Yukon WorkFutures

Retail salespersons

NOC 6421 / RANK 5


What They Do

Retail salespersons and sales clerks sell or rent a wide range of goods and services through stores and other retail outlets. They may also be employed by wholesale businesses that do some selling on a retail basis to the general public.

Cashiers record and receive payment for the purchase of goods, services or admission from customers in stores, restaurants, business offices, tourist attractions and theatres, as well as in other retail and wholesale establishments. They operate cash registers, optical price scanners, computers or other equipment to record and accept payment for the purchase of goods, services and admissions. In addition to providing correct change, processing credit or debit card transactions and validating cheques, cashiers may be responsible for issuing refunds and managing returns.

Retail and wholesale trade managers plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate the operations of businesses that sell merchandise or services on a retail or wholesale basis. Retail and wholesale trade managers are employed by retail and wholesale sales businesses, or they may own and operate their own store.

Main Duties

Retail salespersons and sales clerks perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Greet customers and discuss type, quality and quantity of merchandise or services sought for purchase, rental or lease
  • Advise customers on use and care and demonstrate operation of merchandise
  • Explain merchandise in detail to customers
  • Explain sales promotions or policies regarding payment and exchanges
  • Estimate or quote prices, credit terms, trade-in allowances, warranties and delivery dates
  • Prepare merchandise for purchase, rental or lease and prepare contracts
  • Operate a cash register, price scanner or other equipment
  • Accept cash, cheque, charge account, credit card or automatic debit payment
  • Issue receipts, refunds or credits
  • Create displays and stock shelves
  • Operate computerized inventory record keeping and re-ordering systems
  • Bag, wrap and/or package purchases
  • Order or ship goods
  • May specialize and act as consultants in interior decorating, home entertainment systems, computers and other products and services
  • Communicate customer comments to management

Cashiers may perform some of the above tasks in addition to the following duties:

  • Weigh produce and bulk foods
  • Use paging system to request assistance
  • Stock shelves and clean check-out counter area
  • Calculate foreign currency exchange, process bottle returns, and redeem food stamps and coupons
  • Open and close till at the beginning and end of each shift
  • Calculate total payments received at end of work shift and reconcile with total sales

Retail and wholesale trade managers may do some or all of the following tasks:

  • Plan, direct and evaluate the operations of businesses engaged in wholesale and retail sales
  • Manage staff and assign duties
  • Study market research and trends to determine consumer demand, potential sales volumes and effect of competitors' operations on sales
  • Determine merchandise and services to be sold, and implement price and credit policies
  • Locate, select and order merchandise for resale
  • Develop and implement marketing strategies
  • Plan budgets and authorize expenditures
  • Resolve customer complaints
  • Determine staffing needs and hire or oversee the hiring of staff

Working Conditions

Retail salespersons, sales clerks and cashiers typically work indoors, though some sales involve working outdoors.Hours tend to be irregular but flexible.Staff are often required to work weekends, evenings and holidays.

Retail sales workers typically stand for long periods and may need supervisory approval to leave the sales floor or tills. They may also be expected to lift and package/bag merchandise, some of which could be heavy. They spend all or most of the workday working directly with the public, answering questions and trying to sell goods and/or services. It is not uncommon for staff to stay after closing to clean and organize the sales floor for the next day.

Retail managers work in offices for standard business hours, and may work on the sales floor as well. They often work longer hours, however. A great deal of their work is done in the store, but they may also need to travel since customers are widely dispersed throughout Yukon. These managers travel outside Yukon as well, depending on work requirements.

Retail managers in Yukon sometimes cover a broader area of responsibility than in other areas of Canada. A manager can have responsibility for media, customer and staff relations, with no support staff, and in another jurisdiction each of these areas might be the responsibility of a different person.

How Do I Get There

Retail salespersons, sales clerks and cashiers are not usually required to have any post-secondary training, however, completion of secondary school may be necessary. Some sales positions require little or no prior knowledge of the business, while others require extensive training to ensure staff are informed about the products they are selling. Since cashiers often work with large sums of money, they may have to be bondable (acceptable to a bonding company as a responsible person) and have a police security check. In many jobs, they must be prepared to spend long hours on their feet and work irregular shifts.

Training is usually provided on-the-job, and can range from one-on-one mentoring in small stores to more formal training programs in large chain stores.Employers often hire high school graduates who undergo training under the supervision of experienced salespeople. Progression to a store manager or retail supervisor position is possible with additional training or experience.

Knowledge of computerized systems is usually important in this field. For cashiers, knowledge of computerized cash registers is an asset. In Yukon, a second language is an asset in any tourism-related job. Sales staff and cashiers must be neat in appearance, polite and friendly.

Yukon College offers courses that provide training and skills in many aspects of the retail trade. The Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC) offers short courses and certification that combines on-the-job training and evaluation with a written examination. Workshops including Welcome Yukon and SuperHost are directly applicable to retail and sales.

Sales managers generally need a university degree or college diploma in business administration or a related field, with a specialization in sales or marketing and several years of experience as a sales or marketing representative or in a related occupation.

Yukon College has a variety of first-year and second-year university-level courses that can be transferred for full credit to several Canadian and American universities that offer business degrees.

Some specialized business and management programs are available through Yukon College's School of Management, Tourism and Hospitality.