What is a retail assistant?

Retail Assistant work in the retail industry where they are responsible for serving customers and processing sales transactions. 

The job requires a high level of customer interaction, meaning sales assistants should have good customer facing and communication skills.

How to become a retail assistant?

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

If you have no experience, you could volunteer in a charity shop to gain retail skills and 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.

Retail assistant duties:

Retail assistant duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Assist with inventory counts and placement of new products, including new in-store or window displays
  • Assist shoppers with merchandise (proper sizing, color choices, collecting items from back inventory if needed, etc.)
  • Ensure customers are well-informed on any current sales, rewards programs, and store return policy
  • Process payment by using cash register, credit card machines, and/or POS (point of sale) computer system
  • Receiving, processing, and organizing shipments and deliveries accordingly
  • Informing customers of shop promotions to encourage purchases
  • Greeting customers who enter the shop
  • Responsible for security within the store and being on the look out for shoplifters and fraudulent credit cards etc.
  • Attaching price tags to merchandise on the shop floor
  • Responsible dealing with customer complaints

Retail assistant skills:

To be an effective retail assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Articulate
  • Excellent customer service
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Friendly personality
  • Helpful
  • Attention to details

How to find a Retail Assistant job

Retail assistant jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the retail assistant jobs near you;

  • Search for retail assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Retail Assistant Job Titles

When you search for a retail assistant job online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for retail assistant jobs include;

  • Retail Associate
  • Sales Associate
  • Sales Assistant
  • Store Assistant
  • Retail Sales Worker

What does a retail assistant do?

The job of a retail assistant varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of retail assistant job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a retail assistant include;

  • Serve and advise customers
  • Arrange goods in displays and on shelves
  • Deal with customers wishing to return items, refund payments and log details manually or electronically
  • Meet sales targets
  • Keep the store clean and tidy
  • Rotate and replace stock