The role of the sales floor associate often comes with a different job title, such as sales clerk, floor staff member, retail salesperson, shop floor assistant or sales support associate. Although many floor associate positions don't require any particular education, a high school diploma is an asset for jobs selling technical products. The main responsibilities of floor associates are helping customers and producing sales; other duties vary according to the employer and product.
Employers and Work Environment
The many industries that employ sales floor associates include clothing and accessory shops, department stores, general merchandise stores, building and garden supply stores, auto and parts dealers, and specialty stores such as music shops.
Most sales associates work indoors in comfortable surroundings, although those who sell products such as lumber sometimes work outside. Associates typically stand for many hours, and they may need a supervisor's permission to go on breaks.
Skills and Major Duties
Customer-service and interpersonal skills, sales ability and persistence are essential for sales floor associates.
Employers expect sales workers to maximize sales while carrying out their duties in a professional and courteous manner. Associates typically greet customers, ask what they want, answer questions and recommend merchandise. Employers may also require floor workers to explain payment methods, receive payments and process returns.
Sales workers also attend training sessions and study information from manufacturers to keep up on store policies and product features.
Depending on the particular store, associates may organize coupons, open and close cash registers, and keep the sales area tidy. They restock shelves, take inventory and put on price tags. Watching out for security and following store procedures in the event of theft are also part of the job.
Hours and Pay
Approximately one-third of floor associates are part-timers, and many work evening and weekends, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During major sales, such from November to January, associates typically must restrict their use of vacation time.
The average pay for retail salespersons was $12.20 per hour in 2013, or $25,370 annually full-time, according to the BLS.
The BLS predicts a 10 percent increase in retail floor positions between 2012 and 2022, compared to 11 percent for all jobs.
With experience, sales floor associates may advance to supervisory positions such as shift manager. Note that most supervisors have at least a high school diploma or some college education.
2016 Salary Information for Retail Sales Workers
Retail sales workers earned a median annual salary of $23,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, retail sales workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $30,020, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 4,854,400 people were employed in the U.S. as retail sales workers.