Retail Management

Know more about the basics of retail management, the responsibilities and skills of retail managers, and how retailers can optimize operations with best practices.

gestion du commerce de détail : responsable de magasin dans les opérations quotidiennes de vente au détail

What is Retail Management?

Retail management is the process of running and managing retail outlets’ day-to-day activities surrounding the selling of goods and services to customers. It is the process that aims to make sure that customers are happy with the goods and services they purchase and that retail outlets run smoothly and remain profitable.

Why is Retail Management Important?

Retail management is crucial to the success of any retail store. The key to any effective retail management strategy is the individual store managers. They take care of store employees, help achieve sales goals, assist with maintaining customer satisfaction, oversee the daily activities of the retail outlet, and empower colleagues who may be potential retail store managers in the future.

Retail Management Process

The process of retail management has evolved from managing a physical store in one location to handling retail outlets around the world, concentrating efforts on virtual shops or online shopping. The retail management process, as we know it today, entails several key concepts in the fields of business administration, finance, and marketing. Here is the end-to-end retail management process to help you get started in the world of retail:

1. Identify the problem you want to solve

Through intentional problem-solving with the help of root-cause analysis techniques such as the 5 Whys method, retail management wannabes can dive deep into the problem, so they can offer better solutions to solve them. Strategically collecting and reviewing information about competitors through competitive analysis also helps retail managers determine whether the problem they aim to solve has yet to be fully or easily solved. This gives you the advantage of doing what they cannot do or have not yet done.

2. Understand the people you want to help

Once the problem to be solved has been identified, the next step in the retail management process is market research, or gathering information about the consumers’ needs and preferences. At this point in the retail management process, the goal is to validate the reality, impact, and value of the problem you want to solve for the people you want to help.

3. Develop and test your product or service

In developing your product or service, supply chain management (e.g. sourcing and procurement) becomes crucial. You want to make sure you have high-quality materials for the most reasonable price, so you can make your product or deliver your service most cost-effectively. Getting feedback through customer satisfaction surveys can help retail management improve the product or service by better aligning with their customers’ wants and needs.

4. Address all legal and financial matters

Before going to market, the retail management needs to deal with all the necessary compliance audits, safety inspections, and quality certifications, especially when it comes to product labeling for international retailers.

In today’s retail industry, cyber security and consumer privacy have become compliance risks that retail management should address. Adhering to the suggested retail price and paying sales tax on products and services sold in certain states should also be addressed by retail managers.

5. Specify and prepare administrative needs

Even upon settling the legal and financial areas of the retail business, the retail management still has to consider and manage the manpower needed (e.g. sales representatives, customer support, training and development) and the communication channels established, or the media touch points you will have with your customers based on their journey.

Inventory management, or the supervision of the flow of goods from the manufacturers to the point of sale, should also be taken care of—from overseeing restock levels to preventing under-stocking and overstocking.

6. Promote your retail brand, product, or service

Marketing, or the strategies for presenting offerings that have value for customers, including advertising, the activity of placing online and offline store advertisements, should be employed to drive awareness toward your products and services, generating sales from your target audience.

7. Always ensure continuous improvement

If retail managers think about it, there is no end to the retail management process as they should continuously improve how they do business to thrive in the market.

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Retail Store Manager Responsibilities

Store managers are key to maintaining the profitability of retail stores, and their colleagues can turn to them for help with the following:

  • Taking care of store employees – Store managers are involved in the hiring, induction, onboarding, training, coaching, and supervision of the store’s staff. The store manager can empower the staff with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to communicate with customers and do their job well.
  • Taking care of the store – Store managers can assist in monitoring product pricing, keeping track of store expenses, maintaining the set standards for quality, and helping the staff identify items that may not be at par with the store’s standards.
  • Grooming future retail store managers – Sharing best practices on how to properly interact with customers, showing how things are done in the retail outlet, helping keep the workplace safe, and maintaining a working environment that is conducive to productivity and set to reach sales goals – these are some of the ways store managers can help the retail store produce new store managers. One way to help employees set themselves up for success is by giving them proper employee coaching.

Store Manager Skills

According to the UK National Careers Service, here are some of the skills retail store managers should possess:

  • The ability to lead and motivate a team.
  • Excellent communication and ‘people’ skills
  • The ability to work under pressure and handle challenging situations
  • Confidence, drive, and enthusiasm
  • Decision-making ability and sense of responsibility
  • The ability to understand and analyze sales figures

Retail Store Operations Best Practices

Here are some best practices for retail managers to optimize their store operations:

5S Lean Store Design and Layout

To keep retail stocks fresh, store managers need to create an environment where goods can be easily seen and accessible, ideally within their reach or a few movements away. 5S Lean is a set of organizational principles that retail managers can apply to the store’s design and layout. Implementing the 5S in retail stores can help focus inventory and shelf space on what can turn quickly, both for online and offline sales.

The Daily Back-Front Approach

Retail managers can practice the back-front approach of store operations every day to take a proactive approach toward retail management. By doing a daily walkthrough from the backroom to check cleanliness and orderliness, retail managers can make their presence felt, boosting employee morale and getting a more accurate picture of in-store proceedings, catching improvement opportunities.

World-class Customer Experience

A great customer experience can all start with a general retail audit, where you evaluate the store, employees, and processes and check if brand merchandising is up to standard. One of the best ways to offer a great customer experience is through personalization, especially for your return customers, as studies have shown that they buy more than new customers and overall keep your retail business afloat.

Conducting Retail Management Training to Keep Up with the Times

Today’s retail training can be proactive to prepare for what’s ahead better. As long as retail management keeps their customers at the heart of everything they do, together with their properly trained staff using the right training tools, the retail company or brand will be optimally positioned for innovation.

SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)’s Training is the right platform for your retail management training needs. Using Training, easily transform your retail management Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and best practices into training slides that are interactive, visually appealing, and easy to understand.

But that’s not all – you can also make this accessible to your team using their preferred devices. And with Training’s offline access, they can brush up on their skills even without an internet connection.

Retail Management FAQs

The word ”retail” comes from the Old French word “retaillier” which literally means “to cut back, cut off, reduce”. Since the early 15th century, the term has been used to describe the “sale of commodities in small quantities or parcels”.

Working in retail can be so horrible for people who find it difficult to accept that the customer always comes first. Retail personnel can often feel deprived of their rights to defend themselves when consumers approach them with their concerns, especially petty ones. Working in retail can help people develop active listening, effective communication, and conflict resolution.

Thriving in the retail industry can be so hard as the competition is tough, the market is vast, and if you don’t innovate fast enough, then your retail company will soon die. It can be all the more difficult when unexpected business disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic limit, completely put your entire retail operations to a halt.

Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.