what is a sales assistant?

As a sales assistant, you are a junior-level worker in the sales team. Hence, you support the work of other sales members by offering administrative support. You play a vital role in a store or retail outlet by welcoming customers and selling products. You aim to ensure customers have the best shopping experience by assisting them with their shopping requirements.

Sale assistants have detailed knowledge of the merchandise in a store and direct customers to the specific location on the retail floor. For instance, in a clothing store, you advise customers on the colours, styles and sizes. You suggest other items in line with the customers' tastes and preferences. A sales assistant needs knowledge of the latest technology in an electronic store. It helps you illustrate the product features and technical specifications.

Aside from assisting customers, a sales assistant helps run the store by retrieving merchandise from stock rooms, arranging shelves and attaching security tags. Sometimes, you also operate the cash register, handle customer complaints and take stock.

Sales assistants work in various retail outlets in different industries, from groceries stores and supermarkets to pharmaceuticals. You may sell products like clothes, furniture, household items, electronics and medicines. Some sales assistants work for raw materials suppliers like mining industries that supply stones to jewellery stores.

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average sales assistant salary

In Australia, a sales assistant earns a median salary of $55,000 annually. Entry-level sales assistants receive $50,000 annually, while experienced professionals take home over $60,000 yearly. Some employers pay hourly wages for entry-level sales assistants. Hence, the income depends on the shifts covered.

Some sales assistant jobs are commission-based, depending on the amount and value of sales. That means you receive a percentage of the sales or profits based on the company policy. Aside from commissions, other employers incentivise their workers with bonuses.

what factors affect the salary of a sales assistant?

Sale assistant salaries usually vary based on qualifications and work experience. While employers don't expect sales assistants to have formal education, acquiring some certifications through vocational training improves your remuneration. The courses strengthen your competitiveness in the market. Aside from using academic qualifications to negotiate higher pay, sales assistants can use job experience to improve their salary prospects. When you have a few years of experience, the hands-on skills you bring to the table increase your earning potential.

Want to know what you will earn as a sales assistant? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

sales assistant salary

types of sales assistants

Some of the areas of specialisation for sales assistants include:

  • shelf filler: as a sales assistant, you may work in retail stores as a shelf filler responsible for stocking shelves and organising product displays. You rotate the stock on shelves to ensure those with earlier use-by dates are in front and remove expired products. You also tidy up the shelves to ensure the displays are attractive.
  • car salesperson: as a car sales assistant, you assist with selling new or used cars by demonstrating how they operate and taking customers for test drives. You are likely to work in car yards and showrooms, assisting people with the paperwork involved in purchasing a car.
  • computer sales assistant: as a sales assistant, you propose the best computer software or hardware that matches your customers' needs. The role requires in-depth knowledge of computer systems since you demonstrate the functions of the hardware and organise installation after the sale.
  • fashion sale assistant: as a sales assistant, you may sell fashion items like clothes and jewellery at a fashion boutique or department store within a concession. You advise customers onstyling an outfit for a specific event tailored to their personality and fit. You also have the opportunity in this environment to upsell a full outfit to maximise your KPI performance.
smiling female looking away
smiling female looking away

working as a sales assistant

When you are a sales assistant, it is important to have good product knowledge and to be friendly and approachable to build a rapport with customers and boost sales. Here are the specific roles and work schedules of sales assistants:


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications of a sales assistant include:

  • education: when you complete Year 10, you earn a high school certificate, the basic requirement for working as a sales assistant. Alternatively, develop a career in the retail sector through certification like Certificate II in retail services to learn about merchandising and customer service.
  • work experience: employers prefer sales assistants with experience in customer service or sales. You can gain experience through volunteering and other entry-level sales jobs that build your merchandising skills.

sales assistant skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a sales assistant include:

  • clerical skills: as a sales assistant, your role involves operating the cash register, printing receipts and filing bank records. Clerical skills and computer literacy help you operate point-of-sale systems and inventory software.
  • persuasiveness: a sales assistant requires the ability to persuade a customer. Persuasiveness enables you to convince customers that a specific product solves their problems.
  • communication skills: a good sales assistant speaks clearly to customers and has great listening skills. Communication skills help you build a rapport with customers and push sales. You interact with customers from various backgrounds, and it is crucial to communicate clearly.
  • physical stamina: as a sales assistant, you are expected to work on your feet during your shift. Sometimes, you carry heavy boxes from the storerooms to display areas or climb ladders when stocking high shelves. This requires you to be physically fit.

FAQs about working as a sales assistant

Here are the most asked questions about working as a sales assistant:

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