Retail Business Management

Retail business managers only manage activities and provide leadership in the retail store, .They get in direct contact with the customers and thus they under the customers better.

Retail management is a specific type of business management in which the management process takes place within a retail store. Retail managers generally have oversight over the inventory of a retail business as well as its employees. Other types of business managers are more involved in more strategic and higher-level decision-making.

Retail Basics

Retail has become much broader in scope in the early 21st century, thanks to the expansion of Internet retailing and other, less-traditional retail channels. Still, most retail business takes place in brick-and-mortar stores. These stores break bulk inventory into single consumable units, hold inventory for purchase, merchandise it to customers, provide services in support of the products, and attempt to satisfy the needs of customers. Retailers typically buy products from wholesalers or manufacturers for resale to end customers.

Unique Characteristics

As noted, retail management is a specific application of business management. Whereas some types of business managers spend significant time in offices planning and making decisions, retail managers more often provide hands-on leadership on the retail sales floor. Retail managers usually hire and train employees to perform their sales, service or other roles in the retail store. Other types of business sometimes have trainers assigned to that role. Many retail managers also interact directly with customers in sales and service activities, which you do not often see in more office-based business management.

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Through leading by example the retail managers ensures team work is applied to save time. With the changes in customer’s taste and preferences retail shops should also adjust accordingly and it is the manager’s job to implement necessary changes.

How do retail managers learn to be effective? Unlike managers in some other industries, comparatively few retail managers have degrees in management. Nevertheless, they face a variety of challenges in a fast-paced, competitive environment.

Key Challenges for Retail Managers

A retail manager’s goal is to maximize productivity. This is tough. Store staffs likely include inexperienced, part-time or seasonal employees. Retail hours are long. Sales targets may seem unreachable. Yet, in this setting, good retail managers thrive. They are skilled in four primary areas.

  • Managing time.
  • Recruiting and supervising staff.
  • Building skilled and motivated sales and service teams.
  • Managing change.

No manager can be effective in just one of these areas. They are interrelated and interdependent.

Time — a Fixed Resource

Tight budgets. Lean staff. Information overload. It’s never been harder for retail managers. Those who manage time well can do these things:

  • Know when to solve a problem immediately, when to put something off and when to delegate.
  • Eliminate time wasters.
  • Handle interruptions.
  • Say “no” to unreasonable demands.

How to Lead, Not Just Manage, Staff

Effective retail managers encourage and facilitate self-management among their personnel. They do this by:

  • Communicating and evaluating performance standards by focusing on specific behaviors and outcomes.
  • Using appropriate reinforcement techniques.
  • Gaining commitment to performance goals.
  • Maintaining an atmosphere that values sharing information in downward, upward and peer-to-peer directions.
  • Coaching for results.
  • Setting realistic goals and follow-up dates.

Teamwork Lightens the Load

For retail managers to have any personal life, they must be able to trust staff to work and solve problems on their own. Skilled managers continually work at:

  • Delegating responsibility.
  • Establishing group goals.
  • Aligning staff people and their roles so that cross-training and cooperation can thrive.
  • Identifying and securing resources so people can do their jobs well.
  • Motivating the team to work together and support each other even in stressful times.
  • Leveraging individual differences and valuing diversity.

In Retail, Change Is a Given

Change in retailing is what drives success. Styles change. Customer needs and wants evolve. Competitors jockey for market leadership. Retail management means managing change by:

  • Anticipating change.
  • Leading group problem solving.
  • Managing transition.
  • Championing innovation.
  • Reducing resistance to change.

Retailers Value Training

According to a study released at the National Retail Federation’s 90th Annual Convention, management skills are the most frequently addressed training subject of US retail companies.

“As retailers expand, acquire properties, reposition or rebrand, managers become the critical players in communicating and instilling change throughout the organization,” stressed Michael Patrick, CEO of MOHR Learning, the company that conducted the study. “Clearly retailers want to make sure their managers have the skills needed to do this job.”

Leadership Is Not Just for Top Management

The good retail manager learns to move from a focus on day-to-day activities to focus on implementing strategies as a leader who’s responsible for moving the organization into the future.

If this is your dream, learn and practice the skills to move your team or department forward decisively and productively.

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