Retail salesmen work in stores and other establishments where goods are sold to customers. They perform sales, customer service and merchandising functions, and may be involved in the overall operation of the store. No education beyond high school is typically required to become a retail salesman, although a pleasant personality and a desire to help customers is required. According to the most current data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage of a retail salesman was £6.40 as of May, 2008 (See References 2).
Retail salesmen often make sales presentations to customers. They may show customers a variety of products and explain the features and benefits of each, to help the customer make an informed decision about a purchase. They also inform the customer of any sales or promotions that are currently underway or happening in the near future. Once the customer makes a decision, the salesman may also process the transaction.
Retail salesmen assist customers in locating store merchandise and handling product returns. Some salesmen may customise a product to meet a customer's needs, such as in a men's clothing store, where a salesman measures a customer for a suit fitting. They may also assist customers by carrying large items, like televisions, to their cars.
When there are no customers in their department or in the store, salesmen may perform merchandising functions. This includes building product displays and rearranging products on the shelf in accordance with a predetermined layout, known as a planogram. They may also change pricing on sales and promotional items.
In some retail establishments the salesmen will be responsible for opening or closing a store. If opening a store, the salesman must arrive in advance of the opening time to ensure that the store is ready for the day's customers. When closing, duties may include reconciling cash registers and taking the day's cash receipts to the bank for deposit.
Some salesmen may also have the responsibility of managing a department in addition to their sales duties. This can involve ordering merchandise, making work schedules and supervising the activities of other salesmen. Department managers are usually held accountable for the profitability of their departments in addition to making sales.
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