A career as a retail sales assistant
Are you looking for retail jobs? Before you start your career in the retail industry, take a look at our blog to learn what retail is all about. If you want to work in the retail industry, becoming a sales assistant is a good starting point. The diversity of the retail industry offers plenty of exciting employment opportunities. The scope of sales assistant jobs in this sector offers employees plenty of opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers.
What is retail?
To gain a better understanding of the industry, let us start off by considering the question, what is retail? Having a better understanding of the retail industry will help you to get hired as well as to advance your career.
Whether you have worked in retail before or you are just starting out, it is beneficial to increase your understanding of the retail industry. In the retail industry, products are sold to consumers from shopping centres, markets and department stores.
Products are sold in small quantities for the direct consumption of individual customers. The transaction takes place between the seller and the end user. Retailers buy products in large quantities from manufacturers as well as wholesalers.
The manufacturer, retailers and consumer all form part of the supply chain. Merchandise which is sold in the retail industry covers an extensive range of products such as jewellery, toiletries, toys, books and clothes.
Supermarkets are an important part of the retail industry which is responsible for distributing products such as baked goods, cereals and vegetables. If you don’t have any relevant experience, becoming a sales assistant offers a good entry point into the retail industry.
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What does a retail sales assistant do?
Sales assistant jobs involve a wide range of duties. Employees in this position are responsible for selling products and services. They may be required to sell food, clothing or appliances. Other retail items include office supplies as well as cosmetics.
Tasks, which a sales assistant is responsible for, include welcoming customers and assessing the needs of each customer. Once they have determined the customer’s requirements they offer product advice and help the customer to choose the item which best meets their needs.
Working in retail sales, you are also required to offer customers additional product information, respond to their questions and demonstrate the product if necessary. An important part of this role is helping with stock management. As part of this duty, professionals needs to take part in stocktakes.
Another important duty is setting up displays. It is important that sales assistants keep up-to-date with the latest products and promotions. Employees in this position may be required to liaise with other branches to find products which a customer has requested.
Sales assistants work up to 40 hours a week and the position may involve shift work. Typically employees in this role can expect to be at work for early openings or late closings. A sales assistant can expect to work on public holidays. Seasonal work is available for this position.
Most of the time sales professionals in retail jobs operate on the floor of the shop however they spend some time in the stock room as well.
Qualifications and skills for sales assistant jobs in retail
While each company sets their requirements for their sales assistant staff, there are qualifications that can help you get hired. Typically employees look for candidates who have obtained a National Senior Certificate. It is also beneficial to have experience in the industry.
Larger retail outlets may provide training as well as an orientation period. Both formal training and on-the-job learning is beneficial in this role. Another option is to complete a short course at a private training institute. The advantage of this option is that it can increase your chances of being hired if you don’t have any experience in the industry.
Completing short courses in sales can teach you valuable skills which are useful for advancing your career once you have experience in a sales assistant position. Learnerships in retail are another entry point for this industry.
To excel in this field you will need to have outstanding interpersonal and communication skills. A professional demeanour and well-kept appearance is also vital for this role. A good assistant has the ability to work in a team. Employees in this role need to be self-motivated.
Once you have gained experience in this role you can work your way up to becoming a retail manager. You could also choose to specialise in customer service. Another option is to set up your own business once you have a better understanding of how the retail industry works.
Starting a career as a sales assistant has many benefits and it is a great way to start your career in the retail industry. With hard work and perseverance you can work your way up to other retail positions.