what is a sales associate?
A sales associate is the point of contact for customers looking to buy items from a company. Sales associate job duties vary depending on the type of business you work for or if you work in an online store. You are often expected to perform customer service duties, including greeting customers and helping them find merchandise that meets their needs. Sales associates also help customers locate services like deliveries and sales. You are responsible for closing down your department at the end of the day, performing inventory checks and cleaning up your space.
As a sales associate, you require excellent customer service, communication and team-building skills. You work in locations ranging from brick-and-mortar shops to online outlets. Depending on your location, you help customers in person or online through email or chat. An average retail business usually has multiple sales associates working together.
Unlike other roles in sales, you don't emphasize prospecting and pipeline management. Instead, you focus on providing the best shopping experience for your customers.
Would working as a sales associate suit your customer service skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a sales associate role.sales associate jobs
average sales associate salary
According to Job Bank, sales associates take home an average salary of $34,057 per year. When you are new to the role with minimal experience and qualifications, you start with a salary of $29,124 annually. As you improve your skills and gain experience, your earning prospects increase, and you can take home $46,209 yearly.
what factors influence the salary of a sales associate?
The earnings of a sales associate fluctuate depending on the duties performed and the qualifications expected in the role. When starting your career, you have minimal experience and qualifications, which lowers your salary expectations. You can negotiate a higher salary when you have prior experience in the role. The size of the company or retail store you work for also influences your earnings. When you work for a large retail store, you are likely to earn more since they have unlimited resources. Working in a store that sells high-end products like jewellery and electronic appliances can also increase your earnings. Selling electronic appliances requires additional product knowledge, and you demonstrate its uses, boosting your earnings.
Your location also dictates your earning potential. Working in large cities increases your salary prospects due to the high demand for sales associates. Some regions have more demand for sales associates and pay higher salaries. For instance, working in Alberta and Manitoba increases your earnings, but you will earn less in Yukon and Prince Edward Island.
types of sales associates
Some of the types of sales associates include:
- retail sales associates: when you work in a retail outlet as a sales associate, you welcome customers and direct them to the items they are looking for. You ensure customers have a good shopping experience and use your sales skills to upsell products and increase profits.
- sales floor associates: a sales floor is where products are displayed for customers to pick them. As a sales floor associate, you work in the shopping aisles to answer customer questions and help them make purchase decisions. You explain product features and inform them of the offers and discounts available.
working as a sales associate
If you enjoy working in a customer-facing role, check out sales associates' specific duties and daily activities.
what does a sales associate do?
Some of the tasks of a sales associate include:
- welcoming customers: you welcome customers to a retail store, greeting them at the door and making them feel welcome. You also find out what the customers are looking for and direct them to the aisles.
- recommending products to customers: you advise customers on purchase decisions and provide recommendations if they aren't certain about the best brand or product for their needs. You also motivate clients to buy a product by explaining its uses and features.
- cross-selling and upselling: you help boost sales and increase profits for the retail store by persuading customers to buy more expensive products through upselling or encouraging them to purchase additional products. You encourage upselling by explaining expensive products' benefits and additional features. You can use cross-selling to boost sales if some items have discounts or multi-buy deals.
- explaining business policies to customers: sales associates know store procedures and policies. It is important to explain the policies on discounts and promotions at the retail outlet. You also provide information on deliveries, returns and warranties.
- assisting customers with purchase completion: you assist customers with processing payments and completing their purchases. If they want to organize delivery, you help them record the necessary details to simplify the purchase process.
- assisting with store displays and inventory management: when you are not engaging customers, you display the merchandise attractively. It is important to keep the shelves neat and appealing. You also check the inventory and ensure the racks and shelves are stocked on time.
work environment of a sales associate
Sales associates work in various environments depending on the employer and type of store. Often, you are on your feet most of the day if you work in a brick-and-mortar retail outlet. However, many companies want employees to be comfortable working for them, so they invest a lot of money into creating a safe and clean workplace. As long as you enjoy dealing with customers face to face, growth opportunities will give you additional responsibilities with more pay and benefits.
who are your colleagues?
As a sales associate, you work with various colleagues to meet the needs of your customers. For instance, on the retail floor, you are likely to work with customer service representatives, cashiers and sales representatives. Your colleagues may also include account managers, sales executives and warehouse managers.
sales associate work schedule
You can opt for a full-time or part-time schedule, depending on your employer. Part-time sales associates usually have fewer responsibilities than those working full-time. A sign at the entrance of your company's building or retail outlet indicates that it is open for business during set hours of operation. However, companies close on specific days for holidays and offer paid leave based on how long an employee has worked. Employers have varied schedules, and you may work nights or weekends depending on current business demands. At an online outlet where customer service is done over the phone or through email, your schedule will be more flexible because communication is remote.
career opportunities as a sales associate
Since many customers shop online, opportunities in traditional sales associate roles may reduce. However, retail sales associates can also assist customers with shopping online by explaining product features and organizing purchases. Apart from specializing in online sales, some sales associates progress upward to become sales managers or store managers.
advantages of finding a job as a sales associate through randstad
Working with Randstad offers you a range of benefits.
- always a contact person you can fall back on and ask for help from
- many training opportunities
- a range of jobs in your area
sales associate skills and education
A sales associate doesn't require educational qualifications to join the role, but the following requirements give you a competitive advantage:
- high school diploma: you require at least a high school diploma to start working as a sales associate. You can also find short courses or certifications in sales or marketing to improve your employment prospects.
- experience: while a sales associate is an entry-level job, you require a year of sales or retail experience. You can gain experience through volunteer programs and working part-time in sales roles.
competencies and characteristics of sales associates
Some of the qualities of a sales associate include the following:
- communication skills: since this is a customer-facing role, you require exceptional communication skills to interact well with people. Communication skills help you engage customers from different backgrounds in a friendly and approachable manner.
- expert knowledge of the products: you require a deep understanding of products in the store to develop the expertise to explain product features and answer customer questions. Your product knowledge can persuade customers to make purchases.
- creative problem-solving skills: creating an engaging environment for buyers is important and involves solving problems during the sale process. Your creative problem-solving skills improve customer experience.
- organization skills: as a sales associate, it is crucial to remember customer preferences, keep track of inventory and document the required paperwork. With multiple duties to juggle, you require a set schedule or system to monitor your activities. Your organizational skills help you complete work on time.
retail software skills: as a sales associate, you use retail software to process customer payments and manage inventory. Being tech-savvy helps you perform your duties with ease. Proficiency in Microsoft Office is necessary, and you should know how to handle electronic registers and credit card processors.
Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a sales associate.
what is a sales associate?
As a sales associate, you work in retail stores to help consumers find the items they require. You welcome customers as they walk in and direct them to the shelves. Since you interact with customers, you answer any questions about the products and demonstrate their uses. Some sales associates process payments for customers and pack the items.
what are the responsibilities of a sales associate?
As a sales associate, you are responsible for customer satisfaction by providing excellent sales services. You assess a customer’s needs and provide assistance and information on product features. Sales associates are also responsible for monitoring monthly, quarterly and yearly sales. You also handle inventory and ensure the shelves are stocked properly.
how much do sales associates make?
As a sales associate in Canada, you make $34,057 per year. In entry-level positions, you earn a slightly lower salary of $29,124 annually, while the most experienced sales associates make $46,209 yearly. Your earnings depend on your experience and the company you work for. In a large retail store, you should earn more due to the additional duties associated with your role.
what are the qualifications of a sales associate?
You require a high school diploma to work as a sales associate since most employers provide on-the-job training. Completing a certification in sales or marketing can improve your career prospects. Prior experience or volunteer opportunities in retail or sales also give you an advantage in the job market.
is a sales associate the same as a cashier?
As a sales associate, you work in a retail store to sell products to customers and help them with their purchases. You can also perform the duties of a cashier, like processing customers' payments, but you have other responsibilities. A cashier only processes customer payments and issues invoices.
how do I find a job as a sales associate?
Finding a job near you as a sales associate is easy. Search our job offers. Have you found what you're looking for? Then submit your application using the ‘Apply’ button top right on the page. No jobs available right now? Send us your resume and we'll pass it on to a recruiter who will contact you if an opportunity opens up for you.