Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts, (called parts salespersons). Both groups help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.
Retail sales workers generally do the following:
The following are the types of retail sales workers
Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.
In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale. This involves operating cash registers.
After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.
Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.
For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.
In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.
For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, the manufacturers’ specifications, the types of options on the car and financing available, and the details of associated warranties.
In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.
Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment. Most deal with car parts, by working in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition