How to become a Sales Assistant

Sales assistants sell goods to customers in retail and wholesale establishments.

Personal requirements for a Sales Assistant

  • Enjoy working with people
  • A helpful, courteous manner
  • Neat personal appearance
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to deal accurately with money
  • Motivation and drive
  • No skin disorders if working with food
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Willing to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Sales Assistant

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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Sales Assistant

Sales assistants:

  • Advise customers on the location, selection, price, delivery, use and care of goods available from the store, with the aim of encouraging them to buy and to return to buy in the future
  • Operate cash registers and accept payment, or prepare finance arrangements (invoices and contracts, for example)
  • Take special orders for items not currently in stock, or not normally stocked, and notify customers when the items have arrived
  • Package goods for customers and arrange delivery
  • Price, stack and display items for sale and keep the store tidy and attractive
  • Be aware of health, safety and welfare issues and practices
  • Participate in stocktaking (counting and describing the goods in stock)
  • Arrange for the repair of damaged goods or advise on necessary repairs
  • Order items.


  • Determining customer requirements and advising on product range, price, delivery, warranties and product use and care
  • Assisting with the ongoing management of stock such as product inventories and participating in stocktakes
  • Accepting payment for goods and services by a variety of payment methods and preparing sales invoices
  • Demonstrating and explaining to customers the establishment's goods and services
  • Selling food, beverages, clothing, footwear and other personal and household goods and services
  • Stacking and displaying goods for sale, and wrapping and packing goods sold

Working conditions for a Sales Assistant

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.

Employment Opportunities for a Sales Assistant

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 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.

Shelf Filler (Night)

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.

Car Salesperson

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.

Computer Salesperson

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.

Cosmetic Consultant

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.

Delicatessen Assistant

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.

Electrical Goods Sales Assistant

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.

Fashion Sales Assistant

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.

Fast Food Sales Assistant

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.

Hardware Sales Assistant

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.

Seafood Sales Assistant

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.

Retail Manager

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.

Sales Assistant

Sales assistants sell goods to customers in retail and wholesale establishments.

  • Average age
    Average age
    26 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    68% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Entry level
  • Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    28% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    517,800 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.5%
    NSW: 30.8%
    NT: 0.7%
    QLD: 20.2%
    SA: 7.2%
    TAS: 2.4%
    VIC: 27.2%
    WA: 10.0%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 25.7%
    20-24: 20.3%
    25-34: 16%
    35-44: 11.7%
    45-54: 13.4%
    55-59: 5.9%
    60-64: 4.1%
    65 and Over: 2.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 7.3%
    Bachelor degree: 9.1%
    Below Year 10: 6%
    Certificate III/IV: 11.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 2.3%
    Year 10 and below: 22.3%
    Year 11: 10.8%
    Year 12: 36.7%
    Years 11 & 10: 26.6%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation