Summary Report for:
41-2031.00 - Retail Salespersons
Sell merchandise, such as furniture, motor vehicles, appliances, or apparel to consumers.
Sample of reported job titles: Bridal Consultant, Clerk, Customer Assistant, Design Consultant, Sales Associate, Sales Clerk, Sales Consultant, Sales Person, Sales Representative, Salesman
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
- Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
- Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
- Compute sales prices, total purchases, and receive and process cash or credit payment.
- Answer questions regarding the store and its merchandise.
- Prepare sales slips or sales contracts.
- Maintain knowledge of current sales and promotions, policies regarding payment and exchanges, and security practices.
- Maintain records related to sales.
- Demonstrate use or operation of merchandise.
- Place special orders or call other stores to find desired items.
- Prepare merchandise for purchase or rental.
- Watch for and recognize security risks and thefts and know how to prevent or handle these situations.
- Inventory stock and requisition new stock.
- Ticket, arrange, and display merchandise to promote sales.
- Exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns.
- Clean shelves, counters, and tables.
- Help customers try on or fit merchandise.
- Sell or arrange for delivery, insurance, financing, or service contracts for merchandise.
- Estimate and quote trade-in allowances.
- Open and close cash registers, performing tasks such as counting money, separating charge slips, coupons, and vouchers, balancing cash drawers, and making deposits.
- Estimate quantity and cost of merchandise required, such as paint or floor covering.
- Bag or package purchases and wrap gifts.
- Estimate cost of repair or alteration of merchandise.
- Rent merchandise to customers.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Adjustable widemouth pliers
- Adjustable wrenches
- Bar code reader equipment — Barcode scanners
- Cash registers — Computerized cash registers
- Desktop computers
- Domestic clothing irons — Clothing irons
- Domestic sewing machines — Sewing machines
- Electronic funds transfer point of sale equipment — Electronic funds transfer EFT terminals
- Fluid regulators — Gas consoles
- Garment steamer — Clothing steamers
- Label dispensers — Price guns
- Magnetic stripe readers and encoders — Credit card processing machines; Magnetic card readers
- Personal computers
- Pocket calculator — Handheld calculators
- Point of sale payment terminal — Telecheck processing terminals
- Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale POS computer terminals
- Tape measures
- Ticket dispensing machines — Lottery machines
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks software
- Data base user interface and query software — Gift registry software
- Development environment software — Eclipse software *
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks
- Human resources software — Exact Software
- Internet browser software
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Point of sale POS software — ICVERIFY software; iQmetrix RQ4 Retail Management System; Plexis Software Plexis POS; TokenWorks Magnetic Card Reader (see all 40 examples)
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Detailed Work Activities
- Process sales or other transactions.
- Gather customer or product information to determine customer needs.
- Greet customers, patrons, or visitors.
- Maintain records of sales or other business transactions.
- Prepare sales or other contracts.
- Calculate costs of goods or services.
- Explain technical product or service information to customers.
- Answer customer questions about goods or services.
- Advise customers on the use of products or services.
- Monitor work areas to provide security.
- Reconcile records of sales or other financial transactions.
- Sell products or services.
- Recommend products or services to customers.
- Arrange delivery of goods or services.
- Estimate costs or terms of sales.
- Purchase stocks of merchandise or supplies.
- Demonstrate products to consumers.
- Clean work areas.
- Review laws or regulations to maintain professional knowledge.
- Monitor inventories of products or materials.
- Set up merchandise displays.
- Telephone — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 91% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Deal With External Customers — 86% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 47% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 43% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Standing — 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 51% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Very important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 35% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Level of Competition — 34% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 32% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Important.”
- Electronic Mail — 37% responded “Never.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|76||High school diploma or equivalent|
|11||Less than high school diploma|
Interest code: EC
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$10.29 hourly, $21,390 annual|
|Employment (2012)||4,447,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||1,955,700|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Retail Sales Workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) , Public Relations Dept., 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102-3591. Phone: (703) 821-7000.
- Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) , 30 East 29th St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Phone: (212) 684-5300.