Sales Assistant

Job Description:

Sales assistants serve customers at tills and help and advise and assist them on shop floors in supermarkets and in retail stores.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • helping customers find items in the store
  • advising customers on product usage (depending on store size)
  • comparing items for customers and suggesting gift ideas (depending on type of store)
  • stocking displays and merchandising
  • completing stock takes before or after opening hours
  • scanning items for customers
  • weighing and pricing items like fruit and vegetables
  • using special tools to remove security tags
  • checking customers’ ages for restrictions on items like alcohol
  • packing and wrapping purchases
  • processing store loyalty cards, coupons and vouchers
  • taking payments and making sure the till balances at the end of the day

You’ll need to work quickly so that customers don’t have to wait too long.


You’ll need:

  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Sales Assistant, there are no specific subject requirements, but a well-rounded education and certain skills can be beneficial for this role. Sales Assistants typically work in retail and help customers with their purchases. Here are some subjects that can be helpful in preparing for a career as a Sales Assistant:

  1. Mathematics (Maths): A basic understanding of mathematics is helpful for handling transactions, calculating prices, and providing accurate change to customers.
  2. English Language: Strong communication skills, including spoken and written communication, are essential for interacting with customers, explaining product features, and providing excellent customer service.
  3. Business Studies: While not required, a GCSE in business studies can provide a foundational understanding of basic business principles and customer service concepts.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software and point-of-sale systems can be valuable, as many retail establishments use technology for sales transactions and inventory management.
  5. Art and Design (if applicable): In some retail sectors, having an understanding of art and design can be beneficial for assisting customers with fashion or design-related products.

Post School

There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need numeracy and communication skills. You’ll need to be aged 18 or over to sell alcohol and other restricted goods.

Some employers may ask for school qualifications including English and maths, or equivalent.

Experience in handling cash and serving customers would be helpful.

You could do a college course in retail, but this isn’t essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to be over 18 to sell alcohol and other restricted goods.

Working Hours and Environment:

If you’re full-time, you’ll usually work 38 to 40 hours a week including evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Part-time and shift work is often available.

You may need your own transport as many large retail stores are in out-of-town locations.

You’ll be expected to look smart and will usually be provided with a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.

Larger companies are likely to offer you more chance of promotion.