Shop assistant, sales person, store assistant, retail assistant, retail sales assistant
Sales assistants sell products and help customers.
Salary range: £12,500 ti £25,000
How to become a sales assistant
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You can learn some of the skills you need for this job by doing a:
- Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in Retail Skills
- Level 3 Diploma in Retail Skills Sales Professional
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could get into this job through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could apply for permanent jobs after getting some experience from:
- a temporary job in a store at Christmas
- a weekend job
Volunteering and experience
Getting experience volunteering in a charity shop could lead into paid work.
You can apply directly for jobs. Employers may ask for some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths. Retail or customer service experience will also be helpful.
It will help if you:
- are confident about selling
- have a positive, helpful attitude
- can get on well with a wide range of customers
Some stores, like mobile phone or DIY shops, may expect you to have good knowledge of their products before you apply.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to use your initiative
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to sell products and services
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be over 18 to sell alcohol and other restricted goods
What you’ll do
In this role you could:
- serve and advise customers
- unpack and sort new stock deliveries
- arrange goods in displays and on shelves
- rotate and replace stock
- promote products
- take cash and card payments and make sure the till balances
- deal with customers wishing to return items, refund payments and log details manually or electronically
- meet sales targets
- keep the store clean and tidy
You could work at a store, in a stock room, at a garden centre or at a garage.
Your working environment may be physically demanding and crowded.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience you could become a retail supervisor, manager or departmental manager.
You could specialise in customer services or buying merchandise. You could also set up and run your own independent shop or stall.