When greeting customers, you need to smile and make eye contact. Be friendly and welcoming so that the customer feels comfortable. If they need help finding something, ask them if they would like assistance. You should also be professional at all times when dealing with a customer so that they feel comfortable entrusting you with their purchases.

Operating cash registers

A cash register is a machine that can be used to make purchases, returns and exchanges. It can also keep track of inventory, so you don’t have to worry about making errors when stocking the shelves.

  • How it works: When your customer makes a purchase, they will tell you what they want from the store. You’ll then enter their information into the machine using a keyboard and monitor (the screen). After entering in this information, there will be an option for “payment type”. This includes cash or card. If your customer chooses cash as their method of payment, then you will need to use two separate keys on your register – one for entering in how much change customers receive back from their purchase and another key which allows them all sales tax charges applicable on top of any items purchased from our store.*
  • What it does: The first key allows us all sales tax charges applicable on top of any items purchased from our store.*
  • What it cannot do: A cash register cannot give refunds or discounts; instead we must manually enter those amounts into our system later.

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Tending to fitting rooms

Be prepared to help customers find the right size, color, style and brand. If you know your product well enough, you may even be able to make suggestions on how to make an item work with an outfit they already have. This can be a big help in making sales!

If a customer asks for help in their fitting room:

Keeping the store clean and organized

You will be responsible for keeping the store clean and organized. You must do this before the store opens, after it closes, during the day, and on weekends.

You need to make sure that everything is neat and tidy all of the time so that customers can find what they need quickly without being distracted by messes.

Stocking shelves

Stocking shelves is one of the most basic but critical functions of a sales associate. It is your job to ensure that all products are in stock and ready for sale, so when a customer comes into the store, they can find what they need. This means you must check inventory levels regularly, make sure seasonal items are always stocked (Christmas decorations in December and Easter eggs in April), keep an eye on returned items that may need restocking or disposal (or both), and generally maintain order at all times. The following list provides some practical examples:

  • Stock shelves with products that have been purchased by customers during previous days’ business hours.
  • Stock shelves with items that have been ordered from vendors but not yet received by the store owner – these need to be prepared quickly so as not to hold up other inventory shipments once they arrive!

Helping customers find what they need

Being a sales associate is more than just selling; it’s about helping customers find what they need. If someone comes in and asks you to help them find their size or color of jeans, you can do that. But if they come in with no idea what they want, your job is to ask questions so that they can figure it out. You could ask them how often they wear jeans, if it’s for work or play, what type of jean (jeggings? skinny? bootcut?), etc… Once the customer has told you about their needs and wants for this specific purchase then it’s up to you as the sales associate to try on different styles based off of their preferences until one fits perfectly.

Assisting with special promotions and events

  • Special promotions and events are a big part of the job.
  • The sales associate helps the customer find the right product, the best price, and their size.

Sales associates do a variety of things from greeting customers to helping them find items in the store

  • Customer service skills: Sales associates must be able to greet customers and provide them with the information they need to make a purchase. This includes being friendly, knowledgeable about the store’s offerings, and providing help when asked.
  • Communication skills: Sales associates must also be able to communicate effectively with other team members in order to complete tasks on time and accurately.
  • Problem solving skills: Sales associates often have many responsibilities at once, so they need to be able to solve problems quickly while still treating customers with respect.
  • Organization skills: A sales associate must be organized when it comes to keeping track of inventory or customer transactions—for example, if someone purchases something from you but then returns it later due to size issues (or any other reason), you’ll need a system that allows you to find out who made that transaction in order for them not only get their money back but also ensure that nothing else happens as a result of this mistake occurring again downline at another store location nearby where workers might not know about how important customer satisfaction really is when making decisions about what products sell best).


Sales associates are the first line of defense in any retail store, so they need to be able to handle any situation that comes their way. They’re also responsible for making sure that the store is clean and organized at all times, which can sometimes be a tricky task. It’s important that you find the right person who fits your company culture before hiring them on full-time!

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