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Retail Assistant Job Profile

July 13, 2024 - July 13, 2024   

Find out the typical duties, requirements and opportunities of a retail assistant… 


Job Description

As a sales assistant, you are responsible for producing excellent customer service. This involves everything from selling goods, handling payments to dealing with customers and making sure that the goods are attractively displayed. Your job role is to help customers find the products they want. You will be able to offer advice and answer questions, not just about the store’s products and prices but also issues like stock availability or any special promotions that may be running. At times assistants may also arrange ordering and delivery. Your responsibilities usually depend on what product is being sold and how large a store is. The hours are most likely to be flexible if full time, where as part time work may include a shift pattern. You should be aware that sales assistants may be required to lift and carry items of stock, and will spend long periods standing on their feet. Some stores may have a uniform policy which must be adhered to.

Typical Duties 

Job Requirements

To be a sales assistant, it is essential that you have a passion for retail, as this is sometimes more important than pieces of paper with grades. There are no minimum academic qualifications required, but it is more likely this job will be given to those with at least a general education. Previous experience of working with the public shows you are capable, as does specialist knowledge when applying for a specialist store E.g. A sports store will show more interest in the applicant if they are involved in a sport. You will almost certainly have in store training for this position.


Some companies offer relevant NVQs/SVQs to employees, and others provide specialist training when working with certain products. 16-24 yr olds may be able to apply for Foundation courses or Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs).

Relevant qualifications for retailing include:

GNVQ/GSVQ in Retail and Distributive Services 

NVQ/SVQ Retail Operations at levels 2, 3 and 4 

NVQ/SVQ Sales Delivery at Level 2 

NVQ/SVQ at Visual Merchandising Level 2

NVQ/SVQ Distributive Operations Level 1.

There are high promotional prospects in retailing, particularly in larger companies, so if you are determined to one day become a retail manager, there is a great chance you can work your way to the top. The pay for sales assistants is not great, and is usually average or just above the average national minimum wage. Some retailers offer employees discounts on goods, commission and in store incentives.

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