Sale Associate Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Sale Associate, or Sales Clerk, is responsible for attending to customers in a retail environment and helping them make an informed purchase of the goods they need. Their duties include welcoming customers to the store and asking them about their purchasing needs, helping people find the right item and ringing up items at the register.

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Sale Associate duties and responsibilities

Sale Associates represent retailers and assist customers with their purchases by helping them find products or services that meet their needs. Their specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the company they work for, but typically include the following:

  • Provide outstanding customer service before and after a sale.
  • Maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Help customers determine their needs then provide proper recommendations to solve their problems.
  • Ask all customers for referrals.
  • Develop strong relationships with customers and look for opportunities to further expand their products.
  • Take full advantage of company training sessions and literature to remain current with product offerings.
  • Keep all store areas clean and organized.
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What does a Sale Associate do?

Sale Associates work on the floor of a store to facilitate purchases and stock item displays. Sale Associates are responsible for knowing details about all of the products sold at their store so they can educate customers about the purpose of each item. They advertise items to customers based on their interests, recommending complementary purchases and demonstrating products when necessary. 

Sale Associates check out all items, accept payment and give the correct amount of change. They balance the register by counting out bills and comparing them to receipts from cash transactions and the card machine. Sale Associates also keep the store clean by sweeping, wiping display cases, dusting products and vacuuming mats.

Sale Associate skills and qualifications

A successful Sale Associate will need to have the following skills and qualifications to be effective in their role: 

  • Self-motivated
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Ability to read people well
  • Good listening skills
  • Friendly personality
  • General understanding of the sales process

Sale Associate salary expectations

A Sale Associate makes an average of $11.30 per hour. Pay rate may vary depending on the Sale Associate’s level of experience and geographical location.

Sale Associate education and training requirements

A specific level of education is not a requirement for most Sale Associates. However, many employers require Sale Associates to have a minimum of a high school diploma, GED or similar with relevant experience. A bachelor’s degree or the completion of a professional training program may be required for a Sale Associate to advance to a management position. Sale Associates typically obtain the necessary skills to perform this role through on-the-job training. Depending on the company or department they work for, Sale Associates may also receive additional training in specific products. 

Sale Associate experience requirements

The specific experience requirements for a Sale Associate will vary from employer to employer. Most employers prefer Sale Associates with some prior sales experience. Many high school and college students work as Sale Associates to gain experience and enhance their resumes. The Sale Associate position is typically an entry-level role.

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Frequently asked questions about Sale Associates


What is the difference between a Sale Associate and a Salesperson?

Sale Associates are usually store employees who watch over the sales floor and assist customers with their retail needs. They make themselves available to customers who enter the stores instead of actively tracking down potential customers. Salespeople actively pursue leads and focus on generating as many sales as possible. Sale Associates are generally paid hourly, while Salespeople earn commission income based on the value of the items and services they sell. 

Salespeople perform market research and make sales based on relationships, while Sale Associates wait for customers to come to them. The primary difference between these two roles is that Salespeople oversee the entire sales process while Sale Associates mostly facilitate an interaction between a customer and a business.


What are the daily duties of a Sale Associate?

Sale Associates begin their shift by turning on signs, lighting up displays and making sure the store looks clean and tidy. They fill the register with bills to make change and make sure that the POS system and card readers are all ready for use. When the store opens, Sale Associates tidy up or restock inventory until customers arrive. They ask the customer if they need any help, responding to questions and suggesting different solutions to common consumer problems. While customers browse, they keep an eye on the merchandise to prevent theft. 

During checkout, Sale Associates make add-on sales and scan the customer’s items, carefully packaging and bagging them. They confirm the authenticity of checks and bills to limit the impact of fraud on the business. They help process returns and handle payment issues, reporting issues to management as they occur.


What are the characteristics of a good Sale Associate?

Good Sale Associates are friendly, positive and welcoming people who enjoy working in a customer service role. They are passionate about the products they sell and enjoy discussing them with customers to highlight the benefits of making a purchase. Successful Sale Associates stay calm under pressure and use conflict resolution skills to help frustrated customers calm down and cooperate with company policy in the event of a complaint. Good Sale Associates have excellent attention to detail which they use to make correct change, ring up items properly and notice missing inventory on the shelves.


Who does a Sale Associate report to?

Sale Associates report directly to Store Managers and Assistant Store Managers to resolve problems with customers and report activities within the store. They communicate with Store Managers about their schedules to arrange overtime during busy retail seasons. Sale Associates accept instruction from Store Managers about store policies, when to apply discounts and how to increase the amount of their average sales transaction.

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