The retail market has undergone a massive change in the last few years, especially amid the pandemic. The rise of online shopping has increased the importance of providing the customer with a holistic shopping experience.
86% of Buyers Will Pay More for Great Customer Experience (source)
This can only be achieved through efficient retail management, which can help maintain order in your store and ensure all your employees perform well.
This can help you create an optimal shopping experience for customers and improve business and sales and increase the productivity of your other employees. However, many retail managers are not well-equipped for the job.
Unlike managers in other sectors, they often do not have degrees in management.
They also need to possess certain qualities like leadership capabilities and organizational skills, among other things. This article will help you identify those critical skills and provide information regarding how to develop them.
What is Retail Management?
Retail management is essentially a list of steps that facilitates the functioning of the store. From ensuring that a buyer chooses your store to send them out of the store satisfied, all falls under the purview of retail management.
A retail manager, therefore, needs to don multiple hats. This includes keeping track of the store’s inventory and products. This can prevent the store from missing out on sales by guaranteeing that popular products are always in stock. It also allows a store to gauge what products are selling, place re-orders efficiently, and reduce warehousing costs.
Additionally, it prevents thefts or losses. A retail manager also needs to plan the store layout well. This will ensure that customers can easily find the products they require and optimize their shopping experience. They need to efficiently handle employees under them, making sure that they are assisting customers properly. Assigning employees’ shifts, tracking their performance, and training them is also an essential part of a manager’s job. Thus, it is essentially a manager who assures a good shopping experience for the customer, which directly elevates the store’s reputation and creates brand loyalty.
Key challenges that a retail manager faces
A retail manager has to deal with several challenges in the workplace, especially since the retail sector is getting more fast-paced and competitive. The main challenge is the complexity of their job. They are expected to fulfill several tasks themselves and ensure that their team executes its duties well. They also have to work long hours. The retail sector’s high employee turnover rate also complicates their job, as they have to hire and train new employees regularly. They have to minimize the number of employees leaving the job by adequately engaging and motivating them.
The constantly evolving nature of the retail market means a retail store has to keep rebranding itself. This proves challenging for the retail manager, who has to understand, change customer trends, and modify the store accordingly. Additionally, a lack of training and experience also poses a problem.
Retail managers also often have inadequate experience.
Less than 27% of managers have between 5-9 years of experience, and around 26% have between 10-19 years of experience. (source)
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that retail managers are trained from time to time. They need to cultivate a broad set of skills and refine them regularly.
8 skills needed to succeed as a retail manager
As highlighted earlier, a retail manager has to don multiple hats in their job. Thus, they need to be able to multitask to complete their work on time. They should be able to assist and supervise their team while not letting their work suffer. To multitask efficiently, managers must begin the day by creating a list of tasks. This can give them an idea about what tasks can be grouped and finished together.
Along with multitasking, it is also crucial for managers to efficiently divide their time. They should understand the high-priority tasks and what can be delegated to others. They should set clear goals regarding how much work must be completed during the day and block time slots for each task in their list. They should also know how to eliminate distractions and handle interruptions, not only for themselves but also for their teams.
A manager’s job description requires them to make several decisions during the day. These decisions need to be made quickly; therefore, a manager must make a well-informed decision promptly.
This is one of the most crucial traits that a retail manager should possess. It is imperative to learn not just how to manage your team but rather how to lead them. This will allow a manager to maximize their team’s productivity and help them achieve their full potential. Being a good leader requires developing several interpersonal skills like people management and problem-solving. A good leader can essentially facilitate their team to manage themselves, thus saving time and resources.
Managers need to cultivate organizational skills to ensure the store’s efficient management. In the fast-changing landscape of the retail industry, these skills are becoming increasingly important as they can facilitate rebranding the store. Organizational skills can also help you manage tight schedules and budgets, identify your store’s problems, cut costs, and boost sales.
Effective and impactful communication
Managers should have the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently with their team to ensure that there is no miscommunication. A manager needs to have good listening skills to comprehend his/her employees’ or customers’ issues and fix them. Efficient communication is also a valuable tool for training employees.
Developing motivational skills can help managers inspire their employees to work harder and be more productive. Managers should learn how to provide constructive criticism and feedback to their employees to learn from their mistakes. An inspiring manager can also increase a worker’s job satisfaction and prevent them from quitting their job.
Efficient customer service
Providing efficient customer service should be a manager’s top priority. To do this, a manager needs to understand customers’ needs, behavior, and preferences. They should be able to assist a customer satisfactorily and train their employees to do so as well. Providing efficient customer service ensures that buyers will return to the store and improve sales for your business.
For the development of these skills, managers must receive proper training. Though this can be done in many ways, providing a personalized learning pathway is often the most beneficial.
A personalized learning pathway is a learner-centric approach that is customized to cater to a particular individual. Such an approach facilitates learning as it identifies a learner’s goals, interests, talents, and weaknesses and teaches them according to their learning style. Thus, it can engage learners and help them learn faster. Disprz’s AI-powered platform can help you create personalized learning modules for managers and other employees. It formulates exciting and stimulating content that promotes functional and behavioral advancement. It also ensures that knowledge and skills learned are retained by reinforcing learning through short, daily tasks.
Retail management is the key to your business’ success as efficient management can improve every aspect of the store. A good manager enhances the overall performance of all of the stores’ employees, thus maximizing productivity. They can reduce losses by preventing waste of time and other resources; and promoting sales by ensuring good customer service. Their role is becoming increasingly important as the retail market continues to grow and evolve. Besides, the challenges have increased even more in the retail sector due to Covid-19.
Therefore, stores must change and diversify their approach to sales. Stores need to make digital investments to grow and instill health and safety measures to ensure that their customers visit brick-and-mortar establishments. Only an effective retail manager can guarantee the adequate implementation of these changes and identify new areas where profitability can be increased.