Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Shop Assistant
Shop assistants are the link between the store's products and the customer. It is important that assistants promote a positive image of the shop as assistants' actions project the store's image and determine the impression that customers form of the store and whether they will visit the store again. Shop assistants usually sell merchandise in all types of retail stores.

Their work depends on the type of store. Shop assistants need to be knowledgeable about the products they are selling, for example, a shop assistant working in an electrical appliances store needs to know how these appliances work.

Shop assistants show products to customers and help them to select the products which suit their needs. Assistants receive payments and give change for purchases. The work also entails filling out sales slips, the wrapping of purchases and making the arrangements for pick-up or home delivery.

When assistants are not busy serving customers, they need to check stock and note items that are running low or for which supplies are needed. Other duties include answering telephone calls, handling inquiries and monitoring the store security to prevent shoplifting.

Satisfying Aspects
- good employment opportunities
- company discounts
- working with people
- working without constant supervision

Demanding aspects
- being on your feet most of the day
- being paid on a commission basis
- dealing with difficult customers
- having to cope with very slow or very busy periods

A shop assistant should:
- be alert and even-tempered;
- enjoy working with the public;
- be tactful and patient;
- get along well with others;
- be persuasive;
- be friendly;
- have good health and stamina;
- have a neat, well-groomed appearance;
- have good taste and insight into the tastes of clients.

School Subjects
No specific high school requirements are necessary to enter this career but a National Senior Certificate is recommended.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Accounting, Mathematics

Most shop assistants learn their skills on the job. Large stores may provide training programmes which last for several days, followed by on-the-job training under an experienced worker. This enables the shop assistant to know what the job entails, in order to commence work with confidence.

- Large or small retail shops
- Wholesale establishments

Any retail shop or wholesaler