our everyday life

The Job Description of a Shoe Salesman

by Lisa Finn, studioD

Selling shoes may not be the most glamorous job, but those who are good at it may gain loyal customers, as well as a decent salary. Friendly, skilled retail sales workers of all kinds earned as much as $23 an hour in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- but shoe salesman often earn a salary plus commission. The better the sales tactics, attitude and shoe knowledge of a salesperson, the more money he makes.

Greets Customers

A good salesperson greets customers with a warm smile and an open-ended question, such as "What brings you in the store today?" This encourages the shopper to give information about the kind of shoe he needs, and discourages him from saying no to any help. In addition, a seasoned shoe salesperson observes the customer's own shoes to get a sense of style; takes note on which shoes a customer picks up; and makes himself readily available to answer fit, color, stock and price questions. A savvy salesperson brings out shoes in addition to the ones the customer asked for, in an attempt to increase sales.

Displays Knowledge

A shoe salesman points out shoes that are on sale or that qualify for the store's current sales promotion, for example. He also answers questions about stock and availability, and educates customers on size. The salesperson measures for size and to discern a customer's narrow or wide foot or an instep that is too high or low. Knowledge about size helps build trust with the customer and ensures a proper fit the first time around.

Helps Customers Try On

A salesperson for kids' shoes may help a child slip on, lace up and correctly tie shoes. Adults may want to lace up shoes themselves. However, a salesperson may offer fashion tips, such as lacing a woman's boot so that the top folds down a bit. The salesperson determines the fit at the toe and the heel, and may offer products -- such as slip-in arches, insoles or shoe pads -- for a more comfortable fit.


Keen shoe salespersons are not pushy, but aim to be persuasive by anticipating customer needs and solving problems. At the point of purchase, a commissioned salesperson will try to sell additional items -- such as socks, laces, shoe trees and polish -- to raise the final sale. This is also the time for promotion reminders, such as buy one pair and get another half off. In addition, a shoe salesperson may be responsible for ringing up the purchase and accepting payment.

Cleans and Organizes

Keeping the store looking presentable and appealing to customers is a shoe salesperson's duty. Cleaning shelves, dusting shoes, nicely displaying merchandise and organizing the stockroom are tasks completed by a salesperson. The nicer the store looks, the more apt customers are to browse and, ultimately, make a sale.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images