What Does a Retail Sales Representative Do?

A retail sales representative actively engages customers attempting to match their needs to the products offered the company. In most cases, in a physical store, the sales rep initiates and completes sales transactions. Customers may require product explanations, demonstrations of how various features work, and handling of returns and exchanges. Other responsibilities, such as merchandising, stocking, and inventory counting, may be added to a retail sales representative’s routine.

Working as a retail sales representative primarily entails assisting walk-in customers interested in purchasing merchandise from a store. Some sales reps spend the majority of their days on the sales floor, answering questions and recommending products. If the representative is paid on commission, he may be responsible for closing and processing the sale at a cash register. Other types of sales agents may specialize in returning and exchanging merchandise.

A retail sales representative may be able to assist customers who are dissatisfied with a purchase, depending on the nature of his job. He may examine the customer’s proof of purchase as well as the returned item to ensure that it can be resold or salvaged for credit the store. A sales representative may suggest a better alternative or simply give the customer a refund. He’ll probably inquire as to why the customer decided to return the item and, if necessary, make product improvement suggestions to a supervisor.

Stocking and merchandising are important aspects of a retail sales representative’s job in both mass and specialty retail stores. These responsibilities include ensuring that there is enough product on the sales floor. Restocking takes place during business hours and before the store opens or closes for the day. Merchandising entails arranging a variety of products in an aesthetically pleasing manner in order to generate the highest possible sales volume.

Inventory counting is a task that many retail salespeople perform on a regular basis. The purpose of these counts is to compare actual inventory on hand to the store’s records. Counting each product and recording the amount currently on the sales floor and in the store’s stockrooms is part of the job. Each product is usually assigned a unique universal product code (UPC) or stock keeping unit (SKU) number.

Retail sales representatives may be required to assist in the opening and closing of the store on a regular basis. Counting cash drawers, preparing nightly cash deposits, and removing stray merchandise from the sales floor are some of the common duties involved in these tasks. Setting up and dismantling promotional merchandise displays in accordance with national promotion schedules may also be part of the salesperson’s regular duties.