Sales Associate Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Sales Associate, or Retail Sales Associate, is responsible for assisting customers throughout the buying process. Their duties include greeting customers when they enter the store, helping customers find specific products or showing them how to use them and ringing up customer purchases on the POS register.

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Sales Associate duties and responsibilities 

The primary duty of a Sales Associate is to promote a company’s products or services through excellent customer service. They welcome customers, guide them through the products, answer questions and make sure guests have a pleasant experience. Some common responsibilities of a Sales Associate include the following: 

  • Welcoming customers into the store
  • Staying knowledgeable about our range of beauty and skin products
  • Explaining to customers the best products for their needs
  • Recommending related products to increase customers’ options and enrich the shopping experience 
  • Explaining the benefits and functions of products, method of preparation and how to use them to achieve the best results
  • Accepting and processing orders, operate the POS register and resolve returns issues
  • Promoting special sales, offers and awareness of store loyalty program

Sales Associate Job Description Examples


Example 1

*Sales Associate - Bentonville AR* We're seeking Sales Associates for our Bentonville, Arkansas store location. This job involves sales, customer service and humans. Or Homo Sapiens and stuff if you prefer to be technical. The technical part of that sentence was the word &;stuff.&; Moosejaw Sales Associates have an enthusiastic, fun and positive attitude while assisting customers with sales and product information. A good sense of humor, creative mindset and passion for customer service are needed. Like an I-love-you-so-much-we-should-synchronize-our-birthdays passion for customer service. Plus outdoor gear knowledge is a plus. *Summary*: An individual in this position will be expected to perform additional job related responsibilities and duties as assigned and/or necessary. *Essential Functions* An individual must be able to successfully perform the essential functions of this position with or without a reasonable accommodation. * Maintains area of responsibility in accordance with company policies and procedures by properly handling claims and returns, arranging and organizing merchandise/supplies, identifying shrink and damages, and ensuring a safe work environment. * Maintains merchandise presentation by stocking and rotating merchandise, removing damaged or out-of-date goods, setting up, cleaning, and organizing product displays, signing and pricing merchandise appropriately, and securing fragile and high-shrink merchandise. * Provides customer service by acknowledging the customer, identifying customer needs, assisting with purchasing decisions, locating merchandise, resolving customer issues and concerns, promoting products and services, maintaining a safe shopping environment, and appropriately representing and supporting the company's mission. * Receives and stocks merchandise/supplies, maintains facility by following company procedures, utilizing equipment appropriately, merchandising, and completing and retaining required paperwork, logs, and other documentation. *Competencies* An individual must be proficient in each of the competencies listed below to successfully perform the responsibilities of this position. Sorry to be so boring about it. * Adaptability: Adapts to changing work demands. Stays focused on own work when faced with change or difficulties. Stays open to and learns from feedback. * Judgment: Uses policies, procedures, and/or guides to make good choices. Recognizes what might be a problem and informs those who can correct it. * Customer Centered: Shows care and concern when serving our associates and customers. Asks questions in order to understand associate and customer needs. Uses policies and information in order to exceed associate and customer expectations. Finds and uses the right resources (people, products, tools) at the right time in order to resolve associate and customer requests. * Stocking/Receiving: Follows proper procedures to prevent theft and loss when stocking, receiving, maintaining, and securing goods. Receives, stages, and delivers goods to appropriate areas throughout the facility in a timely manner. Reports complaints and problems with products, services, and conditions in the area. Uses supplies and equipment in safe and correct ways. * Influence and Communicate: Share Information - Listens to others and asks questions to learn about what is needed. Communicates the right information to associates and leaders when they need it. Communicates in a respectful and professional manner. * Ethics and Compliance: Perform to Ethical Standards - Follows company policies and procedures. Shows integrity and ethical behavior in all work situations. Reports ethical and compliance issues promptly. *Physical Activities* The following physical activities are necessary to perform one or more essential functions of this position. * Moves up and down a ladder. * Grasps, turns, and manipulates objects of varying size and weight, requiring fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. * Visually verifies information, often in small print. * Visually locates merchandise and other objects. * Reaches overhead and below the knees, including bending, twisting, pulling, and stooping. * Moves, lifts, carries, and places merchandise and supplies weighing up to 25 pounds without assistance. *Work Environment* Working in the following environment is necessary to perform one or more of the essential functions of this position. * Works varying shifts as required. * Works overnight as required. Job Type: Full-time

Example 2

Zoom Tan is America's fastest growing tanning salon chain, is looking for experienced sales people that are motivated and outgoing with a proven track record in retail sales! Zoom Tan is America's fastest growing tanning salon chain. We offer incentive based [website] more you sell. . .The more you earn!! We will pay you a commission bonus on every item you sell when you meet the minimum requirements. Successful team members know how to build a relationship by engaging the client and uncovering which products and services best fit their needs. Unlimited Income Opportunity! We compensate our salon associates with an hourly wage, plus commission bonuses on the services and products that you sell. You have the ability to determine your own total hourly wage! We offer a full health benefit package (health, dental, and vision) to all associates that work a minimum of 30 hours each week. We prefer to promote from within our own company, so there is plenty of advancement opportunities for the right candidate! If you are highly competitive and assertive and can close the sale then this is a great opportunity for you! This is a sales position and our associates are required to meet our minimum sales standards to qualify for the commission bonuses. *Responsibilities/Duties: * * Greet clients in a friendly and enthusiastic manner. * Effectively communicate the positive benefits of Zoom Tan indoor tanning. * Effectively describe and sell all of the Zoom Tan memberships as well as the benefits of using lotions and other products carried by Zoom Tan as they relate to the tanning process and skin conditioning. * Achieve and exceed minimum sales goals consistently by closing the sale. * Be knowledgeable of promotions and value-add items to increase sales. * Understand all laws pertaining to the indoor tanning industry in your state. * Instruct each client regarding the use and benefits of the salon equipment. * Arrive on time and be prepared to serve clients for your stated shift hours. * Comply with the current Employee Image Guide standards for every shift. * Diligently maintain merchandising guidelines and inventory control practices. * Utilize written and oral communication skills to relay instructions to clients, as well as to provide coworkers and management with information concerning salon operations. * Maintain the highest standard of salon cleanliness through routine cleaning schedules and personally identifying and reporting any specific needs. * Follow all company policies and procedures. * Attend all assigned meetings. * Other duties as assigned. The above duties are considered Essential Job Functions *Specific Knowledge/Skills: * * Ability to work independently and be self-motivated. * Be competitive with a strong work ethic in a performance-based sales environment. * Be able to work a flexible schedule including nights and weekends. * Quality orientation and high attention to detail. * Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. * Ability to work with a high-performance team. * Critical thinking, problem analysis and resolution skills. Desired: * * Must have retail sales experience. * Must have customer service experience in a customer facing sales environment. * Computer proficiency. Job Type: Part-time

What does a Sales Associate do?

Sales Associates typically work for retail stores across a range of specialties, including clothing and accessories, technology, beauty, home decor or media and entertainment. They work closely with other Sales Associates to ensure that customers have a positive experience with their business. Their job is to assist customers in finding gifts and other items within their price range while also maintaining the sales goals of their employer. They may also be responsible for purchasing or wearing items sold in their store to be able to describe them to customers in an effective manner.

Sales Associate skills and qualifications

A successful Sales Associate candidate should have various prerequisite skills and qualifications needed for their duties in the store. They have to be strong in their customer service, sales and knowledge of the store’s products and services. Depending on the business, the ideal applicant may need a college degree, but most Sales Associate positions only require a high school diploma. Some common Sales Associate qualifications include the following:

  • High school diploma  or GED
  • In-depth knowledge of beauty and skin products 
  • Excellent sales and communication skills 
  • Working knowledge of POS payment systems 
  • Valid Class-A driver’s license

Sales Associate Salary Expectations 

A Sales Associate makes an average of $11.30 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location. 

Sales Associate education and training requirements

Most Sales Associates need a GED certificate or high school diploma to get hired, but some positions may require a college degree. Candidates with work experience are ideal, but expect to provide extensive on-the-job training. This will allow them to have an in-depth understanding of your products or services, company policies and operational procedures. If the role requires special handling, be sure to provide proper training or list it as a requirement in the job description. 

Sales Associates require no certifications or licenses except in a few specialized roles. A great candidate will be an excellent communicator and have exceptional customer service and interpersonal skills. They will also have outstanding sales knowledge, manage their time well and deal with customers professionally.

Sales Associate experience requirements 

An experienced Sales Associate should be comfortable interacting with customers and spending long periods walking around the store to answer questions about products or services. They will also understand how to operate point of sale systems and have a working knowledge of bookkeeping to balance registers after their shift. A good candidate is knowledgeable about inventory management and has enough experience to promote your business with confidence. 

Job description samples for similar positions

If you’re looking for candidates for similar roles to the Sales Associate, see our job description templates for related positions:

Frequently asked questions about Sales Associates


What is the difference between a Sales Associate and a Cashier?

Both Sales Associates and Cashiers work at retail stores to provide assistance to customers, but they do so in different ways. For example, Sales Associates have a less stationary role than Cashiers because they have the responsibility to engage with customers, redesign displays and show customers how to use or style their products. Sales Associates may also help ring up customers in the absence of a Cashier role. 

In contrast, Cashiers situate themselves behind the counter in a retail store. Their job is solely to help customers check out and process customer payments. They also count the drawer at the beginning and end of their shifts and process returns. Further, Sales Associates may receive commissions for the sales they make, whereas Cashiers typically receive hourly pay.


What are the daily duties of a Sales Associate?

On a typical day, a Sales Associate starts by restocking displays and ensuring the store’s cleanliness. Throughout their shift, they greet customers, answer their questions and provide demonstrations about how to use a particular product. During downtime, they clean surfaces, restock shelves, take inventory and rework displays. Those working in small shops receive product shipments and work with other staff to unpack and store new products. After closing, Sales Associates walk around the store restocking items and performing cleaning tasks.


What qualities make a good Sales Associate?

A good Sales Associate is someone who has a personable nature. This quality allows them to connect with customers and make them feel comfortable. They enjoy working as part of a team and assist their team members in miscellaneous tasks. Further, a good Sales Associate has a commitment to learning about the products they sell so they can provide customers with accurate, persuasive information. A good Sales Associate also has good social queues and adjusts their communication techniques to enhance their customers’ experiences in their store.


Who does a Sales Associate report to?

Sales Associates typically report directly to the Senior Sales Associate to ask questions and receive tasks during their shift. In lieu of a Senior Sales Associate, they report to the Sales Manager or Assistant Store Manager. For Sales Associates working at small businesses, they may report directly to the Business Owner.

Job Description Examples

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021