A sales girl is most commonly found working in a shop or large department store. More often referred to as sales advisers, sales representatives or salespeople, they are responsible for advising customers on products and services, ensuring product displays are neat and tidy, and serving customers at the cash till. Salespeople are often required to work evenings and weekends, particularly during peak periods.
No formal educational requirements are needed to become a salesperson, but employers generally prefer those with GCSEs or A level qualifications. Many new employees receive on-the-job training, which includes learning about company policies and procedures, security risks, such as theft, customer service skills and sales techniques. Training programs vary from a few days to several weeks, depending on the size of the company.
A salesperson should be a good communicator with the ability to get along well with people from a wide range of backgrounds. The role at times involves dealing with customer complaints face to face, so tact, diplomacy and the ability to work well under pressure are beneficial. Desirable characteristics include a neat personal appearance, an interest in sales and a courteous manner.
A salesperson's responsibilities vary between stores, locations and industry. Some salespeople report to store managers and supervisors and are involved with all areas of running the store. Typical day-to-day duties include assisting customers in finding products they require, offering advice and giving product demonstrations, conducting transactions at the cash till and replenishing stock within the store.
The salary range of a salesperson varies depending on location, type of store and level of responsibility given. The average salary for retail salespeople working in larger stores in 2013 ranged from £11,000 to £20,000, according to the UK's National Careers Service. Senior sales advisers and top sellers can earn significantly more with commission. Shop assistants in smaller stores may only earn the national minimum wage.
Opportunities for advancement exist for experienced workers and those with a degree who may enter trainee management programs in some stores. Many opportunities exist for part-time and temporary workers during busy peak retail periods, such as Christmas.