Sales assistants sell goods to customers in retail and wholesale establishments.
You can work as a sales assistant without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a sales assistant through a traineeship in Retail Services, Retail Operations or Automotive Sales. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Sales assistants may perform the following tasks:
Some sales assistants work on a commission basis, which means that they are paid for each product, or number of products, that they sell. Sales assistants are on their feet most of the day attending to customers, finalising sales and tidying display units. They may work long hours and be required to work at night and on weekends. Managers establish a roster to determine work hours for staff. In most workplaces you will need to use computer systems for sales or payment processing.
The retail industry employs large numbers with a high staff turnover. There is potential for advancement in retailing for those showing initiative, enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
A car salesperson sells new or used cars in showrooms or car yards. They may demonstrate to customers how a car operates and take customers for short test-drives. They may arrange vehicle trade-ins, prepare paperwork for sales and arrange finance and insurance. They should know the special features of vehicles they are selling and be able to compare various makes of cars. Car salespeople generally start as cadets, or junior salespeople, and need to have a suitable drivers licence.
A computer salesperson propose computer hardware or software systems to meet the current and future needs of the customer. This may include organising demonstrations. When a sale has been made, computer salespeople arrange delivery and may organise installation of the unit and training of operators.
A cosmetic consultant advises on, and demonstrates, the correct use of cosmetics. They classify skin types (normal, dry or oily), taking into account a customer's age, facial structure and colouring. They recommend particular products including medicated make-up and methods of applying cosmetics to enhance the customer's appearance. Cosmetic consultants with strong creative abilities may work for theatrical companies, TV studios or fashion magazines.
A delicatessen assistant sells foods such as sausages, smoked meats, salads, cheese, fish, olives and other specialist lines. They arrange products in attractive displays and may make and sell lunches. Delicatessen assistants may work in small shops or large supermarkets with delicatessen sections.
An electrical goods sales assistant sells household products and electrical equipment such as fans, heaters, food mixers, sewing machines, radios, televisions, sound systems and video recorders. They must have sound knowledge of the products they sell. They advise customers about features such as controls, wattage and power, as well as demonstrate and compare products.
A fashion sales assistant sells clothes and other fashion items in department stores, fashion boutiques and retail warehouses. They may advise customers about fashion trends, suitable styles and colours and assist with store displays.
A fast food sales assistant works in large or small outlets preparing and selling food, drinks and other products. They may prepare food for cooking, chop, cut or slice fillings, and prepare salads. In fast food chain stores, sales assistants may work at the counter or in the kitchen. Where dining areas are provided, they may also clear tables, wash utensils and clean floors and windows.
A hardware sales assistant works in retail businesses that supply and sell a range of hardware goods such as lengths of timber, paint, brushes, hand tools, screws, nails, tap washers and other general house maintenance requirements. They may have to demonstrate tools and explain how products work.
A newsagent owns and runs a store selling newspapers, magazines and other items such as greeting cards, stationery, books, toys and confectionery. They may also sell lottery tickets, telecommunication products, coupons and Australia Post products.
A retail manager plans and coordinates the operations of retail outlets. They manage staff, respond to customer complaints, control the level, price and presentation of stock, monitor finances and budgets and oversee security systems.
A seafood sales assistant cleans and prepares fish and other seafood for sale in a shop or fish market. They serve customers and provide advice about the available seafood and on ways to cook and prepare it.
A shelf filler (night) works in retail stores and is responsible for ensuring that shelves and product displays remain stocked. Shelf fillers rotate stock on the shelves, ensuring that products with earlier use-by dates are at the front and removing those that have passed this date. Many shelf fillers work after hours, tidying the store and ensuring that shelves are fully stocked for when the store reopens in the morning.