How to become a Sales Assistant

What is a sales assistant?

Sales assistants serve and assist customers in shops, offices, supermarkets and retail outlets. Sales assistant jobs vary depending on the working environment but the main goal role is to help sell products or services to customers. Your day-to-day work will be delegated by a manager, supervisor or business owner depending on the size of the business. Strong communication and customer service skills are essential when working as a sales assistant.

As a sales assistant, you’ll be expected to advise customers and answer any queries they may have. You’ll need to know the shop layout, information about the products/services, stock availability and special offers.

How to become a sales assistant

There are entry level sales assistant jobs that you can apply for without skills or experience. Update your CV and write a cover letter explaining why you think you’ll make a great customer service assistant and apply for sales assistant jobs online or by personally delivering your CV to local shops, offices and retail outlets.

You may be able to improve your chances of getting a sales assistant job by:

  • a training course, for example; Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Sales
  • an apprenticeship in sales or retail
  • volunteering, for example; as a cashier in a charity shop

Sales Assistant Duties

  • Greeting customers when they enter the shop
  • Asking customers if they need any help or advice
  • Taking payments from customers
  • Handling returns and exchanges
  • Replenishing the supply of stock on the shelves 
  • Helping to create window displays, in-store displays and other visual merchandising
  • Assisting with store deliveries
  • Handling customer complaints or handing over serious complaints to the manager on duty

Sales Assistant Skills

  • Customer service skills
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Sensitivity, understanding and soft personal skills
  • Persuading and negotiating skills
  • Excellent time management
  • The ability to work well as part of a team
  • The ability to thrive in a high pressure environment
  • High attention to detail
  • The ability to use your initiative

How to find a Sales Assistant job

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

  • Search for sales 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
  • Go to local shops, stores and retail outlets and ask them if they’re hiring or planning to hire sales assistants

Sales Assistant Job Titles

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

  • Shop Assistant
  • Sales Person
  • Store Assistant
  • Retail Assistant
  • Retail Sales Assistant

How to apply for Sales Assistant jobs

How to apply for the sales assistant jobs you find depends on where you found the job advertisement. However, whether you’re applying for sales assistant jobs online or face-to-face, you’ll need an up-to-date CV and a cover letter.

What does a sales assistant do?

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

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

  • 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

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