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Managing a store involves multiple aspects including inventory, customers, employees, reporting, etc., thus requiring a diverse set of store management skills. This article will cover retail manager’s duties, the key 9 skills for a store manager, and how to succeed as a store manager. Let’s jump in. 

What does a retail manager do?

What does a retail manager do?

A retail manager has to supervise the day-to-day operations of a store to make sure all activities run smoothly and effectively. Retail managers work on the shop floor and are constantly in contact with their customers and employees. Therefore, this position requires multiple responsibilities including:

  • Oversee pricing and stock control:
    • Make sure popular products are always in stock to prevent missing out on sales
    • Determine efficient reorder points and reduce warehousing costs
    • Prevent thefts or losses
  • Ensure a good customer experience to boost the store’s reputation and brand loyalty:
    • Plan the store layout and organize products logically to help customers find the products they need
    • Prepare promotional materials and displays to boost store traffic
    • Deal with customer queries and complaints
  • Recruit, train, and handle employees:
    • Assign staff shifts and monitor their performance, making sure that they are serving customers properly
    • Motivate staff to meet sales targets and set an example
  • Handle administrative tasks:
    • Liaise with head office for a consistent business strategy
    • Manage the store budgets
    • Report statistical and financial records of the store
    • Ensure compliance with health and safety legislation

9 essential store management skills

9 essential store manager skills

Store management is a vital and complex job to ensure the health and efficiency of your store and employees. Here are the key 9 skills of a store manager:

Multitasking

The long list of retail manager responsibilities requires managers to have good competency in a wide range of aspects. This makes multitasking skills a must for store managers to complete their work on time. They should arrange their time with a to-do list for each day to finish their tasks while also keeping an eye on their team’s performance.

Time management

Together with multitasking, time management is also a crucial skill for managers. Managers should divide their tasks based on priority and urgency to take proper action. Here is the Eisenhower decision matrix that store managers should apply:

Urgent Not urgent
Important Do: Do it immediately Decide: Arrange a schedule to do it
Not important Delegate: Assign the task to your employee  Delete: Remove it

In addition, store managers should set clear objectives for the workload that must be completed within the day and block time for each task. They should also be able to eliminate distractions and deal with interruptions for themselves and the team.

Decision making

A good manager can evaluate and identify the crucial factors to the success of their store. Since the retail environment is changing quickly, managers must make prompt retail decisions to not miss out on opportunities. However, to avoid mistakes, a manager must consider all information thoroughly and select what is important and what isn’t.

Leadership abilities

Leadership skill is one of the most essential store management skills. You need to lead your team, not only manage them. A good leader processes excellent interpersonal skills like people management and problem-solving to unlock their team’s full potential. If you have this trait, you can encourage your staff to achieve more goals and sustain employee engagement.

Organizational skills

Skills of retail managers

Store managers need organization skills to identify aspects or procedures that can be improved. This skill helps you streamline processes, manage schedules and budgets, recognize problems, reduce costs, and boost sales. Managers with good organization skills can also hire the best associates, give them good training, assign the right tasks to each staff, and help them grow their strengths.

Effective and impactful communication

Communication is the key to building a strong and efficient team. Retail managers should be able to communicate the points, as well as truly listen to employees’ ideas and issues. True communication skills will create trust and comprehension between managers and employees, making sure everyone understands each other and heads toward the same goal.

Motivational skills

Having motivational skills allows managers to inspire their employees to work harder and improve themselves. Good managers can provide constructive feedback and advice to their team members. From the employees’ perspective, having an inspiring manager will increase their job satisfaction, therefore they’re more likely to stay loyal to the company.

Efficient customer service

A manager should have strong customer service skills to set the strategies and train employees on how to serve customers. Excellent customer service will create a memorable shopping experience and keep customers coming back to your store. To do this, managers must understand customers’ needs, behaviors, and preferences.

Adaptability

Adaptability refers to flexibility and mental steadiness in facing everyday variations and changes. In the retail industry, you have to deal with many different issues, either stimulating or stressful. Therefore as a manager, you must be ready and able to prioritize, schedule, and tackle them quickly. Adaptability is a vital store manager skill to react promptly to changes. To be well prepared, you can plan the solution for any issues you think can happen, and follow the guide to solve them.

How to become a successful store manager

store manager

According to a study from Mood Media, the money and time spent by US shoppers in-store has gone up swiftly by 11% between 2020 and 2021. This trend indicates customers’ readiness to return to in-person shopping, and emphasizes the importance of retail managers handling store operations. To become a better manager, you should follow these best practices:

1. Set SMART goals

As a store manager, you must set goals for yourselves and the team. Using SMART goals and a stimulating reward to inspire the team to do the best:
S: Specific – What exactly are you trying to gain?
M: Measurable – How can you know if you’ve achieved it?
A: Attainable – Is it genuinely possible to achieve it?
R: Relevant – Does it contribute to your values and long-term growth?
T: Time-based – When do you want to accomplish this?
In addition, before finalizing the goals, you should talk to your staff to ensure they agree with the goals and how to achieve them. Furthermore, you should track the progress and guide employees if they need help. Great retail managers don’t put unreasonable pressure on their staff. Instead, they provide guidance and encourage their team to keep going.

2. Focus on data

Retail managers have to deal with lots of data to make decisions. Data offers a large picture of how the store is performing, and managers must be able to interpret the data into actionable insights. Some questions you may ask yourselves when analyzing your store data include:

  • Which products have the highest sales?
  • When should you reorder a product?
  • How much are you paying for storage?
  • Which channel has the highest traffic and revenue?
  • How much does it cost to get a new customer?
  • What is the forecasted trend of products and customers’ preferences?
  • Are your employees meeting KPIs?

3. Adopt new technology

To become a better manager, you should take full advantage of technology to boost efficiency in operation, marketing, and management. Adopting the right retail management software will help you reduce manual tasks, standardize all procedures, and complete your tasks more quickly, giving you more time for important jobs. Here are some aspects that technology can help enhance and automate:

  • Inventory management: Sync data of sales and inventory level for accurate stock counting, receive low-stock alerts, create purchase orders, communicate with other warehouses for stock transfer.
  • Omnichannel sales: Control products and sales via multiple channels apart from the physical store, such as website, social media, or app.
  • Marketing campaigns: Generate campaigns targeting specific customer segments, create loyalty programs, promotions for holidays, and measure the results.
  • Employee scheduling: Plan and assign schedules to employees, including notes like time, position, instructions, and send reminders.
  • Employee management: Create training sections, manage the clock in and out, check employee sale performance, control sick leaves.

4. Encourage feedback

store management skills

Managers should create a comfortable environment for employees to voice their concerns, opinions, or suggestions to improve the business. Since your staff talks directly to customers every day, they understand customers’ common challenges and expectations best. Encouraging employees to share their ideas will make them feel motivated and empowered to contribute to the company’s success. Make sure you have a regular schedule for feedback, this isn’t a one-time task.

5. Become a mentor

Being a good mentor is how you separate a normal manager from a dedicated one. Good managers will help their staff develop skills, thus building a strong team for success. Sharing your knowledge and experience with your mentees to help them learn from successful case studies and avoid mistakes.

Furthermore, you should spot talents who have the potential to become good leaders and offer special guidance to them. Since you may not have enough time to mentor every team member, pick the best ones and help them grow a long-term career in the retail industry.

Conclusion

Store manager is an important position in any retail business. Mastering the above 9 store management skills will help you enhance the performance of the store’s employees and improve productivity. A good manager can also identify bottlenecks in dealing with inventory, customers, and staff, and give solutions to streamline the process. As the retail market constantly changes, this role becomes more important to the success of your business.

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Author Irene Luong

Irene is a senior content writer and editor at Magestore with more than 5 years of experience. She often writes about retail operations and system integration to provide in-depth knowledge for retailers. Besides writing, you may find her busy with editing to make every piece of content epic.

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