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The Job of a Retail Salesperson

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Avid consumerism has made the retailing industry a choice option for aggressive job seekers. A healthy economy and high consumer confidence have brought about a surge in retail activity over the last few decades. A retail sales job is no more an option only considered by those without college degrees, and career paths in the retailing industry have multiplied with the sector's development. However, the basic job of a retail salesperson remains almost the same as it was centuries ago. And it's still a job that can't be outsourced.

The Duties of a Retail Salesperson

Retail salespeople work in diverse types of retail enterprises helping customers select and buy consumer products. They may work to sell or rent products and merchandise ranging from books to automobiles in specialty stores. They may work in specific departments of large department stores, but in the small owner-managed store, the retail salesperson is responsible for overall supervision and sales of products to customers. The basic duties of a retail salesperson are:

  • Staying up-to-date regarding product knowledge

  • Selling products through guidance and persuasion

  • Securing consumer satisfaction
In addition to these three basic duties, specific related duties in a retail sales job may include:
  • Handling cash and maintaining the cash register

  • Sorting coupons, exchange vouchers, and other items related to sales and sales promotions

  • Carrying cash and depositing it at a financial institution
Depending on the type of store the retail salesperson works for, general activities may include:
  • Greeting customers

  • Helping customers identify their requirements

  • Promoting products and partaking in sales-promotion campaigns

  • Advising customers on the use, utility, and maintenance of products

  • Answering customers' questions regarding the store and its products

  • Processing financial transactions

  • Helping customers who want to return and exchange products

  • Arranging for delivery of purchased products and wrapping products in packaging when needed

  • Negotiating on-the-spot pricing of products to clinch deals

  • Supervising, maintaining, and ordering supplies

  • Arranging merchandise on store shelves and in display areas
The Skills of a Retail Salesperson

To be successful, retail salespeople need the following skills and qualities:
  • Presentable appearance and cheerful personality

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Awareness of current trends, fashions, and consumer tastes

  • Patience, tact, and courtesy

  • Ability to handle work pressure

  • Ability to negotiate and persuade

  • Ability to make calculations quickly
Entry-Level Qualifications

Retail is a good career option for those without college degrees, as there are no standard educational requirements for entry-level jobs in this sector. Interpersonal skills still matter in this industry, and if you can sell, having a degree doesn't matter. Product knowledge is gained on the job, and most retail organizations have in-house training programs. Although a degree cannot save the job of a salesperson who can't sell, a degree can supplement the skills and experience of a retail salesperson climbing the career ladder.

Retail is and will always be tied to economic trends and the fickleness of fashion. However, as long as the retail boom lasts, the job of a retail salesperson will remain one of the most satisfying and lucrative employment choices for extroverts who love the rush of the marketplace.
On the net:Bureau of Labor Statistics: Retail Salespersons

Labor Market Information: Retail Salespersons
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Popular tags:

 merchandise  industry  economy  automobiles  customers  surge  paths  department stores  retailers  choices

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