Retail Sales Associate How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

Retail sales associates are the face of the retail store and a direct line to the customer. They are responsible for greeting customers, helping resolve minor issues or needs, building rapport, ringing up sales, and more.

These associates are responsible for keeping a clean and organized store. They stock shelves, clean up messes, return orders, direct and assist customers, and close sales. The associate can also encourage customers to join rewards programs, offer advice or recommendations, and assist with the delivery or pick-up of goods. 

Retail sales associates should have an excellent understanding of the POS systems the company uses. Additionally, they should have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and they will generally be expected to have a flexible schedule. The ability to upsell, along with a positive attitude and having great teamwork are also valuable skills.

Sample job description #1

This position includes implementing store promotions, displaying sale and informational signage, and coordinating events.


  • Ensure customers receive outstanding service & have a commitment to service excellence and customer satisfaction
  • Generate sales and merchandise product
  • Be positive and friendly at all times to your coworkers and especially to our customers
  • Execute the daily operational, day-to-day goals and priorities assigned by store management
  • Participate in the stocking of new shipments and help the team to keep the receiving and back stock area clean and organized
  • Uphold merchandising, inventory, and store cleanliness standards and procedures
  • Maintain well-stocked, well-organized department, and back-stock area
  • Be responsive to safety issues and be conscious of shoplifting activity
  • Solicit customers to open (Store) rewards membership
  • Be proactive about learning everything you can about our customers, our products, and our business
  • Assist in training and mentoring of your peers
  • Uphold Attendance policies
  • Other duties may be assigned


  • Strong product knowledge in Hardware related products, gardening, plumbing, electrical, paint, construction, tools, or other hardware-related area required
  • Education/Training: High School diploma, some college preferred
  • Prior retail experience preferred, not required
  • Knowledge of retail computer systems, MS word, and other computer systems (computer literate)
  • A commitment to service excellence and customer satisfaction
  • Solid team player with excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills, exceptional organizational ability, high attention to detail and ability to multitask
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours including evenings

Physical demands

  • Able to lift up to 40 pounds frequently
  • Able to stand for long periods of time
  • Able to move and handle boxes of merchandise and fixtures throughout the store, which entails lifting and perform all functions as set forth.

Sample job description #2

The purpose of this job is to consistently achieve individual sales goals to support the store’s sales and profit objectives, while providing superior customer service.

  • Generate sales to exceed personal sales goals
  • Promote the Music and Arts lesson program
  • Create business by networking with teachers/schools, churches, and community organizations
  • Develop customer relationships and provide compelling sales presentations based on sales training
  • Demonstrate outstanding customer service to each and every customer
  • Promote customer loyalty
  • Participate in all areas of store’s operation including merchandising, displays, and maintenance
  • Additional duties as assigned.

Minimum experience, knowledge and skills

  • 1 year of relevant work experience
  • Intermediate knowledge of musical instruments and written music
  • Must be able to read, write, speak, and comprehend English.
  • Must be able to lift and/or move up to 20 pounds
  • Must be able to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends, and some holidays


  • 2 years of relevant work experience
  • Skilled knowledge of musical instruments and written music

Special attributes

  • The ability to work as part of a team and also independently
  • Good communication and ‘people’ skills
  • A strong commitment to customer service
  • The ability to work under pressure and handle challenging situations
  • Confidence, drive and enthusiasm
  • Decision-making ability and a sense of responsibility
  • Ability to work as a team in a sales presentation to overcome customers’ objections and close additional sales
  • The ability to multitask with customers in store and on the phone

Sample job description #3

The Sales Associate is expected to engage customers to determine their needs and direct them to the appropriate merchandise while providing product knowledge and offering additional goods and services. In this role you will be expected to meet sales and productivity goals and you will work directly as a consultant to customers who want to create wedding and gift registries.

Key responsibilities

  • Engage customers in a courteous, helpful, and respectful manner, promptly and politely responds to customer inquiries and customer requests for support
  • Escort customers to appropriate merchandise
  • Explain basic features of merchandise to customers
  • Resolve customer issues and escalates issues as necessary to ensure customer satisfaction
  • Organize and straighten merchandise areas on the sales floor
  • Process customer transactions through the register as required
  • Execute activities related to store initiatives to offer customers additional products and services (e.g., special sale items, credit card applications)
  • Assist customers in creating registries, as needed
  • Execute price changes and sign changes as needed
  • Perform additional, sometimes specialized duties as required by business needs including, but not limited to, stocking, freight processing, fulfillment, and price changes, cart retrieval, and cashiering

Education, experience, and qualifications

  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • 1 year of retail experience desired
  • Effective communication and customer service skills
  • Readily adjusts schedule, tasks, and priorities when necessary to meet business needs

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a retail sales associate is $29,800 per year, often paid as an hourly rate (the equivalent of $14.33). Many roles offer sales commission or a cash bonus. While only base salaries are reflected here, commissions and bonuses may greatly increase total compensation. Additionally, salaries will vary based on experience, company size, industry, and geographic market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$29,650$40,100
Los Angeles, California$33,450$45,250
Denver, Colorado$27,900$37,700
Washington, DC$33,950$45,900
Miami, Florida$27,750$37,500
Orlando, Florida$25,800$34,600
Tampa, Florida$26,000$35,000
Atlanta, Georgia$27,100$36,700
Chicago, Illinois$31,150$42,150
Boston, Massachusetts$33,700$45,600
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$26,850$36,300
New York City, New York$35,450$48,000
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$28,900$39,100
Dallas, Texas$28,100$38,000
Houston, Texas$27,900$37,850
Seattle, Washington$32,400$43,850
National Average$25,350$34,250

Sample interview questions

  • Why do you want to be a sales associate?
  • What do you know about being a sales associate?
  • How good are you at communicating with people, especially strangers?
  • What interests you about working in our business?
  • What are your unique qualifications?
  • How quickly can you adapt and learn?
  • Can you share your experience as a sales associate in the past?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • How will your greatest strengths help you in this position at our company?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • What tools are you familiar with that can help you in the position?
  • How will your administrative skills contribute to our team?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?

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