Department Store Counter Retail Sales Associate Job Description

PinExt Department Store Counter Retail Sales Associate Job Description

Working as a department store cosmetic counter sales associate is one of the multitude of beauty jobs that work on a commission basis. This means you receive a flat hourly rate, but that you earn more based on how much you sell. Working on commission can be tough for anyone who needs a steady income, because your paycheck varies and is not always within your own control. Those sales people who do well working on commission are great at adding on products to increase sales volume, but doing so naturally in a way that seems to help the customer instead of the sales person’s bottom line. Typically, when you work one of these positions, you are an employee of the store, assigned to work a counter that is “loaned” or “leased” to the brand in question. You will still have the opportunity to receive brand specific training, however, because it benefits both the brand and the department store for you to know the product well and be able to sell it effectively.

Counter Retail Sales Job Duties

Because this type of job involves commission sales, it is largely based on sales volumes. Other than selling effectively and using strategies like adding on more products to increase sales volume duties can include but are not limited to:

  • Daily maintenance of counter including cleaning, replacing testers, etc.
  • Attending training sessions on product line to be able to understand the specifics of each product offered
  • Working closely with other counter employees, including those working for other brands
  • Putting sales through point of sale system and effectively tracking them if needed
  • Making change for purchases precisely
  • Offering store credit cards to clients
  • Maintaining client list to reach out to them when special sales or other events come up
  • Keeping up your appearance in alignment with both store standards and brand expectations
  • Checking and increasing stock levels on the sales floor as needed
  • Performing makeup application with skill using effective sales techniques during application
  • Keeping all tools like makeup brushes and supplies clean at all times and keeping disposable tools like tissue and cotton rounds well stocked
  • Other duties as assigned by counter manager and store management

Counter Retail Sales Working Conditions

As with any retail position, you are expected to be on your feet for the entirety of your shift, excluding breaks. This means you must be comfortable standing for several hours consecutively. Individual state law usually mandates breaks, so the amount of time before you get a break can be significant. You also must present an image consistent with the store and the brand in particular so if you work for a high end line like Dior or Chanel your appearance matters more than you might think.

Counter Retail Sales Employment Salary

Cosmetics counter retail sale associates are usually paid on an hourly basis. The hourly wage varies depending on the department store, but is typically just a few dollars over minimum wage at most for starting hourly rates. Commission rates also vary but can range from just a couple percent of the sales, to up to 20 or 25 percent of the sales total, again depending on the store and the brand you are representing.

Education and Experience Requirements

There are no hard and fast rules for the education and experience requirements when applying to work as a cosmetics counter retail sales associate. You may need to have some sort of makeup experience, though it is typically not something that is required. In fact, for those interested in jobs in beauty with no experience, this may be one of the best ways to get your foot in the proverbial door.


Desirable Skills

  • Comfort speaking to strangers
  • Ability to upsell or add items on to a retail sale
  • Basic knowledge and understanding of makeup application or skin care essentials
  • Prompt arrival at scheduled work shifts
  • Pleasant and professional demeanor

Where to Find Counter Retail Sales Jobs/Employment

Job listings for retail sales inside department stores are relatively easy to find by simply visiting the store’s website and doing a job search for the location nearest you. These jobs are also some of the easiest to get with little to no experience in the field, especially if you have worked in another area of the department store and request a transfer to working at one of the cosmetics counters.

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