How To Become A Sales Assistant In Australia?

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Students want to know how to become sales assistants in Australia.


Do you have remarkable customer service skills, enjoy interacting with people, and are interested in retail? If yes, a career as a sales assistant could be perfect for you.


Sales assistants play a vital role in a retail or wholesale environment where they greet customers, help them with their unique shopping requirements, and sell products. Their goal is to provide the best possible shopping experience to customers.


You don't need formal qualifications to work as a Sales Assistant in Australia. However, completing a qualification in customer service, retail supervision, or management through TAFE can be beneficial if you want a long-term career in the retail sector.


This guide will explain the Sales Assistant job profile, average salary, areas of specialisation, education requirements, courses, training, career growth opportunities, and the steps to enter this profession.



1. What Is A Sales Assistant?


Sales Assistants sell products to customers in stores, shops, warehouses (wholesale business), and other related establishments. They greet and assist customers, helping them buy goods and services that meet their needs.


Sales assistants have an in-depth knowledge of products in the store. They know the right place to place specific items to enable customers to find what they need.


They aim to provide a helpful and informative shopping experience and also help with ongoing supply management.



2. What Is A Retail Sales Assistant?


Retail sales assistants provide superior customer service in a retail environment. They help walk-in customers have an enjoyable purchasing and shopping experience in retail and wholesale establishments.


Retail Sales Assistants welcome customers, identify their needs, find suitable products, sell goods to customers, process orders and make payments.



3. What Does A Sales Assistant Do?


The specific activities of a sales assistant vary based on the size of the store and the type of product that they sell to their customers.


Those working in smaller shops enjoy a high level of autonomy but fewer career options. They carry out additional tasks, including cashier, window dressing, or stockroom duties.


In larger stores, they work under supervision and direction but enjoy the potential for career progression to senior roles, such as section manager.


Here is a list of the general tasks that sales assistants perform on a day-to-day basis: 


  • Understand the range of services and goods that the shop, store, or establishment offers 

  • Show and explain the establishment's services and goods to customers

  • Sell various goods such as hardware, food, clothing, office stationery, cosmetics, household appliances, and more.

  • Unbox goods from the stock room

  • Arrange items on display stands or shelves

  • Attach security tags to products

  • Stack and restock goods in the shop 

  • Display items, wrap and pack goods for customers 

  • Arrange delivery of the merchandise to customers

  • Maintain a clean and hygienic store 

  • Monitor customers to prevent damage, unsuitable behaviour, or loss

  • Operate the cash register

  • Handle customer complaints

  • Deal with incoming and outgoing goods and services

  • Operate cash registers, prepare invoices and accept different payment methods for merchandising

  • Advise customers on product price, choice, delivery, warranties, recommendations, and product usage and aftercare.

  • Encourage customers to buy and make repeated purchases in the future

  • Take special orders for out-of-stock items

  • Help in ongoing stock management such as product inventories and stocktakes 

  • Assist customers with their queries and requirements

  • Pass customer feedback or complaints to the senior management, like the store manager.



4. Retail Assistant Job Description In Australia


Retail Sales assistants' duties vary based on their employer, industry, and the types of products sold. 


Here is what you generally do as part of running the store:


  • Clean and prepare the store

  • Organise shelves, displays, and work areas 

  • Ensure sales materials and products are correctly positioned and visible to customers

  • Greet customers, answer their questions, and direct their attention to products

  • Illustrate the features, characteristics, and specifications of the items on sale

  • Provide recommendations and advice on products to customers

  • Complete sales transactions

  • Record customer details in the store's database

  • Take payment from customers via accepted payment modes and issue refunds

  • Provide an informative, engaging, and positive shopping experience

  • Replenish items when needed

  • Place special orders for goods that are out of stock

  • Implement sales strategies and promotions to generate maximum profit 

  • Coordinate and train other staff

  • Report issues concerning service, inventory, or safety to the store manager

  • Provide satisfactory resolution to customer queries 

  • Help other sales personnel in supervising inventory and executing delivery orders

  • Track sales commission

  • Provide information on product pricing and availability to retail customers with 

  • Help customers find the desired products in the store

  • Coordinate with other stores to arrange the delivery of out-of-stock items

  • Arrange for goods that need to be exchanged or repaired

  • Help with purchases, sizes, fittings, and pricing of products



5. Retail Sales Assistant Skills


Do you want to know how to be an excellent retail assistant? The following are the most desirable skills to help you succeed in this profession:


  • Outgoing 

  • Friendly

  • Like working with people from varying cultures and backgrounds

  • Presentable

  • Well-spoken

  • Patience

  • Able to achieve sales targets

  • Able to work to deadlines

  • Assess situations fast and resolve issues

  • Clear speaking and attentive listening skills

  • Good sales techniques and customer service skills

  • Knowledge of working with EFTPOS and POS and machines

  • Capable of dealing with difficult people

  • Able to stand for an extended duration and lift moderate to heavy weights

  • Product display and merchandising skills

  • Stock Management skills

  • Time management

  • Empathy

  • Clerical skills

  • Computer literacy

  • Genuine persuasiveness

  • Resilience 

  • Creative problem-solving 

  • Team player



6. Qualifications For Retail Sales Assistant In Australia


You don't need formal qualifications and training to work as a sales assistant in Australia, as many employers provide on-the-job training to their new hires.


However, completing a VET qualification in retail services can improve employability when applying for Sales Assistant jobs.


  • Complete your Year 10 education

  • Complete a Certificate II or III in Retail Services.

  • Gain work experience in the field

  • Previous work experience in customer service in retail or any other customer-facing role will boost your credentials as a retail sales professional

  • Solid product knowledge is essential.



7. Steps To Become A Sales Assistant In Australia


The following steps will guide you in becoming a sales assistant:



Step 1: Earn A High School Certificate


Start by gaining a high school certificate. This qualification shows that you can communicate in English, do basic mathematical calculations, and interact with people.



Step 2: Complete a Sales Assistant Course


Suppose you are interested in developing an exciting career in the dynamic retail sector. If so, you should complete an entry-level qualification, such as a Certificate II in Retail Services. This nationally recognised course equips you with the necessary customer service skills and merchandising experience. 


Through practical training, you learn ways to engage with customers, advise on products, create and maintain a store environment, manage customer complaints, and ensure a safe service environment.


The course is available in both On-Campus and Blended learning environments. Training institutions in Australia that offer this course are Training, TAFE NSW, My Skills, and TAFE QLD.


The transferable skills you develop when studying this course make you eligible to work in various roles in a retail environment. These include:


  • General Retail Assistant

  • Gourmet Food Sales Assistant

  • Customer Service Assistant

  • Frontline Team Member

  • Point-Of-Sale Operator

  • Checkout Worker 

  • Customer Service Professional



Step 3: Gain Sales Experience


Companies prefer aspiring sales assistants with experience in sales or customer service over inexperienced ones. 


Thus, look for opportunities, such as entry-level jobs in a local shop or store, to build your sales skills. You might work under the supervision of an experienced sales associate or a sales manager to learn how to help customers and process orders.


This training gives you the essential experience and skills and prepares you to work efficiently in this role.



Step 4: Apply For A Sales Assistant Job


Employers usually look for the following things in a Retail Sales Assistant. So, make sure you list them in your resume:


  • Highlight your qualifications and other relevant certifications before applying for sales assistant positions. Include experience performing sale assistant duties in the CV that shows your ability and personality to offer good customer service.


  • Highlight your strengths, such as being able to connect with people, being well-spoken, being well-presented, etc. Include your achievements while working in the retail sector 


Use keywords from the sales assistant job description in the resume and cover letter to demonstrate your experience and skills align with the job requirements. It will help enhance your chances of job success. Apply for jobs online on the company's career page, or walk into a store.



8. How Much Does A Sales Assistant Earn In Australia?


The average sales assistant's salary in Australia is $27.07 per hour or a weekly equivalent of $961. The average retail sales assistant's salary is AU$ 21.32 per hour or a yearly AU$ 45,676. 


In commission-based jobs, the sales assistant earns a commission based on the number and value of sales they sell. Their salary may vary based on qualifications, job experience, industry, and work location.


Average hourly earnings based on experience:


  • Entry-level (< 1-year experience): AU$20.04 

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$21.12 

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$22.73 

  • Experienced retail sales assistants (10 to 19 years of experience): AU$22.78 


Estimated Earnings based on Work Location:


  • Perth, Western Australia: $30.29 per hour

  • Chadstone Victoria: $28.68 per hour

  • Townsville, Queensland: $28.64 per hour

  • Sydney, New South Wales: $28.55 per hour

  • Gold Coast Queensland: $26.72 per hour

  • Canberra Australian Capital Territory: $25.99 per hour

  • Adelaide South Australia: $25.81 per hour

  • Brisbane Queensland: $22.40 per hour



9. Working Conditions For A Sales Assistant


Sales assistant jobs require standing for most of the day, dealing with customers, finalising sales deals, and cleaning display units. 


Sales Assistants may work beyond standard business hours, including on weekends, public holidays, and evenings to ensure coverage of the store's opening hours. 


Retail assistants generally work full-time. However, part-time work opportunities may also be available. It is a good option for those seeking a better work-life balance in this physically demanding profession.


In most retail settings, the workers use computer systems to execute sales or process payments. 



10. Where Do Sales Assistants Work?


Retail sales assistants usually work in indoor retail outlets of all types and sizes, such as large department stores, boutiques, mass merchandisers, supermarket chains, or small convenience stores and shops.


For example, Sales assistants in a clothing store advise customers on styles, colours, and sizes and suggest alternatives that match their preferences. Those working in an electronics store use their detailed technical knowledge and market developments to illustrate the technical specs of a device or equipment.


Regardless of where they work, they use their customer service and sales experience to help customers with inquiries, offer product-related advice, or process payment transactions. Moreover, they also create advertising displays and check stock levels.



11. Specialisations For Sales Assistants


The retail industry recruits large numbers of sales assistants with a high staff turnover. As per the Australian Government's Job Outlook service, it is a growing occupational, creating around 445,000 job openings over the coming five years.


The future demand will remain stable in the coming years. Moreover, the retailing sector offers a high potential for advancement for experienced workers. Sales Assistants can consider specialising in selling a particular service or product.


The most common areas of specialisation include:


  • Shelf Filler: They ensure product displays and shelves remain stocked.


  • Car Salesperson: This type of sales assistant sells used or new cars in car yards or showrooms


  • Computer Salesperson: They arrange delivery and installation of the computer hardware or software and training of customers


  • Cosmetic Consultants: They generally work for TV studios, fashion magazines, theatrical companies, and fashion retail stores. They demonstrate and advise customers on the correct use of cosmetics based on skin type, skin texture, customer age, complexion, etc. They also recommend specific make-up products and ways to apply cosmetics to improve the customer's appearance.


  • Fast Food Sales Assistant: They prepare and sell food and beverages in large or small outlets. Further, they may also wash utensils and clean tables, floors, and windows.


  • Newsagent: Retail sales agents in this category usually sell newspapers, magazines, telecommunication products, toys, and books.


  • Delicatessen Assistants: They work in supermarkets or small shops arranging products in enticing displays. They may prepare and sell food and lunches to customers.


  • Hardware Sales Assistant: They generally demonstrate and sell hardware goods to customers and explain their operation and usage. Some hardware products include timber, brushes, hand tools, nails, paint, screws, tap washers, etc.


  • Electrical Goods Sales Assistant: These sales assistants sell electrical equipment and household products. They also show products, explain their features, and compare them with products of other brands.


  • The fashion retail assistant job description: Those specialising in the fashion segment will work in department stores, retail warehouses, and fashion boutiques. They advise customers on fashion trends, appropriate styles, and colours and sell clothes and other accessories. They may also help the staff with store displays.


  • Seafood Sales Assistant: They prepare a variety of seafood and sell them in fish markets or a shop. In addition to it, they also advise customers on ways to cook and make seafood dishes.


  • Retail Manager: If you want to extend your career within retail, you can apply for more senior roles, such as a Brand Manager or Retail Store Manager. As a retail manager, you are responsible for planning and coordinating the retail operations, supervising staff, handling customer issues, and monitoring finances, budgets, and security systems.



12. Career Path For An Retail Sales Assistant


Starting as a Retail Sales Assistant, you can work your way up to an Assistant Store Manager position and become a Store Manager. 


From there, you can continue moving up into the following Head Office-led roles such as:


  • Regional Manager

  • Area Manager

  • Retail Co-ordinator


The time required to get into a managerial position depends on your determination and the available career opportunities.



13. Conclusion


Being a Sales Assistant is an exciting career if you enjoy helping people and want to make their shopping experience seamless. It is ideal for those who seek an emotionally rewarding profession and work around study or family commitments.


Another benefit of this career is that you don't need formal qualifications to work in this role. Moreover, plenty of specialisation options make the profession exciting and motivating.


The more you get skilled and experienced, the faster you will advance in your career. The above steps will help you make an impactful start as a Sales Assistant in Australia.  


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