Retail Dogma

Retail Sales Associate: Job Description, Skills & Pay

Retail sales associate is an entry level position at brick & mortar stores, responsible for providing direct customer service to store visitors. This role usually reports to the Assistant Store Manager or Store Manager at small format stores, or to a Department Manager or a supervisor at big department stores.

Small stores usually have a team of around 4 to 6 retail sales associates, while big box stores could have 20 to 50 associates.

retail sales associates report to department managers at big department stores

Retail Sales Associate Vs. Cashier

The retail sales associate’s main role is to provide customer service on the floor, process merchandise receiving and maintain visual merchandising standards in the area he/she is responsible for. The cashier, on the other hand, is responsible for billing customers at the cash desk, packing their items, and maintaining the cash area tidy and stocked with shopping bags.

At many small format stores, retail sales associates also perform the role of cashiers as part of their job.

Retail Sales Associate Job Description

  • Greet the customers & recognize them upon entering the store
  • Provide great customer service, by helping customers find what they are looking for
  • Maintain a high level of product knowledge, and stay up to date with new product launches & store promotions
  • Process merchandise receiving and replenishment on the floor
  • Maintain visual standards as per the brand’s guidelines
  • Apply different sales techniques, such as Upselling, cross selling, and suggesting add ons, to achieve sales goals
  • Achieve the sales targets and KPIs set by the store management
  • Perform admin tasks, such as store opening, closing, banking, cycle counts or submitting maintenance requests.


The main KPI for a retail sales associate is their respective personal sales target. This target could be a daily, weekly or monthly target.

When they assist a customer on the sales floor and finalize a transaction, this transaction gets recorded on the cash till in their name, and contributes towards their own sales achievement.

They also work, together with other team members, on achieving other common store KPIs, such as:


  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Relationship Building
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Organization Skills
  • Attention to Detail
  • Flexibility & Adaptation

Education & Experience Requirement

Most companies do not require a specific education level for the retail sales associate role. They are more focused on the relevant skills and the ability to perform the job.

For most brands, no experience is needed for retail sales associate role, but some brands require 1 to 3 years of experience.

Retail Sales Associate Salary

The average salary for a Retail Sales Associate in the U.S. is $18.89 per hour. This rate varies from one city to the other, with New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago coming on top, with $21.88, $20.71 and $20.49 respectively.

Luxury retail brands pay a higher hourly rate that could range from $20 to $40 per hour.

See Also: Highest Paid Retail Jobs

Here are some examples from different retail brands.

Retail Management Courses

Retail Sales Associate Pay in the U.S. by Employer

EmployerAverage Salary (hourly)
In-N-Out Burger$18.81
Sam's Club$17.36
Whole Foods Market$16.10
DICK's Sporting Goods$15.74
Lowe's Home Improvement$15.26
Data Source: Indeed

Luxury Brands

EmployerAverage Salary (hourly)
Tiffany & Co.$25
Data Source: Glassdoor
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