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Seller Duties and Responsibilities

No two sellers are exactly alike, as specific duties vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core responsibilities common to the job:

Facilitate Sales Sellers proactively greet customers and offer them assistance. By interacting with customers, they identify their interests and needs. Sellers promote products on the sales floor while serving as the front line for all questions and sales opportunities.

Process Payments Beyond helping customers find items to buy, some sellers also process sales transactions. Taking payment may involve using a cash register or a point of sale (POS) system. Sellers add up a customer's total and may try to upsell them on additional complementary products. Once the sale is complete, they receive payment from the customer in the form of cash, credit, or debit.

Prepare the Sales Floor Another responsibility for sellers is preparing products to be displayed on the sales floor. They may be asked to add tags to products or apply barcodes. Sellers also set up visual displays, place signage, change window displays, or move layouts as directed. Their job is to consistently maintain and improve the appearance of their selling area.

Oversee Sales Administration Many sellers also handle sales related administration and cash-out procedures. Depending on their work shift schedule, sellers may be required to open or close cash registers. They count money in the register and separate purchase receipts, coupons, and other vouchers. Sellers also serve as a watchful eye to identify security risks and prevent merchandise theft.

Perform Inventory Management and Restocking Sellers support refilling activities that keep sales floor stock looking full and plentiful. Sellers working in retail may help stock shelves, arrange for delivery of purchases, and count inventory. When there are no customers they may be asked to go inventory unsold merchandise.


Seller Skills and Qualifications

Sellers should be outgoing communicators who are detail oriented. Employers typically look for prior retail or customer service experience, although it is not always required. The following skills are also essential to the job:
  • Sales skills - sellers must consistently meet or exceed established individual sales goals given to them by leadership
  • Customer service - providing excellent customer service is a top priority for companies that employ sellers, who are expected to give a fast welcome that makes potential customers comfortable
  • Money handling - sellers, especially those in retail, need the ability to count money and make change in an accurate and timely way
  • Negotiation - great sellers are comfortable handling customer objections and politely working toward a sale
  • Memorization - sellers have to remember accurate information on current sales promotions, as well as policies regarding payments and exchanges, to do their job effectively
  • Communication skills - sellers often speak with customers, prospects, fellow team members, managers, and other guests, so strong communication skills are essential
  • Physical fitness - frequent standing for long hours, walking, using hand motions, reaching, and lifting up to 40 pounds is required for some sellers who manage and move product around as part of their position

Seller Education and Training

Although many seller positions have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer employees to have a high school diploma, particularly those who sell complex or big-ticket items. Employers also prefer one to two years of customer service or sales experience. Many sellers get on-the-job training in their employer's specific sales philosophy and methodology. This training may continue for only a few days or may extend for months. Managers or more experienced sellers usually train newly hired sellers.

Seller Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for sellers is $11.16. The lowest 10 percent of sellers receive less than $8.61, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $19.85. Compensation for sellers varies according to where they work and the type of product or service they sell. Retail sellers may get hourly payment, commission percentages of sales made, or a combination of both. Industry employment for sellers is expected to grow 2 percent through 2026, which the BLS notes is slower than average for all occupations. Seller positions are highly dependent on the overall health and growth rate of the economy. The fast-growing trend of online sales replacing in-store sales has also constrained growth opportunities for retailers.

Helpful Resources

There are many helpful resources out there for those interested in becoming sellers. Check out these links that are full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news:

How to Be a GREAT Salesperson... by Monday Morning! - this ultimate guide to selling will move you years ahead in your sales-closing ability

No Thanks, I'm Just Looking: Sales Techniques for Turning Shoppers into Buyers - get insider secrets on how to succeed in your career as a seller and save hours of trial-and-error with these proven moneymaking techniques

Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know - this book from sales legend Zig Ziglar teaches readers how to persuade people effectively and ethically more often

The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals - take a look at this international association dedicated to providing advice on inside sales

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