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retail management

What is Retail Business Management: Perfect Manager’s Guide

11 min read

When it comes to creating a thriving business, having quality leadership is crucial. A retail manager must be able to juggle many tasks at once while keeping an open line of communication with employees, manufacturers, wholesalers, and customers. No matter what may be happening behind the scenes, a manager must be able to keep their cool and remain focused on serving the customers.

When retail management is overwhelmed, customers can usually tell. If there are long lines of dissatisfied customers, employees running around frantically, or misplaced store items, it is usually due to poor leadership. In fact, the responsibility of a retail business is in the hands of a retail manager.

This article will discuss what a retail manager does, the different tools of retail management, and much more.

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What is Retail Management

We’ve all seen a movie or TV show where a frustrated customer demands to speak with a retail manager. This manager usually comes out, acts courteously, and helps customers get what they need. This is only one facet of a retail manager’s job. You may ask, what is retail management exactly?

While the main goal of retail management services is to satisfy the customer, the process of doing so takes a lot of maneuvering behind-the-scenes. Retail business management is the multi-step process of bringing customers to the products they desire and then effectively selling it to them. A quality manager is able to balance the following things:

  • Teaching employees how to engage with customers
  • Motivating employees to make sales
  • Hiring and firing staff
  • Training new staff
  • Creating schedules and organizing shifts
  • Coordinating transportation of goods, storage of goods, and warehouse operations
  • Controlling the temperature, visual displays, lighting, and product placement of the merchandise
  • Mitigating conflicts between staff members
  • Making sure that employees comply with health and safety regulations
  • Developing and implementing strategies that bring more customers into the store
  • Meeting sales goals and expectations
  • Staying on top of inventory changes
  • Taking control of accounting and payments by overseeing the store’s financial accounts
  • Figuring out ways to continue to grow in profitability
  • Preventing customers from shoplifting
  • Ensuring that each customer leaves the store satisfied
  • Going above and beyond to make sure the customer feels valued

Believe it or not, retailers are growing at a rapid rate. Even as ecommerce continues to blossom, brick-and-mortar stores are on the rise once again in the last couple of years. This makes great leadership more important than ever. If businesses intend to compete with ecommerce in the long run, they will need to ensure that customers can find everything they need in-store.

What is a Retail Manager Trying to Improve?

The world of retail is highly competitive. With so many businesses jockeying for positions, staying stagnant is simply not an option. Retailers must continue to learn how to boost sales and expand their business. This starts with creative management. So, what is a retail manager trying to improve?

The experience of the customer

In business, the customer is the most important person in the room. Making sure they feel seen, heard, and valued is a great way to build a connection that will last over time. Having an army of loyal customers is crucial to thriving businesses.

Not only should retail managers put the customer first, but they are also responsible for instilling that mindset in their employees. Being able to show their employees the importance of a caring, attentive approach is half the battle for most retail managers. Here are a few ways to enhance the experience of the customer:

  • Offer fast and proactive service
  • Be warm, friendly, empathetic, and patient
  • Persuade but do not lie or make false claims
  • Adapt depending on the customers’ needs
  • Use positive and supportive language
  • Communicate clearly and directly
  • Maintain self-control even if a customer is unkind
  • Take accountability for your actions and speech
  • Offer consistent service to each customer
  • Make the experience painless and easy
  • Make the customer feel special

The optimization process: how the store runs

In order to maintain a smooth operation, retail managers must balance customer service, employee management, profit growth, and supply chain efficiency. Retail managers are expected to do the following:

  • Plan for success. Without a proper plan in place, the finances, staffing needs, and supplier logistics can easily get chaotic. A retail manager should plan out each aspect to make sure nothing catches them by surprise.
  • Procure the products you need. Before you are able to sell products, it’s crucial to find suppliers that will sell you quality products at a reasonable rate. A good retail manager will do their homework and find the best and cheapest options available.
  • Have a system in place to receive and sell products. Be ready to communicate, receive shipments, package, and sell the products you have purchased from a supplier. Each step should be fluid and repeatable.
  • Promote and effectively sell products. Just because you have quality products in your store doesn’t mean anyone will buy them. It’s important to know how to get the word out to potential customers and then know how to close the deal. Retail managers should utilize social media and other forms of marketing to optimize profits.
  • Serve and support the customers. As mentioned above, customer support is absolutely essential to any thriving business. Businesses with great marketing and products will not thrive unless their customer support is top-notch.

Improving efficiency

As a business grows, it becomes increasingly important to manage all aspects of your business as efficiently as possible. Retail management software is meant to make the life of a retail manager much easier. Retail software can assist managers with scheduling employee shifts, keeping track of customer information, checking out customers, and keeping track of finances. This can be a great way to monitor store performance. Sales goals, footfall, conversation rate, and average basket size can all be easily measured using retail management software.

Many businesses also implement retail inventory management software in their retail management system. This is done to keep tabs on any products that are entering and/or leaving the store and mitigate shrinkage. Whether or not retail lead management is at fault, they are still responsible for shrinkage. Shrinkage refers to the loss of inventory due to:

  • Administrative error (management or staff improperly counting)
  • Employee theft
  • Return fraud
  • Shoplifting or customer theft
  • Vendor fraud

Growth of the company brand

Now more than ever, businesses depend on their brand in order to thrive. How the public perceives your business plays a major role in its success. Creating a clear and inviting image and building a good reputation is essential. Brand growth can be done in the following ways:

  • Continue to improve the quality of products in the store
  • Make the store more visibly inviting
  • Open up new stores
  • Offer more options and a variety of products
  • Produce products at a faster pace
  • Spend extra money on marketing campaigns
  • Put more focus on building traction on social media
  • Hire more skilled staff

Perhaps the most essential part of building a brand is creating loyal customers. Loyal, recurring customers are likely to tell their friends and family about the businesses they love. Even in the world of social media, word-of-mouth is still the most valuable branding resource for any retail business.

Learning about each product

A great way to be an effective retail manager or employee is to do your homework on each product. The more you’re able to talk about a product positively, the more likely you are to make a sale.

Many customers entering a retailer are looking for something, but they aren’t always sure what they want. Being able to educate them about each product will make you appear more trustworthy and knowledgeable. In turn, customers will be more likely to purchase the item.

Improve your retail property management

In addition to helping the business thrive, a retail manager must maintain and care for the property itself. With so much to do, it’s easy to lose focus on ensuring the appearance and cleanliness of the store.

Due to COVID, proper retail property management has become more important than ever. Be sure to stay on top of health and safety regulations. Doing so will allow your retail store the opportunity to continue to grow.

Sign Up for Ecwid by Lightspeed and Grow Your Retail Business

Are you a retailer or business owner? Ecwid by Lightspeed is eager to help you grow! Our role is to assist businesses in their goal to sell anything, anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Ecwid by Lightspeed makes building and managing a business easier than ever through its state-of-the-art POS system. You don’t need to do everything on your own. Let our team at Ecwid simplify the process for you.

To learn more about how to sell, market, and manage your up-and-coming businesses, sign up for Ecwid today!


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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