How to Become a Sales Assistant

How to Become a Sales Assistant

Sales assistance as a profession is growing wide acceptability globally, and if you enjoy conversing with people and possess stamina, this is the right profession for you.

There are a lot of places where you can work. A sales assistant can work in various settings, including supermarkets and retail outlets, and there is a huge demand in this fast-moving environment.  The salary structure is pretty good, and can earn big in the coming days.

What do they do

If you have some formal qualifications, it will be good for you, but most employers will look out for your ability to work with people and your positive attitude.  You have to handle cash and check the stock often, so a good sense of math is required.

The ability to work in a team is essential, and you must be polite, friendly, and helpful to be a good sales assistant. You need to be reliable, responsible, and honest in your profession.

Some major duties of a salesman are-

  • Approaching customers to specify their needs.
  • Answering to all queries and using product information to make recommendations on what to buy.
  • Processing payments to make the sale complete.
  • Receiving all deliveries, restocking sales areas, and helping with in-store displays.
  • Checking all the cash at the end of the day.
  • Keeping all sales areas properly clean and tidy.
  • Hitting the sales targets (if any) set by the business, personally and as a team.

Working environment

It’s a full-time job, so you have to work between 35 and 40 hours a week usually, possibly including weekends and evenings. Part-time work is often available, and your work may shift.

You have to spend a lot of time on your feet and may need to lift and carry items of stock to physically fit. You would often wear a uniform.

What does it take to become a sales assistant?

  • If you want to join this job, good customer care skills are essential. It will be helpful if you already have little experience dealing with people. Good literacy and numeracy skills are essential for this kind of job.
  • At busy times such as Christmas, many retail stores employ staff on a temporary basis, and that can be a good chance to get experience which can often lead to a permanent job.
  • You also may start your career through an Apprenticeship scheme. You need to check which schemes are running in your local area.
  • Despite these, you need excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills. All sales assistants, regardless of what industry they are working in, should have these things in common.

If you want to become a sales assistant, you need some skills, interests, and qualities. They are

  • A good communicator
  • Ability to deal well with people
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Enthusiastic or energetic by nature
  • Friendly, polite, and helpful
  • Confident and tactful
  • Reliable and responsible
  • Honest by heart
  • Excellent sale skills and the ability to give a little push to buyers in the time of purchase.
  • Disciplined and organized by nature

Career progression


Full-time salaries can be between £ 11,000 and £ 15,000 a year. Supervisors may earn more. Many other large companies also provide benefits like staff discounts and extra pay. Extra income (which is known as commission) depends on how much you sell and bonus schemes.

Training and Development

Most of the training you will get before joining.  Some big retail houses have structured in-house training schemes, which you may follow to develop your career.

You may get the chance to gain qualifications such as awards, certificates, and diplomas in retail skills at levels 1, 2, and 3. You can also choose some specialization courses by taking options, depending on your job. Options are;

  • Fashion Retail
  • Sales Professional
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Retail Management

You may also choose other training related to your job, like food hygiene training, if you want to work with fresh foods.

If you want to go far with this profession, you could take a higher level qualification like a foundation degree in retail.  These normally extend the areas such as retail operations, marketing, consumer law and management.

Training is available at colleges through work and with National Skills Academy for Retail training centres.

 Career Opportunities

You get the advertisements in local news papers, Jobcentre Plus, on employers own websites and in stores.

Promotions aspects can be good, especially in larger companies that offer staff training. With experience, you could progress into management or merchandising.

You may apply here for job vacancies and further reading

  • In Retail
  • Retail Careers
  • Retail Moves
  • Retail Week
  • Talking Retail

Job Market Information

This section will be helpful if you are looking for a job in this profession or want to do some further training. This information gives you an overview of the job area.

The ‘Market statistics’ charts are build on figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the other Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Final step

No formal education or qualifications are required to become a great sales assistant. However achieving a specific qualification related to the industry or ability to deal with customers would be an added advantage in the long run.