Top Tips on How to Become a Better Manager in Retail

Expert Tips
Rea Regan May 5, 2021 10 min read

Quick Guide

    The best retail store managers wear over a dozen hats and all without missing a beat. From running an efficient and profitable store, scheduling employees, engaging their team, enforcing company policies, and more. Retail store managers can’t afford a slip-up, that’s why hitting and exceeding sales targets and regularly motivating your team is so important in order to be the best retail store manager

    After all, it’s this effort that leads to happier customers – repeat customers at that – and keeps profits churning. Being the very best at what you do, the best leader is critical in retail.

    Only by communicating effectively and honing superb leadership skills can you ensure you meet your targets and help your employees reach their fullest potential. But before we dive in, let’s start at the beginning and hammer down the retail manager job description. When we focus on retail manager skills and retail manager duties, it becomes easier to understand how to become a better manager in retail.

    What is the Full Retail Manager Job Description? 

    Retail store managers must run a successful store. Whether they’re out on the floor or sitting behind a desk, regular contact with their team and customers is a must to ensure their store is successful. From ensuring the best customer service to the store’s financial performance to training new hires, retail manager duties don’t have an off switch. 

    The common retail manager duties include: 

    • Hiring and training staff
    • Managing budgets and financial records 
    • Creating and distributing the work schedule 
    • Handling customer inquiries and complaints
    • Overseeing pricing and stock control
    • Maximizing profitability and setting sales targets
    • Motivating the team to meet sales targets and offer the best customer service
    • Effectively communicating with the team and liaising with the head office
    • Providing a safe and clean work environment 
    • Ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation
    • Preparing promotional materials and displays

    Every manager holds the key to employee satisfaction in order to lead the company to success, sharpening your retail manager skills weaves this all together. Knowing that the skills you need are super broad, we compiled a list of 7 tips to help you excel as a retail store manager

    We compiled seven critical tips on how to become a better manager in retail. 

    1. Set Achievable Goals

    When you set achievable goals and reward accomplishments, you inspire your team to work at a higher level. But don’t just set goals on your own, instead individually talk with your employees and set the goals together. Whatever the goal is (better communication with customers or meeting sales goals), it’s important that you both agree on the goals and track their progress.

    After the goals are set, ask your employees how you can best help them to achieve the goals. It isn’t enough to just set goals, a great retail store manager actually helps their team meet them. Don’t wait for an employee to fall behind, be there every step of the way and work together to find a working solution. 

    A great retail store manager doesn’t throw the hammer down if an employee isn’t meeting expectations, instead, they encourage their team to keep going. 

    2. Focus On Data

    When we outlined the retail manager job description, we mentioned the importance of data as it paints a clear picture if you’re achieving the goals set out. Be sure to assess your progress by interpreting the information gathered from different systems including point of sale, workforce management, or payroll system.

    Whichever system you choose, make sure it integrates flawlessly to provide you with a clear picture of whether you are or are not meeting the objectives created.

    Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. 

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Timely 
    SMART goals
    https://thinkmarketingmagazine.com/how-to-create-smart-goals/

    3. Adopt New Technology

    While it may appear daunting to adopt new technology, there is no doubt that if you’re wondering how to become a better manager in retail, taking full advantage of technology is the ace up your sleeve.

    The right solution makes the job much easier for a retail store manager as you spend less time on daily tasks and more time on what’s most important, your customers and your employees. 

    The following are just a few options that are easier when adopting new technology:

    And like any business owner who is looking to become a better manager in retail, you want the Holy Grain. The all-in-one solution that gets the job done and from a single place.

    “Connecteam is the only app that featured EVERYTHING I needed in one software rather than having to buy several,” says Geoffrey, General Manager

    So what exactly did Geoffrey, and so many other retail managers, gain from using the Connecteam retail app and how did they become a better manager in retail?

    Event scheduling app
    • Automated day-to-day operational tasks to reduce friction from mundane but key activities, enhanced and digitized information flow, offered a quicker response time, and helped managers gain better oversight. Examples include open and close retail store checklist, refunds report, stock order request form, etc.
    • Streamlined internal communication at all levels, from headquarters to store managers, HR to all teams, store managers directly to the employees, between all shift managers, etc.
    • Boost team standards for success and build an engaging company culture with material like shadowing practices during training, manager observation reports, encouraging employees to send reports, and communicating success and employee excellence to the company.
    • Enhance onboarding and build skills by moving everything to the app so it’s centralized and available at any time from anywhere. Include read and sign to acknowledge forms, videos, FAQs, and more like point of sale training, reading customer body language guide, etc.
    • Efficient shift scheduling toplan and distribute schedules, plus include all information with notes like time, position, and special instructions, send push notifications for reminders, etc.
    • Managing time tracking with simple clock in and out capabilities from mobile or Kiosk, export timesheets for payroll, and send automatic reminders to ensure your team clocks in and out on time.
    • For all human resource needs to better manage the team including vacation requests, sick leave, updating contact information, emergency contact lists, manager forms and materials, etc.

    The list of features above makes the life of a retail manager so much easier, and you’re thinking that this sounds super expensive. No way you can get all of this without breaking the bank, right? NOPE. Not even close. The Connecteam retail app offers affordable pricing plans that start at just $39/month! Or, you can use the free plan to see if the app is right fit for you. As far as a top retail manager skill is concerned, implementing technology is a no-brainer. 

    Scale Your Retail Business & Engage Your Team

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    4. Encourage Feedback

    A top retail manager skill is creating an environment where employees feel comfortable to voice their opinions, concerns, recommendations, and more so they can also help make the business better. It’s a win-win.

    Connecteam-Employee-Feedback-Infographic

    Your employees have boots on the ground so they’re exposed to all customer complaints, compliments, and concerns. They may have some ideas up their sleeve that you as a manager never thought out. Creating a space for them to share these ideas also helps them feel motivated and empowered because they are sharing ideas that make them a part of the company’s success. Just make sure you ask for feedback on a regular basis, this isn’t a one-time task to check off.

    If you’re interested in additional tips to engage and motivate your retail team, check out the guide we created here.

    5. Become A Mentor

    Some of your employees may want to pursue a long-term career in retail so make sure you’re taking the time to guide them through this process. The best retail store managers can spot employees who will make great leaders and take them under their wing. 

    Share the knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years so your mentee can avoid any pitfalls that come their way. Mentoring every single team member will only strain your busy schedule and may not be relevant for everyone so be sure to match the veteran employees with new hires to create a mentor-mentee relationship.

    6. Open Communication Is Key

    No retail manager skill is as important as communication. Effectively getting your point across, getting your team to listen, remaining transparent – are vital to you becoming a better manager.

    Loop your employees in about new developments or changes in the company, new hires or retirees (even if they don’t work in the same location), share positive or negative customer reviews, etc. Don’t let your employees hear something about the company through the grapevine, it should come from you. 

    Encourage your team to communicate with you as well so you can avoid a hostile build-up of negative emotions. This way, you can curb conflict before it spirals out of control. 

    5 Tips for Leaders to Communicate More Effectively
    https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/communication-1-idea-3-facts-5-tips/

    7. Listen More

    Going off the last point, communication is vital but so is the art of listening. Never assume anything and always be fully informed, especially when it comes to workplace conflicts or dealing with difficult employees.

    Communication is a two-way street.

    Make sure you get all the facts straight and that means listening, taking notes, and following up with employees. Don’t just ask what the problem is, also ask what solution your employee has in mind before you try to come up with something on your own. 

    Being A Great Retail Store Manager Starts With You

    As we pointed out, there are a lot of aspects to being a great retail manager and with the tips we highlighted above, you can wear as many masks as you’d like without anything falling through the cracks. Whether you’ve been playing this game for a while or are just starting out, these tips will help you become a better manager for your store, your customers, and your employees.

    Connecteam offers retail managers and owners the best tool to effectively manage their business and their employees. 

    Retail Managers Choose Connecteam

    Connecteam’s retail employee app is the best solution to have everyone on the same page. With our mobile-first platform, you can easily communicate with your retail employees in multiple ways, improve professional skills, provide an efficient onboarding experience, get rid of pen and paper with digital forms, checklists, and reports, and take employee engagement to the next level.

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