Stock Associate Job Description
Stock associates work with inventory at retail establishments. Using instructions provided by their employers, they move items for sale to specific locations within the facility so that customers can find them easily. Stock associates also work behind the scenes maintaining an organized stockroom of items that will go out on the floor at a later time.
Stock associates primarily work in grocery stores, department stores, and general merchandise stores. Shifts vary according to the needs of the establishment. Some stock associates may work overnight hours to ensure the sales floor has adequate goods before customers arrive in the morning. Others may restock throughout the day. Employment of stock associates (categorized as “stock clerks and order fillers” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) is expected to increase 5 percent through 2024, with more than 68,900 job openings each year resulting from new jobs being created and existing jobs becoming available.
Stock Associate Duties and Responsibilities
Simply put, stores make money by selling things. Stock associates play an integral role in transactions by ensuring merchandise is available and locatable. To accomplish this objective, stock associates perform core duties such as the following:
Filling the Sales Floor
Customers become disgruntled when they aren’t able to find what they want to buy. Stock associates keep a sufficient supply of merchandise on the shelves and racks for customers to peruse and purchase. As amounts go down, stock associates refill empty areas, such as putting out more bananas when that section starts becoming bare.
Not everything a store has available can be put out on the sales floor. Stock associates
help with individual customer requests, such as searching in the backroom stock area for a dress in a certain size when one isn’t found on the rack. Similarly, stores often set up display models of appliances and other oversized items and then depend on stock associates to retrieve the actual product when someone wants to purchase.
Attending to Merchandise
Whether rehanging clothes from the fitting room that were tried on but not purchased or removing expired milk from the shelf, stock associates aim to keep the facility clean, organized, and filled with sellable items. Managers may give stock associates directions on setting up displays and put them in charge of upkeep.
As new items arrive at the store, stock associates perform actions such as unloading boxes, scanning merchandise into the system for inventory control, folding clothing, inspecting quality, and moving things to the proper area in the stockroom or onto the main floor.
Cleaning the Stockroom
When a stockroom is clean and organized, workers can move around easily and find what the customer needs quickly. Stock associates do tasks such as breaking down boxes, emptying garbage cans, and sweeping floors to maintain a neat, efficient environment.
Seasoned stock associates often take responsibility for getting new hires up to speed and supervising their work.
As they keep an eye on merchandise in the store, stock associates also look for potential shoplifters.
Stock Associate Skills
Because they bend and lift to move items and spend a great deal of time on their feet, stock associates should be physically fit and possess good stamina. They also must be able to follow directions so that merchandise gets put in the proper location. Other traits hiring managers look for in stock associates include:
- Working well with others since projects are often done in teams
- Interacting politely and professionally with customers
- Treating safety as an important issue to avoid on-the-job injuries and damage to merchandise
Stock Associate Tools of the trade
Stock associates use many different tools in their daily work. If you plan on pursuing a career as a stock associate, becoming familiar with the following can be helpful:
- Scanners/bar code readers – tech equipment that deciphers coded labels in order to display the price of an object, provide information about the content of a box or shipment, and keep inventory counts up to date
- Containers – boxes, crates and other enclosures that hold items that need to be moved, unpacked, or shipped
- Racks – frameworks on which to hang or place merchandise to keep items orderly
- Packing slips – lists of what is contained in a shipment
- Inventory – stock available within the facility
- Dollies – platforms with wheels used in transporting heavy items or multiple boxes
- Computers – to perform tasks such as entering data and monitoring inventory
Stock Associate Education and Training
Stock associates tend to hold at least a high school diploma. On-the-job training is common, though employers sometimes prefer candidates who already have experience in retail or with inventory software.
Stock Associate Salary
The median annual salary for stock associates, categorized by the BLS as “stock clerks and order fillers,” is $23,840. Stock associates in the 10th percentile earn about $18,200 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $39,700 a year. Stock associates in Washington, the District of Columbia, and Alaska make the highest median salaries in the U.S. – $32,810, $31,640, and $31,550, respectively.
Stock Associate Resources
Want to learn more about being a stock associate? You’ll gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the career after checking out the following:
National Retail Federation – Whether you’re interested in holiday buying trends or finding a scholarship to use toward furthering your career, this organization is a great place for aspiring stock associates to learn more about everything related to the retail industry.
Essentials of Inventory Management – Readers use phrases such as “a practical, concise primer” and “an excellent logistics book” to describe this overview of how companies keep track of inventory.
Walmart Inside Out: From Stockboy to Stockholder – Companies depend on employees at every level and hard workers often go on to higher roles. This book provides a personal account of someone who rose from stock associate to senior vice president during the course of his career with industry giant Walmart. One reviewer calls it “a fascinating story told by the fly on the wall.”
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