In a sense, a retail salesperson is the cornerstone of many successful business operations. Whether one is talking about a major multinational corporation that runs hundreds of stores across the world, or a small local apparel store, sales are what drives a successful business, and retail salespeople are the number one source of sales.
What to Expect as a Retail Salesperson
Those who wish to work as a retail salesperson must have excellent people skills, because dealing with the public is one of their primary responsibilities. In addition to carrying out the sales process in the sense of accepting payments for products and services, the retail salesperson must also facilitate the sale in the first place by providing stellar customer service to interested shoppers. With such a position comes a great deal of responsibility, however; for instance, most retail salespeople must often work erratic schedules as required by their managers, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
Education, Training, and Certification for a Retail Salesperson
Working as a retail salesperson requires a great deal of knowledge, but for the most part, this knowledge is acquired on the job, as one learns the ropes of whatever products or services are being sold. In some cases, such as when one is selling a high end expensive item like a car or computer systems, the salesperson must undergo a period of training to gain the specialized knowledge required to deliver adequate customer service related to such products. It is often not strictly necessary to have a college degree in retail sales; however, holding such a degree in a relevant field such as business or management, may well be valuable if the employee wishes to eventually move up in the ranks of the organization to a managerial position.
Employment Options for a Retail Salesperson
The diversity of retail sales is one of the major draws of this job position. One can work in a wide variety of settings, and this is what makes the task appealing to so many. For instance, those who love to read may enjoy working in a bookstore, helping others to find texts that will inspire and move them. Those who enjoy being outdoors may love to work at a nursery, selling plants to people who appreciate natural beauty. Whatever the case, job satisfaction depends to a great extent upon how committed and devoted the employee is to the type of item being sold, and the setting in which they will work.
Employment Outlook for a Retail Salesperson
Retail salesperson is a career that is growing about as fast as the majority of jobs out there; average growth rate means that those who desire a position in this field may face a small degree of competition but are likely to be able to find something if they look hard enough. There are also jobs available in virtually every city and town across the country, meaning retail salespeople can often pick and choose where they will live.
Projected Salary for a Retail Salesperson
The projected salary for a retail sales person is quite variable. It largely depends upon the specialization required for the position in question. Those who sell specialized items such as cars and computers may expect to be in the upper range of salaries, earning as much as $18.91 an hour, while those who sell more generalized fares like in department stores, may earn as little as $9.00 an hour. Those individuals who work in higher-end establishments may have access to commissions, which enables them to earn a percentage of each sale they facilitate in addition to their base salary.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"