What Is a Store Clerk? (With Duties and Salary Information)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 2, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Companies hire store clerks when they have a variety of products to organize and sell. This position requires strong communication and customer service skills. By knowing more about store clerk duties, you can determine whether this is the right career for your goals. In this article, we answer the question, "What is a store clerk?", explore how to become one, share the relevant skills you can develop to excel in this field, review tips for working in retail, and share an example job description for th role.
What is a store clerk?
If you want to work with customers in stores, you may want to know the answer to, "What is a store clerk?" Store clerks are professionals who work within stores to help improve the shopping experience of consumers. These professionals greet customers and answer questions about their shopping experience. They also help customers with the selection of merchandise. Store clerks monitor customers to help prevent theft and loss of products. They operate cash registers and help with the completion of sales processes. Sore clerks also implement appropriate sales techniques and product displays.
Store clerks might research company products to help ensure that they can answer a variety of questions about the company and those products. They may also maintain records of product purchases and inventory changes. Here's a list of additional responsibilities store clerks can expect to manage:
Scanning products with equipment and devices to help with the facilitation of purchases
Obtaining payments from the company's customers
Maintaining cleanliness within the store and across various aisles
Unpacking inventories and carrying products of up to 50 lbs
Directing customers to products when asked about their location
Providing customers with different options for products when the company doesn't have desired products in stock
Helping with the planning of product displays, depending on consumer buying habits
How to become a store clerk
Here's a step-by-step guide for those who want to work as store clerks:
1. Complete your education
If you want to work as a store clerk, you typically require a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. These professionals typically don't require post-secondary education, but you can benefit from completing a bachelor's degree or certifications in sales and marketing. This may provide you with additional career advancement opportunities like skills development or a promotion to a role with more leadership. If you want to work in upper management for the company, you might also benefit from completing a business administration or management degree.
2. Complete training
As a store clerk, you typically receive several weeks of training in a physical work environment after a company hires you. If you have existing experience in retail locations, the company may consider a shorter training process for you. This training typically includes inventory management and an introduction to cash register software packages that the company currently uses. When the company has more complex systems, this may require you to undertake specialized training. The additional software training might include training for a cash register certification in the point of sales software for the store.
3. Earn certifications
As a new employee, some companies may provide you with the opportunity to complete certifications and programs to help you excel in your daily tasks and duties. For example, the company might require additional certifications to help you use cash registers, point-of-sale systems, and manage company inventory. These certifications may show hiring managers that you have the skills and qualifications to work with company systems and processes. For example, you can obtain fundamental knowledge about how stores operate.
Skills for store clerks
Here's a list of important skills for store clerks:
Store clerks may work with inventory management software, together with the point of sales process, during their work shifts. You may navigate a variety of software packages; thus, your computer literacy can help you when inserting data into these systems. When you record company inventories as a store clerk, you may also input information about inventory into computer systems, which requires computer literacy.
Customer service skills
A store clerk typically acquires strong customer services skills by building relationships with the store's customers over time. You can obtain and use these skills when directing customers around the store and providing them with answers to questions about store products and services. Store clerks may also use their customer service skills when influencing their customers toward buying products and informing them how various products can improve their lives.
Related: How to Write a Sales Clerk Resume
Store product knowledge
In smaller establishments, a store clerk is a primary source of information for customers browsing the store. Comprehensive knowledge of the store allows you to quickly and accurately direct customers to products. Also, as a store clerk, you may work with the shipping and stocking processes of the store. Therefore, it's important for a store clerk to know their store layout and perform their duties well during stocking periods.
Facilitating customer purchases and managing a store's inventory involve math skills. With strength in mathematics, you can quickly accomplish these tasks and keep the store's operations from backing up. Store clerks also use these skills while processing payments to company customers.
Store clerk work environment
If the company a store clerk works for is small, they might directly report to the store's owner. Store clerks working for a larger store typically report to a store manager. A store clerk spends a significant amount of their shift helping customers at the store's cash register, and they also spend time moving throughout the store to monitor store inventory, keep the shelves stocked, and help customers who are looking for products.
Store clerks may find full-time or part-time positions. The shifts a store clerk works usually relate to their company's business hours. There are store clerk positions available for all shifts on all days of the week. A store clerk may work before or after business hours to receive shipments and stock shelves.
Tips for becoming a store clerk
Here's a list of tips for those who want to become store clerks:
Focus on economics classes
While you earn your high school diploma, you may choose to spend a significant amount of time in economics classes. You can also undertake these courses as post-secondary classes. These courses can provide you with the economics skills required to work with the company's money and product values.
Complete your store clerk onboarding
You typically require several weeks of training when you begin to work in your position. The onboarding process can also require you to complete and sign paperwork. This onboarding period teaches you about your role in the store, your responsibilities, and how to use the store's inventory management and cash register point of sales software packages.
Advance in your industry
After you spend some time working as a store clerk, you may consider seeking advancement within the field of retail. For example, you might ask your supervisor if there are any retail management or supervision positions available and make it known that you're seeking advancement. If there aren't any opportunities for advancement in your location, you may consider seeking higher-level retail opportunities at other locations.
Earn a relevant diploma or degree
Post-secondary education isn't a requirement for a store clerk, but if you seek post-secondary education, earning an associate's or a bachelor's degree could make you a more competitive candidate during the hiring process. These degrees may also provide you with additional skills and experience for your work. You can also complete internships during your studies to provide you with practical experience.
Salary expectations for store clerks
The average national salary of a store clerk is $15.33 per hour. This rate can depend on several factors including where the retail store is located, what type of products they sell, and the candidate's level of experience. This role may also provide commission-based bonuses in some cases. There are several career advancement opportunities that can lead to a higher rate, including team leader or management positions.
Store clerk job description example
Here's an example of a job description you may see for store clerk positions during your job search:
The SugarShoppe candy store on River Road is hiring a new store clerk for the morning shift. The store clerk is responsible for helping customers check out their orders, directing them to product locations throughout the store, offering information about products, and providing product suggestions where appropriate. Also, the morning shift store clerk is responsible for receiving any morning product shipments and making certain that they fully stock all shelves in the store.
Upon hiring, the store clerk receives a two-week onboarding before working in their position unsupervised. This training period teaches the store clerk how to use inventory management, cash register software, and the daily responsibilities expected of the store clerk. As a store clerk at The SugarShoppe, you report directly to the store's general manager and owner. Candidates with prior retail experience receive hiring preference.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.
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