Retail sales are about providing a place for customers to come to buy products or learn more about them before making a purchase decision. In the retail business, front-end sales assistants are sales staff members who work in the parts of stores with the highest levels of customer traffic.
A front-end, retail sales assistant, sometimes known as a front-end associate or simply a sales assistant, is a sales worker who is assigned to the front of a store, near the area where customers enter and exit. Front-nd sales assistant duties include greeting customers, managing cash registers, bagging purchases and handling customer service claims, such as returns and general inquiries. In some retail stores, front-end sales assistants are junior level sales staff who spend time with individual customers, teaching them about products, providing demonstrations and answering their questions.
Most retail stores are open during weekends and evenings, which mean front-end sales assistants work irregular schedules throughout the week and month. Seasonal periods of increased sales may affect a front-end sales assistant's hours over the course of a year. Managers and shift supervisors set schedules that ultimately determine how much front-end sales assistants earn based on an hourly pay rate.
Most front-end sales assistants earn hourly wages. Those who work full time may receive benefits as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly pay for a retail sales job ranges from near the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to around $13 for all but the most highly compensated non-assistant positions. This equates to full-time annual earnings of between $15,000 and $27,000. Senior sales staff can earn nearly $20 per hour, including commissions. Front-end sales assistants, however, tend to earn salaries at the lower end of the sales pay range due to their low levels of experience and assistant status.
Front-end assistants may have opportunities to increase their pay. Overtime and holiday hours result in a higher hourly rate, such as time-and-a-half or double time. Some front-end sales assistants can also earn additional pay in the form of commissions. Since most retail sales jobs are not unionized, workers are subject to their employers' individual compensation policies regarding salary, incentive pay and benefits.