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Retail Sales and retail salesmen have taken a beating after the Corona Lockdown of 2020. It can be argued that there is no one has taken a greater hit.
But that does not mean that retail salesman will not be needed once the lockdown ends. In fact, it may be argued that they will be needed even more, as the onslaught of shoppers with pent up shopping energy is released after the lockdown is over.
In that case, then shops will need retail salesmen to handle the increased demand.
So what do retail sales workers do exactly?
Retail sales workers maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions.
Retail sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments. There are two types of retail sales workers: retail salespersons, who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles; and parts salespersons, who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts.
Retail sales workers typically do the following:
- Greet customers and offer them assistance
- Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
- Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
- Answer customers’ questions
- Show how merchandise works, if applicable
- Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
- Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges
The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:
Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.
In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.
After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.
Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.
For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.
In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.
For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.
In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts, which may include notifying security guards or calling police.
Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.
Job Duties and Tasks for: “Retail Salesperson”
1) Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
2) Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
3) Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
4) Compute sales prices, total purchases and receive and process cash or credit payment.
5) Maintain records related to sales.
6) Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts, and know how to prevent or handle these situations.
7) Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
8) Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
9) Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
10) Ticket, arrange and display merchandise to promote sales.
11) Prepare sales slips or sales contracts.
12) Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
13) Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
14) Clean shelves, counters, and tables.
15) Exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.
16) Bag or package purchases, and wrap gifts.
17) Help customers try on or fit merchandise.
18) Inventory stock and requisition new stock.
19) Prepare merchandise for purchase or rental.
20) Sell or arrange for delivery, insurance, financing, or service contracts for merchandise.
21) Estimate and quote trade-in allowances.
22) Estimate cost of repair or alteration of merchandise.
23) Estimate quantity and cost of merchandise required, such as paint or floor covering.
24) Rent merchandise to customers.
Essential skills for success at every level of retail sales
Whether you’re just getting started in retail or you’re already building an amazing career in this industry, you need a certain set of skills.
Entry-Level Retail Sales Skills
Landing an entry-level job as a clerk, a sales representative, or a retail sales associate can be a great part-time position or the start of a rewarding career. No matter how you’re planning to shape your professional life, however, you’ll need a few basic skills to get your start as a sales associate.
1. Written and Verbal Communication
At the core of the retail industry is communication. No matter what you’re selling, it’s critical that you can both read product descriptions and talk about relevant goods and services.
In most retail settings, you’ll also need to have the confidence and finesse to approach customers, make a verbal connection, and gain an understanding of what they need. If you can speak or write more than one language fluently, give yourself an A+ for this skill.
2. Customer Service
Great retail employees know that communication is about more than just verbal exchanges. It’s also about creating an environment where customers feel valued and appreciated, even if they’re being difficult.
Take steps to develop your customer service skills by learning to anticipate how customers will respond to you. Develop lists of typical scenarios and craft your responses to customer questions, comments, and complaints. When you try them out in practice, do your best to listen and make customers feel at ease.
3. Attention to Detail
There’s no room for sloppiness in the retail world. As a sales associate, you’re bound to spend at least a portion of your day operating a point of sale (POS) system or arranging merchandise. Both of these key roles require a high level of accuracy. Focus on your attention to detail to ensure that you process transactions accurately and that you make the sales floor look its best.
4. Product Knowledge
You’ll never be able to answer customer questions or provide accurate information without fully understanding the products you’re selling. Read all the literature you can, get to know the company website, and find out whether you can test out products yourself. After all, you want to gain the most in-depth product knowledge possible.
Mid-Level Retail Sales Skills
Shifting from a basic retail associate role to a sales specialist or sales manager job is a huge step up for your career. Take the time to hone these skills to ensure that you truly excel in your new role.
Whether you’re a shift supervisor or a retail manager, you have to own your leadership skills. Without this basic asset, you may not have a chance at succeeding in a managerial role.
To develop your leadership skills, work on creating an environment that emphasizes teamwork and goal achievement. Make a point of telling your employees what you expect of them and helping them find a way to meet the goals you’ve set.
This is a skill that’s important at all retail career levels, but organization becomes particularly critical when you begin to manage employees and shape company objectives. After all, in this type of role, your daily tasks become much more complicated.
Instead of spending the work day on the sales floor, you might jump from cashiering and organizing displays to training employees and communicating with the corporate office. To keep everything straight, you need a system and a schedule as well as the ability to multitask.
Even if you love your job, you know each day is packed with small and large challenges. Whether you’re running out of time to meet a sales goal or you’re understaffed on an unexpectedly busy day, you have to learn to roll with the punches. To do this, learn to think on your feet, make decisions quickly, and not take things too personally.
With better titles and bigger paychecks come significant responsibility. Mid-level retail managers must demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, and the ability to make smart decisions. To succeed in this role, you’ll need to prove that not only will you show up when you’re needed, but you’ll also take actions that are in the company’s best interest.
Senior-Level Retail Sales Skills
As a general manager or a business development manager, you’ve made it to the top of the retail sales career ladder. Sharpen the following skills to lead your company in the right direction and build the business you want.
Great general managers rarely keep things the same for long. Instead, they’re constantly developing their vision and looking for ways to improve themselves, their teams, and their companies. If you don’t have a crystal clear vision yet, try connecting with a mentor to help you find your way.
You don’t always have to know exactly how to bring your vision to life. In fact, obsessing over finding the perfect plan can stop a business in its tracks. If you’re creative, you aren’t afraid to think outside the box, toss around some ideas with your team, and try something new to achieve your goals.
If you don’t have a boss holding you accountable or pushing you to do better, it’s up to you to keep the momentum going. When you struggle with self-motivation, remind yourself why you wanted to take on a senior-level management role in the first place. Remember your desire to accomplish great things or your belief in the company, to keep yourself motivated.
As a senior-level retail manager, you don’t necessarily have to stick to a single position for the rest of your career. You should demonstrate that you have the commitment to set and achieve long-term goals. Harnessing this skill gives you greater credibility, helps you build a stronger team, and results in a more successful retail business.
Do you have what it takes? Put your professional skills to the test by applying for entry-level sales associate positions or take the next step with a retail management training program.
If you have any questions concerning becoming a retail salesman, don’t be afraid to drop a comment below!