Sales assistant

Alternative titles for this job include Shop assistant, sales person, store assistant, retail assistant, retail sales assistant

Sales assistants sell products and help customers.

Average salary (a year)

£11,000 Starter

to

£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become a Sales assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

College

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through a retailer intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could apply for permanent jobs after getting some experience from:

  • a temporary job in a store at Christmas
  • a weekend job

Volunteering and experience

Getting experience volunteering in a charity shop could lead into paid work.

Direct application

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.

More information

Career tips

It will help if you:

  • are confident about selling
  • have a positive, helpful attitude
  • can get on well with a wide range of customers

Some stores, like mobile phone or DIY shops, may expect you to have good knowledge of their products before you apply.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • You will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • serving and advising customers
  • arranging goods in displays and on shelves
  • rotating and replacing stock
  • promoting extra products
  • taking cash and card payments and making sure the till balances
  • dealing with returns
  • meeting sales targets

Working environment

You could work at a store, at a garden centre or at a garage.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and crowded.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience you could become a retail manager or departmental manager.

You could specialise in customer services or buying merchandise.

You could also set up and run your own independent shop or stall.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Farmfoods Retail Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £210.00 Weekly
  • Location: Pontefract WF8 1PE

Retail Apprentice

  • Wage : £148.00 Weekly
  • Location: Doncaster DN6 8DP

Courses In England

certificate in retail skills

  • Provider: Marson Garages (Wolstanton) Limited
  • Start date: 01 January 2019
  • Location: Newcastle under Lyme

L2 NVQ RETAIL . Apprenticeship

  • Provider: KIRKLEES COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location:

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