16 Pros and Cons of Being a Retail Salesperson

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When you walk into a store, the salesperson will often come over and ask if they can help you.

This is just one part of their job.

If you’re considering becoming a retail salesperson, you should understand what the position requires.

After you’ve greeted the customers, you’ll provide accurate information regarding products and prices and also try to cross-sell products.

You also must ensure the store is clean and the racks are fully stocked.

If you think this is the right job for you, it’s best to know the pros and cons of being a retail salesperson.

When you understand the benefits and downsides, you can decide if a career in retail sales is right for you.

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Pros of Being a Retail Salesperson

Becoming a retail salesperson has several benefits, which may help you decide if this is the best career for you.

These include:

#1 You Can Decide How Well You Do

Most people who work in retail sales receive base pay plus commission, which allows you to decide how successful you will be.

If you want to make a lot of money, you can try to upsell each customer that comes through the door.

If you’re willing to put the time and energy into your job, you could potentially earn over $100,000, depending on the store you work in and the cost of the products.

If you want to succeed, you can with a lot of hard work.

#2 Opportunity for Growth

One great thing about being a retail salesperson is that there is room for professional growth.

If you do well and work hard, you could be promoted to a management position with more responsibilities.

You could also shift into business development if that position interests you.

If you want to get out of retail, you can take the communication skills you learned as a retail salesperson to a different job, such as customer service or marketing.

There is no rule stating you must stay in retail, and you will have several opportunities if you choose to move on.

#3 Most Days Won’t Be the Same As the Last

One good thing about working as a retail salesperson is that it isn’t a monotonous job.

You will work with different people with different personalities and different likes and dislikes every day, so the job doesn’t become boring.

Different people and circumstances make the job more interesting, and you won’t get bored.

#4 Job Security

We all look for careers with job security because the last thing anyone wants is to lose their job to technology or other issues.

Retail sales have excellent job security because people will always need to go shopping, and they will always need help.

Also, you won’t have to worry about technology taking your job.

People want a personal connection when shopping, and store owners know this.

#5 No Degree Necessary

If you don’t have a degree and you aren’t ready to go back to school, you’ll still be able to land a good job as a retail salesperson.

Although taking classes and earning a degree will help further your career, you can get an entry-level position as a salesperson, and you may be able to work your way up without getting a degree.

#6 It’s Easy To Prove Yourself

You don’t need a resume that’s three pages long to prove you’re good at your job.

Your boss will be able to see how good you are by how you interact with the customers and your commission reports.

If you work hard and are a pro at closing sales, you can prove yourself easily, which is necessary if you want to move up in the business one day.

#7 Flexible Schedules

You can often get a flexible schedule when working as a retail salesperson.

If you have kids or are going to school, you can ask for a flexible schedule or even part-time work, which is something you can’t get from other professions.

Cons of Working As a Retail Salesperson

While there are some great things about working in retail, there are also downsides that could make you question whether you want to proceed down this career path.

#1 If the Store Doesn’t Do Well, You Won’t Do Well

The base pay you receive as a retail salesperson often isn’t enough to get by, and you’ll rely on your commission.

If the store is slow and you don’t make a sale, you don’t earn a commission.

You can be an excellent salesperson, but your sales skills won’t be helpful if the customers aren’t coming through the door.

Also, if the store is slow, you won’t be able to pay your bills.

#2 The Job Can Be Hard On Your Body

As a retail salesperson, you will spend the whole day on your feet, which can be tough on your back, legs, and feet.

There may also be heavy lifting involved when you unbox the inventory and put it on the sales floor.

If you can’t handle standing on your feet all day, you may want to pursue another career.

#3 Work Nights and Weekends

If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job, Monday through Friday, a career as a retail salesperson isn’t for you.

Stores are often open late, until 9 or 10 pm, and many people don’t want to work this late, so management usually requires everyone to work a certain number of evenings.

The same is true with weekends, and if you want to avoid working nights and weekends, you may want to pursue another career.

#4 Rejection

Rejection is expected in retail sales.

You won’t get every customer to buy what you show them, and they may not be looking to buy at all.

Some people go into the stores to see what’s new and then return when they are ready to buy.

If you can’t handle rejection, you won’t last long in sales.

You have to be able to brush off rejection and not let it affect your next encounter with a customer, and if you can’t, you may not be a good fit for this career.

#5 Store Closures

There’s excellent job security as a retail salesperson because store owners will always need people to help the customers that come through the door.

However, there is a chance that the store where you work closes, and you’ll be out of a job.

According to CNBC, 40,000 to 50,000 stores may close by 2026, so there is a risk in taking a job as a retail salesperson.

#6 High Stress

Working as a retail salesperson can be very stressful.

Many stores have quotas every month that they must meet, which can be very stressful.

Also, this is a competitive job because everyone is working to earn a large commission, and the competitiveness can make the job even more stressful.

#7 High Turnover

There is often high turnover in retail sales, which can be frustrating.

If you are a social person, the high turnover can be a significant issue because you’ll have to say goodbye to friends you’ve made and will have to start over every time the job becomes vacant and is then filled.

#8 Dealing With Difficult Customers

Anyone who has ever worked in customer service in a store or on the phone can tell you that difficult customers can ruin the day.

Some people are understanding; however, some people get angry if they don’t get what they want, taking it out on the salesperson.

If you don’t have thick skin and can’t handle being yelled at, there might be better professions for you.

#9 High Pressure

As a retail salesperson, you will want the store to be busy to help you earn a commission.

However, during the holidays and back-to-school season, stores get very busy, and it can put a significant amount of pressure on you.

If there are ten customers in the store who need help and there are only four salespersons working, it’s easy to buckle under pressure.

If you don’t do well in high-pressure situations, this might not be the best career for you.

16 Pros and Cons of Being a Retail Salesperson – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Retail SalespersonCons of Working As a Retail Salesperson
#1 You Can Decide How Well You Do#1 If the Store Doesn't Do Well, You Won't Do Well
#2 Opportunity for Growth#2 The Job Can Be Hard On Your Body
#3 Most Days Won't Be the Same As the Last#3 Work Nights and Weekends
#4 Job Security#4 Rejection
#5 No Degree Necessary#5 Store Closures
#6 It's Easy To Prove Yourself#6 High Stress
#7 Flexible Schedules#7 High Turnover
#8 Dealing With Difficult Customers
#9 High Pressure

Should You Become a Retail Salesperson?

If you love working with people and can handle stress and pressure well, you could be successful as a retail salesperson.

In addition, you must be okay with fluctuating schedules and working nights and weekends.

If you aren’t a social person who can’t handle stress, pressure, and competition, you may want to find another career that better suits your personality.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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