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Retail Management Guide : How To Keep Your Store Running Smoothly

Managing a retail store can be daunting.  Retailers, regardless of size or sector, face numerous hurdles. As a store owner or manager, you are responsible for training your staff, keeping customers happy, maintaining good stock levels, and a variety of other duties.

Staying on top of things demands not just a strong skill set, but also the proper mentality.

No matter how effectively you train your staff, the competence of your employees plays an integral role in the productivity of your business. This goes beyond finding experienced employees and colleagues. You should also consider each candidate’s natural characteristics and temperament to ensure that they are compatible with your brand.

In other words, seek to hire for attitude and train for skills.

“While relevant professional expertise is important, don’t underestimate candidates’ soft abilities and personality qualities,” says Eric Carrell, Marketing Advisor at SurfShark. When it comes to hiring new personnel, I believe most firms agree that culture fit is crucial.”

“Take your time,” Carrell advises.

“Start with seasonal employment instead of waiting until it is too late. When it comes to hiring, take your time. The onboarding process is critical, and training should continue.”

Set a good example

Great leaders don’t just tell people what to do; they teach them how to accomplish it by setting a good example.

“Walking the walk” promotes better employee connections and motivates your team members to follow your lead. If you want something done, consider doing it yourself in the first place. Also, make sure to demonstrate to your staff the best way to fulfill their responsibilities.

Set up and record repeatable procedures

When you set effective operational procedures and mark clear expectations, it’s easier for your staff to dedicate their skills while also boosting customer experience. This begins with the implementation of a retail operations handbook and the subsequent training of staff on how to follow the instructions.

So, make it a point to build repeatable procedures in your shop and ensure that they are well documented. This not only makes it easy for your team to adopt your policies, but it also frees up your time to focus on other retail management chores. With well-established SOPs, your staff may accomplish their jobs without having to consult you unless absolutely necessary.

Get to know your staff

Employees may demand various management techniques based on how they are wired. To determine how to manage your staff, you must make the effort to get to know them. This does not imply prying on them or invading their privacy. Let them open up to you on their own. With this, you will not only improve your leadership abilities, but you will also boost morale and camaraderie among your team.

Consider having one-on-one talks with your employees. Take them out for a casual lunch or ask them questions about who they are and why they took on their jobs. Most employees harbor hidden traits that only experienced managers can bring out.

While you’re at it, also evaluate your listening abilities. If you’re a good listener, you’re surely getting to know your coworkers both professionally and personally.

Set and achieve tough but doable objectives.

Achieving your objectives begins with recognizing them in the first place. After all, becoming successful is a pipe dream if you don’t know what success looks like.

Before guiding your team, be sure you’ve established clear objectives. This will help you devise an optimal retail approach on how to assess performance.

Make goal planning a team effort

Setting reasonable objectives and recognizing successes drives your workers to perform at a higher level.

But keep in mind to not create goals on your own; instead, discuss with your staff individually and develop goals together. If your goal is better customer satisfaction or meeting sales objectives, it’s vital that both you and your staff agree on it and measure its success.

Once you’ve set goals for your team, you should keep a close eye on how they’re doing and be ready to help when needed.

Don’t wait for an employee to lag behind. Be there for them at every step of the way while cooperating to find a solution that works. If an employee fails to meet expectations, a skilled retail business manager does not slam the door in their face; instead, they encourage their staff to “keep going.”

Integrate technology in your day-to-day operations

The right solution simplifies your job by allowing you to spend less time on monotonous tasks and more time on what matters most to your customers and employees.

Part of your duty as a retail store manager should be to invest in relevant technology for your business. Now, the ideal tools to use will be determined by your shop. For some stores, the best course of action is to improve their POS (point-of-sale system). Others are embracing online solutions and connecting their in-store technology with ecommerce.

Determine your store’s requirements by analyzing inefficiencies from the perspective of your customers as well as your staff. Here, technology may be able to help you by touching on certain pain points and improving overall productivity. Speak with your staff and find out what sorts of tools will make their tasks simpler. Taking these steps will guarantee that you’re investing in the correct retail technology.

Delegate properly

Successful store management does not include doing everything yourself. It is about enabling individuals around you to carry out the essential programmes and responsibilities. Your role is to supervise, not to micromanage.

As a result, effective work delegation is critical.

Proper delegation guarantees that workers are held accountable for what happens while they are in control. It also encourages your staff to strive for excellence in their work.

With this, make sure to foster a sense of ownership in your staff. Let them know they’re not just striking off items from a to-do list. Rather, they are in charge of the outcome of their job.

“If you are merely following a to-do list, it becomes difficult to tell who is genuinely at fault when anything goes wrong,” Crane says. However, if you choose a champion for each department, that person will be held accountable for any faults that occur under their supervision. This level of accountability will also motivate staff to work hard to ensure that their sector succeeds successfully.”

Be transparent 

Trust is a crucial component of successful retail management, and one of the most effective methods to establish trust is to promote a feeling of openness and transparency in the workplace.

As a retail manager, you must strive to be as honest as possible in how you handle your staff, customers, suppliers, and other partners.

This will eventually help build a culture of trust and reliability, which contributes to a more enjoyable work environment. Transparency will also increase your colleagues’ respect for you, which is necessary if you want to lead effectively.

Establish and convey your standards

One of the most important roles of a retail manager is to create standards. Your staff must understand what is expected of them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t know what is good and what is bad.

So, take the effort to create and communicate your store’s standards to your team members.

This includes recording your company’s standards and conveying them to your workforce on a regular basis. Make an effort to reinforce those norms through check-ins and reminders.

It may also be beneficial to highlight individuals who are effectively displaying and embodying your standards, so that other team members may learn from them.

Have your team’s back

Never lose sight of the fact that your employees’ well-being is of the utmost importance.

“Customers are the most crucial aspect of any retail business, but remember, they are not always right,” says Isla Sibanda, the owner of Privacy Australia. “When one of your customers complains, it is better not to resort to berating your workers.”

This can actually contribute to destroying their self-esteem and causing bitter sentiments towards management and the store itself.

We strive to always support our staff. And if they do anything wrong, confront it privately and always be courteous.

In these cases, Sibanda suggests transferring them to another area of the shop or stockroom “where you can guide them without humiliating them.”

Keep track of the data in your store

You can’t manage or enhance something you don’t measure. As a result, maintaining track of your retail KPIs is critical.

Management should track sales, staff productivity, sales from each employee, and customer turnaround times.

This will give you a better understanding of where your store stands, and you could also compare it with other periods of the year or other stores if you are in several locations, and it will help you project your objectives and communicate them with your staff.

Using a retail analytics system that automatically captures your sales, inventory movements, staff actions, and other data is the simplest way to stay on top of your data.

Be forward-thinking and adaptive

If you want to be a great retail manager, you must guarantee that you are in the best possible position to succeed in the future.

This is when foresight and adaptation come into play.

You should always be looking forward to discovering trends, opportunities, and risks that are relevant to your firm. Take note of what could happen in the future and be ready to act.

“The capacity to pivot and shift with trends and difficult times is crucial for all retail managers,” says Liraz Birnbaum, founder of Lula’s Garden.

“This was especially true following the epidemic, when many shop establishments suffered with sales.” However, when additional limits were relaxed, many managers were able to bounce back stronger than before.

“The difference between those stores that failed and those that thrived were the managers who were able to think outside the box fast and efficiently,” Birnbaum says.

So, how do you keep ahead? Michael Humphreys, founder & CEO of Z Grills Australia, suggests conducting market research and analysis.

“Change may be the only constant in the retail sector.” Consumer trends and tastes are dynamic and vary over time. “Market research offers a foundation for future market decisions.”

Retail managers must “be ready for change.” Be on top of buying trends. The pandemic has demonstrated how fast products that were infrequently purchased might become essential. Consider how masks and hand sanitizer sales have fared in the previous two years. This calls for more flexibility, avoiding overstock, and constantly maintaining routes open with wholesalers to assure supply.

Final thoughts

Managers are — and will continue to be — crucial in retail. And, in today’s hyper-competitive environment, good managerial abilities may make all the difference. The tips and advice in this post are intended to get you thinking about how you can improve your retail management skills.

Good luck!

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