Shop Assistant Job Description

Shop assistants perform tasks necessary in the operation of a brick-and-mortar retail environment. One thing about this job is no two days are ever exactly the same. They interact with new customers each day and spend their time switching between customer service, visual merchandising, and stocking tasks. Shop assistants work in pretty much any industry that sells products directly to customers. The most common employers include supermarkets, fashion, telecommunications, electronics, automotive, and home improvement industries. Working in a retail environment, shop assistants have to be comfortable being on their feet for extended periods of time, as well as moving and lifting boxes in the stockroom. They often have to work nights and weekends.

Shop assistant is an entry-level position in the retail world. Most people looking to build a career in retail use this as a stepping stone to becoming a keyholder or manager. Some end up in the home office. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for retail sales workers, which includes shop assistants, is set to rise 2 percent through 2026.


Shop Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

Shop assistants must perform many duties and responsibilities to support both the front and back end of a retail environment. We researched many shop assistant job descriptions in a variety of industries to put together the following list of shop assistant duties and responsibilities:

Help Customers Find Items on Sales Floor

The sales floor of most shops is constantly rotating based on current stock and promotions. Shop assistants have to be aware of each product’s location and maintain product knowledge for everything sold in their shop. This helps shop assistants provide the best service to customers.

Inform Customers of Current Promotions

Shop assistants often serve as a shop’s sales force. They must maintain knowledge of the current promotions and ensure every customer they interact with is aware of the promotions.

Process and Back Stock Shipment

In some companies, shop assistants work on the stock team to receive shipments each day, scan in the boxes and process the product based on company standards. Once the product is processed, they either backstock it or bring it to the sales floor.

Perform Routine Price Audits

Price discrepancies can cost a shop money. Shop assistants use a pricing gun linked to their company’s inventory system to check for price changes and then use a label printer to print and apply these changes.

Perform Opening and Closing Housekeeping Tasks

Shop assistants perform the basic housekeeping tasks necessary to get a store back in shape after a day of business. This includes windexing windows and mirrors, dusting fixtures, and vacuuming the shop floor. It also involves restocking the floor and ensuring all products are merchandised according to company standards.


Shop Assistant Skills

Easy-going people who thrive in a fast-paced environment (the holiday shopping season and other busy shopping weekends can be overwhelming) and remain calm when faced with an irate customer make great shop assistants. Strong product knowledge of the products their shop is essential; those who work in automotive, telecommunications, home improvement, and electronics must possess specialized knowledge to best serve customers. Besides these traits and areas of knowledge, the following skills are required to find employment as a shop assistant:

  • Operating various tools, such as labeling machines and pricing scanners
  • Maintaining sales floor to company visual standards using strong attention to detail
  • Diffusing customer complaints using conflict resolution skills
  • Having a “go-getter” attitude to help management with tasks as needed


Shop Assistant Tools of the Trade

  • Point of sale software – use point of sale software to complete transactions for customers
  • Inventory management software – used when shop assistants process and receive shipments
  • Pricing and labeling equipment – used to audit prices and print labels for new stock


Shop Assistant Education and Training

Shop assistants only need a high school diploma to find employment. All of their education comes through on-the-job training, although it helps if one has previous industry knowledge.


Shop Assistant Salary

According to Payscale, the national median hourly wage for shop assistants is $11.31. Those in the bottom 10 percent make below $8.00, while those in the top 10 percent make above $17.00.


Shop Assistant Resources

Many shop assistants use this position as an entry point to build a career in retail management. If that sounds like you, check out the list of resources below.

Retail Action Project – The Retail Action Project was founded with the goal of fighting for the rights of retail workers in all types of industries. It has a passionate leadership team and holds regular meetings.

National Customer Service Association – This organization is dedicated to providing its members with continuing professional development to improve their customer service skills. It has regular local chapter meetings, webinars, and a national conference.

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service – This book is considered a must-read for those in the customer service industry. Shop assistants can learn a lot from these theory-backed rules.

Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service – This book contains more than 700 proven customer service phrases and scripts, making it a great reference resource for any customer service professional.


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