Retail Sales Assistant Kaiāwhina Hokohoko

Retail sales assistants serve customers, look after stock items and process sales.

Retail sales assistants may do some or all of the following:

  • greet customers and help them choose products
  • advise customers how to use and care for products
  • assist with customer purchases, price enquiries and special orders
  • carry out stocktakes and order new stock
  • check delivered stock against orders and ensure it is in good condition
  • price and display stock
  • handle customer complaints
  • keep the retail space tidy and clean.

Physical Requirements

Retail sales assistants need to be reasonably fit and healthy, as they spend a lot of time on their feet and may do heavy lifting.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for retail sales assistants includes:

  • cash handling
  • customer service
  • visual display and merchandising
  • other work that involves helping people.

Personal Qualities

Retail sales assistants need to be:

  • good communicators
  • friendly and helpful
  • good at customer service
  • honest and reliable.


Retail sales assistants need to have:

  • sales skills
  • knowledge of the products they are selling, and how they are used
  • knowledge of the Consumer Guarantees Act
  • cash-handling and basic maths skills
  • knowledge of their employer's policies and regulations for operation and sales
  • ability to display stock
  • good communication skills.


Retail sales assistants:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings and weekends
  • work in shops or warehouses and may also work outdoors – for example, in garden centres.

Retail Sales Assistants can earn around $47K-$48K per year.

Pay for retail sales assistants varies depending on experience and the company they work for. 

  • Entry-level sales assistants usually start on minimum wage.
  • Senior sales assistants can earn more.

Source: Retail NZ 2020 Wages Guide, 2020.

Retail sales assistants may move into senior sales, supervisory, shop management or regional management roles.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a retail sales assistant.

However, you can work towards a qualification on the job such as the New Zealand Certificate in Retail (Levels 3 and 4).

Retail Sales Assistant