Sales, the heart of the industry...
"If you are a good listener, love interacting with different people and can communicate information effectively, then a career in sales may suit you."
A career in retail sales includes positions like sales assistant, cashier, sales representative, team leader and stock receiver. These frontline positions are focused on retail's core business, serving the customer and generating sales. While these positions are usually seen as entry points into retail careers, some employees choose to spend their professional lives here, particularly those in high-end commission-based sales areas.
Sales assistants are often required to work flexible hours, including late nights and weekends. Most sales assistants spend long hours standing up and the job may involve lifting and carrying. However the shopfloor is considered a vibrant and exciting place to work with the opportunity to interact with customers on a daily basis. Passion for working with all types of people, flexibility, levelheadedness, problem-solving, and teamwork are important for working in this area.
Wholesale sales representatives sell goods to retail outlets and other business customers. They visit their clients to demonstrate products, show samples and take orders.
They generally take responsibility for clients within a single geographical area or "territory" or for a group of clients within one group of businesses such as a number of outlets of a single company. The specific tasks performed by a sales assistant will vary according to the retailer they work for. Common tasks performed by sales assistants include:
- Assisting customers to locate merchandise and advising them on the price, use, and care of merchandise
- Developing detailed knowledge of products and services offered by the store
- Advising customers on the features and benefits of products to assist them to make a purchase
- Assisting customers with returns of faulty or unwanted goods
- Operating cash registers or point of sale terminals to accept payment
- Wrapping and packaging goods for customers
- Arranging delivery, installation, service or repair of items
- Accepting deliveries and pricing stock
- Maintaining merchandise displays and the general neatness and appearance of the store
- Participating in stock takes and re-ordering and replenishing stock.
Many sales representatives are required to undertake extensive travel as part of their job, which may include visits to country and interstate locations. Sales representatives may perform the following tasks:
- Making appointments and arranging a schedule of visits to buyers and/or stores
- Work with sales and marketing personnel to develop a plan to promote products
- Develop and update their knowledge of their own and competing products
- Quote and negotiate prices and credit terms
- Prepare contracts
- Record and process orders
- Provide sales reports and feedback on marketing of products to employer
- Carry out formal and informal product presentations
- Organise product displays and promotional material
- Attend promotional markets and trade fairs
- Be involved in telemarketing
- Meet sales targets and budgets
- Use e-business technology.