The task of a sales associate is to help customers find what they need despite the industry they are employed in.
They are a liaison between the user and the producer.
In the article below, we will explore relevant information on the job of a sales associate, including training, qualifications, hours, salary, and more.
Article Table of Contents
What Does a Sales Associate Do
Sales associates can generally work in any environment.
They are often employed in retail stores and are also known as sales representatives.
Sales associates are in demand among all businesses that want to sell some type of product.
The responsibilities of sales associates can vary depending on the workplace.
So, we have put together the most common duties encountered by the sales associates.
Whether you work for Home Depot, Walmart, Old Navy, or a general store, you can expect to do various tasks.
For example, some of the responsibilities at Old Navy include:
- Greeting customers upon their arrival at the store.
- Determining the needs of customers quickly and accurately and make the appropriate recommendations.
- Directing customers to the appropriate shelves, aisles, and employees according to their needs.
- Advising the customers of proper and safe use of the product, and helping them with any information they might need.
- Demonstrating how merchandise works upon customer requests.
- Keeping customers updated on prices, discounts, credit terms, sales, warranties, delivery services, and other details.
- Helping customers choose the products according to their needs and building their confidence with the company.
- Knowing the amount, type, and quantity when ordering merchandise.
- Keeping track of sales, processing credit card and cash transactions, and creating and updating customer profile records.
- Stocking the shelves, putting price tags on merchandise, and ensuring that shelves are stocked enough.
- Reporting disturbances, discrepancies, and problems to supervisors, and keeping the work area tidy and clean.
- Keeping the balance between cash registers and receipts and processing refunds according to the store policies.
- Resolving customer complaints, and looking out for fake bills, shoplifters, and fraudulent credit cards.
- Reserving products according to online orders and taking care of the delivery of the items ordered online.
Sales associates have to connect with customers, so they need excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Sales associates need to have a high level of knowledge about the products and be able to increase the number of sales.
Having some merchandising experience is also important.
It is also essential that sales associates have some experience with inventory and can pull all-nighters for inventories.
These workers have to be familiar with basic-level math, technology and be great problem-solvers.
They should manage time and store resources efficiently.
Any professional working in the customer service area need excellent verbal and written communication skills and great attention to detail.
They should be great team players and highly customer-oriented.
How to Become a Sales Associate
Most employers don’t require any specific education from the sales associates.
Instead, they pay more attention to the experience.
However, since most sales associate positions are entry-level, it’s fairly easy to get the job.
They will have to gain more education if they are going to pursue a managerial position.
Training and Qualifications
The position of a sales associate is one of the most sought-after.
Primarily, it is because of the low educational requirements.
The experience requirements aren’t as high as for other jobs.
The positions that will require some college education are usually higher, such as management.
Most of the working-class Americans working as sales associates or in customer service have some well-defined responsibilities.
However, some employers tend to overwork their employees tasking them with the responsibilities that don’t really refer to the customer service jobs.
Most employers also train their employees on the job.
New hires learn how to work on a cash register, the POS system, and the internal computer system.
Everything else is up to the employees.
However, more experienced colleagues can usually help new hires.
As mentioned, there aren’t any specific educational requirements for the job.
However, the experience can influence the salary of a sales associate.
According to PayScale, the salary of a sales associate can increase by $10,000 during their career.
The starting salary for this position is around $21,000.
With a career of over 20 years, one can increase their salary to $33,000 per year.
The statistics of 2015 demonstrates that one-third of all sales associates work part-time.
This is convenient as most employees take this job as a second source of income.
Besides, most associates work on weekends, holidays, and evenings.
The average workweek of a sales associate features 40 to 60 hours.
Part-time associates can work between 30 and 45 hours.
Also, once a month they have to work an overnight shift to perform inventories.
The rate of employment for the sales associates should increase by 7% by 2024.
This is slightly below the national average.
Regardless, the competition for the job is very high.
According to the BLS, the median salary of sales associates was $11.01 per hour or $22,900 per year, as of 2016.
The reason for this is low educational requirements and low complexity of the job.
Even though the salary is low and the workload is high, many people apply for this position.
The reason is, again, low educational requirements as well as some available benefits.
Another perk of the job is that you can work part-time and have great opportunities for promotion.
The sales associate position is one of the most sought-after jobs despite a low salary.
There is a wide range of responsibilities, and the hours can be long.
However, there are multiple opportunities for advancement and the possibility to work part-time, which can be a great advantage for many.