What is a Sales Clerk and What do They Do?
A sales clerk is a customer-facing member of staff responsible for assisting customers with the purchasing process. Sales clerk jobs can entail everything from answering important questions about a product, to sharing insights into store policies.
The duties of a sales clerk and the skills they possess may differ from one sales environment or industry to another, but all sales clerks are focused on removing friction from the customer’s purchasing journey.
Sales Clerk Definition
A sales clerk is responsible for assisting customers with the purchase of products. Sales clerk jobs often involve sharing knowledge with customers to ensure they know which products or services are suitable for their needs. In some cases, sales clerks will also provide product recommendations after asking a customer some questions about their requirements.
A sales clerk requires excellent communication skills to offer the best services to customers and maintain excellent customer feedback. The duties of a sales clerk can also extend to outside of the shop floor, where these professionals assist with tracking inventories, requesting supplies as needed, and organizing product displays.
Sales clerks must have the right blend of verbal communication skills and time management skills to address customer concerns and perform tasks efficiently within a fast-paced environment.
Sales Clerk Job Description
The job description of a sales clerk may vary depending on the specific needs of the retailer. Often, the most important duty will involve greeting customers, welcoming them to the store, and asking them whether they have any questions about products or services. Sales clerks need to be well-informed about the business and its offerings, to answer customer queries quickly, and assist customers with any issues they may be having.
Many sales clerks will be responsible for helping with aspects of customer service too, such as assisting customers with returns and exchanges. When they’re not assisting customers, sales clerks are helping to improve the performance of the business by setting up product displays and looking for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell customers.
Duties of a Sales Clerk
The duties and responsibilities of a sales clerk will usually take place on the shop floor. Most of these professionals spend their time walking around, offering help to customers and having conversations with people who might not yet be ready to buy. While the responsibilities of a sales clerk vary depending on the store they work in, common duties include:
- Setting up cash registers and managing inventory for sales
- Assisting with the return and exchange of products for customers
- Supervising departments and providing expert insights on certain products
- Helping customers to finalize their purchases and looking for upsell / cross-sell opportunities
- Communicating with customers to understand their needs and then suggest potential solutions to problems, or relevant products.
- Process monetary transactions and update the POS systems. This may also include completing appropriate transactional paperwork.
- Facilitate inter-departmental communication for improved customer support
Sales Clerk Salary
The potential earnings of a sales clerk will differ according to the environment the professional works in, and their level of expertise. In 2021, the national average salary for a base-level sales clerk in the United States was approximately $28,313 per year.
Even in an environment where people are beginning to shop more frequently online, sales clerks are still an important part of the retail experience. The number of sales clerk roles has continued to increase over the last few years.
What qualities make a good Sales Clerk?
Professionals with excellent communication skills, a positive attitude, and a naturally friendly disposition are often successful in sales clerk jobs. These roles don’t necessarily require a formal education. Instead, companies hire sales clerks based on their communication skills, punctuality, attention to detail, and other soft skills.
In many cases, sales clerk jobs will provide some additional training for employees when they are offered the role. This ensures the sales clerks in any environment can be fully informed about the policies, products, and services of the company they work for. On-the-job training can also include guidance on how to handle customer issues, complete transactions, and educate customers on the products offered in the store.
Some of the qualities an employer might look for on a sales clerk resume include:
- Customer service skills: Experience communicating with and serving customers
- Interpersonal skills: An ability to communicate effectively with multiple people
- Teamwork skills: The ability to work as part of a team is usually essential for sales clerks
- Math skills: Being able to perform basic addition and subtraction is important
- Dedication: Commitment to the company and a willingness to learn are positive attributes
In some cases, sales clerks will be hired on a test basis, giving them a period of time where they can demonstrate their skills before the employer decides whether to continue the employment.