With most retail stores closing down, retail sales associates are finding themselves in the unenviable position of looking for alternative employment. In the present market, pursuing a career as a retail sales associate, doesn't seem like a feasible option. However, on a positive the slump in the retail market will not continue indefinitely.
The retail industry in the U.S. is said to have been gravely affected by adverse market conditions; however, it is said to gather momentum, and job opportunities for retail sales associate, definitely, would be on their way to improvement.
A sales associate should be able to connect well with people. Specific education, as such, is not required in order to perform this job. However, a brief exposure to conduct sales and services is a definite add-on. Nevertheless, periodic training may be provided in order to help the associate bag the necessary skills and successively excel at work.
- Greeting the customer, attending to his needs, and building a loyal customer base are some of the duties of a sales associate. Patience is a prerequisite, and to make it to the top, you sure need it in ample measure. Why? Well, in a job that is meant 'for the people', you would have to deal with a few customers having an unpleasant disposition.
- The most successful sales associates are those who know how to portray their product. The job is to impress and not impose the product on the customer. Being a retail sales associate, you ought to know the inside out of your sell. Your job involves a fair share of talking. You are the virtual spokesperson for the product at hand.
- Working under pressure, especially when sales are expected to peak, is part of the job. The nature of the job depends on the kind of store that employs the retail sales associate. For instance, a sales associate working in the cosmetics department of a store has to assist the buyer by providing tips on the kind of cosmetics that would be most suitable.
- Besides, a sales associate job demands long working hours. It also means dedicating your weekends on the job. Approaching, and ongoing holiday seasons demand your presence, this being a peak period for most retail outlets.
- Assisting customers to find what they are looking for, requires you to be up and about, and to be efficient in this sphere, you need to be comfortable in your shoes. Besides, if your customer is looking for a garden equipment, such as a dethatching rake, you are required to stay outdoors and demonstrate its working and the technical details involved.
- In addition to assisting customers and generating sales, the job profile of a retail sales associate includes making sales checks; receiving cash, checks, debit, and credit card payments; bagging purchases and giving receipts. They may be required to open and close cash registers and may be held responsible for the contents of their register.
Advancements and Career Prospects
Advancements depend on the ability of sales associate to market products. A good sales associate can become a retail store manager if employed in a large retail store. The larger the store, the better the prospects. Some retail stores hire college graduates as management trainees. Even if a college degree is not mandatory, it opens up many new opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for retail sales associates is expected to increase by 2% in the coming years. This is because retail associates are needed to service the growing population.