Counter sales workers are the men and women who sell products and services directly to the public in retail stores. However, some counter sales personnel rent products — for example in car and truck rental companies. Department stores and other large retail outlets have numerous counters staffed by retail sales workers.
Importance of the Job
Counter sales workers are highly important to retail entities because they directly generate revenue for the store. Counter salespeople explain the products and help customers find what they need. For example, they help them choose among features, styles or flavors, depending on the product. When customers are ready to buy, the counter worker handles the payment transactions. Because some counter sales jobs pay commissions, satisfying customers' needs is essential.
Counter sales also includes rearranging and stocking shelves, building displays, ordering merchandise, checking in shipments, counting money in the register and running register sales reports. Counter staff members also exchange merchandise for customers and accept returns. Additionally, counter salespeople answer customers' questions and handle their complaints. Keeping the area neat and cleaning the counter periodically are additional duties of counter sales staff.
Counter sales representatives must also be vigilant of security issues and the potential for theft. For example, counter salespeople follow store policies in making sure docks or back doors are closed before dark. They adhere to store policies for depositing large bills in a drop box during their shift.
Education and Skills
Some stores prefer to hire counter staff with a high school diploma, and most stores provide on-the-job training. Counter sales workers need a neat appearance, good communication skills and the ability to work well with people. Sales skills and persistence help them sell merchandise for the store. Honesty, reliability and punctuality are other important qualities for retail sales workers.
Average Pay and Outlook
The median income for a counter salesperson came to $10.90 per hour in 2016, including both salary and commissions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. Statistics. The pay for counter sales largely depends on the particular product. For example, workers in clothing stores averaged $11.58 per hour, while those in building material and supplies stores averaged $14.14. The top 10 percent of retail workers earned over $19.91 per hour, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $8.56.
• U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Retail Sales Workers
• Career Planner.com: Job Description and Jobs for Counter and Rental Clerk
• U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013 -- Retail Salespersons