What Does A Retail Salesperson Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Retail Salespersons

Retail Salespersons sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel to consumers.

Salary
$30940
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Retail Salespersons sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel to consumers.

  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Maintain records related to sales.
  • Compute sales prices, total purchases, and receive and process cash or credit payments.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Retail Salespersons greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs. They bag or package purchases and wrap gifts.

A typical day for a Retail Salesperson will also include:

  • Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
  • Compute sales prices, total purchases, and receive and process cash or credit payments.
  • Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
  • Maintain records related to sales.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Retail Salespersons also clean shelves, counters, and tables. They may also estimate the quantity and cost of merchandise required, such as paint or floor covering.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Retail Salespersons place special orders or call other stores to find desired items. They might also exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.

In addition, they sell or arrange for delivery, insurance, financing, or service contracts for merchandise.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them estimate the cost of repair or alteration of merchandise.

To some Retail Salespersons, it is also their responsibility to ticket, arrange, and display merchandise to promote sales.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
10%

Very little freedom
17%

Limited freedom
21%

Some freedom
22%

A lot of freedom
29%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
7%

Limited freedom
13%

Some freedom
44%

A lot of freedom
35%


Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Low

55% said they were satisfied with their job and 35% said they found their job meaningful.


Ashley Homestore

My typical day at my current job is walking around a 150k square feet showroom floor looking for customers to help. My current place of employment is pretty stress-free, but I’ve worked at plenty of stressful commission sales jobs. They are stressful due to the pressure coming from upper management. Pros You’re paid based on … Read More


Several different retail businesses

I spent five years working in retail across several different retail businesses. Retail is a rollercoaster of the highs and lows of the human experience. On the bright side, you get to help people and meet many cool people whether they be your customers or your coworkers. On the low side, you often bear witness … Read More


Nobody would say that retail sales is a glamorous job, it can, however, be very rewarding. While a certain part of the job involves a considerable amount of customer interaction, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes work as well. Right from managing the sales, to organizing the receipts and cash register, totaling the purchases, and tallying … Read More


While doing a master’s degree at the Australian National University, I worked as a Retail Assistant at ALDI, Canberra, Australia. My responsibility entailed restocking shelves fully on daily basis. I maintained and cleaned the store floor and shelves as and when due. In addition, I operated manual pallet moving equipment as well as help our … Read More


One of the biggest electronics retailer in Europe

I am responsible for my team reaching our goals each month. I manage a team of 6 (and our commission relies on the whole group reaching our goals) so the short-term performance of each sales rep is very important. My job is to make sure we on track and to assist my team in general. … Read More


I am currently working as a retail jewelry store owner. I have worked in retail from the age of 19 years old. I first started working for a small Pandora store in London. A role in retail is really like being an actor, you have to smile and be your most sunny and polite self, … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$30940 per year

Average hourly wage

$15 per hour

Entry-level Retail Salespersons with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $19,740 to $22,900 per year or $9 to $11 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $44,570 $21
Senior (Top 25%) $32,990 $16
Median $27,080 $13
Junior (Bottom 25%) $22,900 $11
No experience (Bottom 10%) $19,740 $9

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Retail Salespersons based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $52150 $25.07
Motor Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Parts and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers $49540 $23.82
Machinery Manufacturing $48990 $23.55
Building Equipment Contractors $46670 $22.44
Automotive Equipment Rental and Leasing $46400 $22.31
Automobile Dealers $45420 $21.84
Rubber Product Manufacturing $44780 $21.53
Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance $44390 $21.34
Building Finishing Contractors $43820 $21.07
Other Motor Vehicle Dealers $43250 $20.79

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Retail Salespersons work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Retail Salespersons including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
General Merchandise Stores 753430 $27050 $13.01
Clothing Stores 446800 $28680 $13.79
Building Material and Supplies Dealers 436470 $32180 $15.47
Automobile Dealers 239930 $45420 $21.84
Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores 224170 $27490 $13.21
Miscellaneous Store Retailers 170480 $26990 $12.98
Electronics and Appliance Stores 144640 $32560 $15.65
Health and Personal Care Stores 129260 $29960 $14.40
Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers 123310 $29950 $14.40
Food and Beverage Stores 122340 $29420 $14.14

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
53%

40 hours
9%

More than 40 hours
38%

Working schedule

85%

15%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
4%

Fairly important
0%

Important
3%

Very important
43%

Extremely important
50%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
5%

Very important
31%

Extremely important
64%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
12%

Important
27%

Very important
16%

Extremely important
37%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
14%

Every day
62%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
90%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
12%

Every day
88%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
60%

Once a year
11%

Once a month
8%

Once a week
12%

Every day
8%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
15%

Once a year
17%

Once a month
21%

Once a week
38%

Every day
8%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
1%

Once a year
11%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
59%

Every day
22%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
65%

Once a year
20%

Once a month
11%

Once a week
0%

Every day
3%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
12%

Slightly competitive
0%

Moderately competitive
32%

Highly competitive
17%

Extremely competitive
39%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
12%

Important
32%

Very Important
14%

Extremely Important
34%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
8%

Moderate impact
28%

Important impact
18%

Very important impact
47%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
12%

Once a year
2%

Once a month
15%

Once a week
0%

Every day
71%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
27%

Limited responsibility
24%

Moderate responsibility
12%

High responsibility
23%

Very high responsibility
13%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
22%

Limited responsibility
15%

Moderate responsibility
30%

High responsibility
21%

Very high responsibility
12%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
19%

Once a year or more
3%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
78%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
83%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
2%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
13%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
43%

Once a year or more
23%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
32%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
69%

Once a year or more
14%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
5%

Every day
9%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
19%

High School Diploma or equivalent
63%

Post-Secondary Certificate
2%

Some College Courses
1%

Associate’s Degree or similar
10%

Bachelor’s Degree
4%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
40%

1 month
1%

1 to 3 months
3%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
32%

1 to 2 years
7%

2 to 4 years
7%

4 to 6 years
1%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
10%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
16%

1 month
22%

1 to 3 months
32%

3 to 6 months
26%

6 months to 1 year
3%

1 to 2 years
2%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Leader

People with this personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.

The Builder
38%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
14%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
24%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
48%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
100%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
57%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk-taking and often deal with business.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
43%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
33%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
38%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
71%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
57%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
43%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

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