10 Tips for Effective Retail Store Management

The retail industry has had a rocky ride in recent years, but demand for in-person shopping seems to be back on the upswing. Brick-and-mortar retail continues to dominate sales across the United States, accounting for 83.6% of all retail business. That’s a trend that’s expected to continue at least until 2026, and likely beyond. 

In-store shopping has always been big business. It’s the preference for millions of shoppers in the United States who seek out in-store experiences for the customer service, product selection, and competitive pricing. Providing that experience—and reaping the benefits that accompany it—comes down to effective retail store management. 

What is retail store management?

Retail store management includes all of the processes and responsibilities associated with running and managing a retail store.

This includes: 

While specific tasks vary, retail store management is all about ensuring that a brick-and-mortar shop operates as needed to sustain the desired business output while satisfying customer demand for products and services. 

Effective retail store management comes down to a combination of people management and process building. These two converge to create a retail business that operates efficiently, and encourages customers to come back again and again. 

The role of a retail store manager 

A retail store manager is in charge of creating and executing both the people management and process building that’s needed to run the business. They ensure that the operational, commercial, and human resources sides of the business all run smoothly. 

Specifically, a retail store manager is in charge of: 

  • Hiring and training staff
  • Managing and motivating employees
  • Developing strategies to increase customer visits
  • Growing store traffic (potentially online and offline)
  • Meeting sales goals
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction
  • Managing inventory and ensuring stock remains level
  • Stocking shelves and merchandising products 

Of course, a retail store manager isn’t necessarily directly involved with each of the above jobs. Like any good manager, they’re also expected to be exceptional delegators. While they are ultimately responsible for the outcome, they manage and rely on staff to help spread the workload and achieve the desired outcomes. 

4 key retail store manager responsibilities 

Specific responsibilities will vary depending on the size of the retail business, the number of employees, and the amount of product that’s sold through the store. Smaller stores may have a single manager that wears many hats, while larger stores might have role-specific managers who focus on one or two responsibilities. 

Regardless, the key responsibilities of retail store management come down to the following five categories. 

1. Hiring and managing staff

People are a central component of any retail store. As such, retail store managers have a direct hand in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring new staff to fill vacant positions and adequately staff the shop. 

Once employees are hired, retail store managers also play an important role in onboarding and training new staff—either themselves or by delegating to a qualified staff member. Creating and deploying the onboarding curriculum and training schedules also fall into their wheelhouse. 

Lastly, retail store managers are also in charge of setting employee schedules, delegating to managers on duty, and setting goals for their teams. 

2. Improving customer experience

Strong customer service is integral to any successful retail store. As such, retail store managers are directly responsible for setting expectations for customer services levels, and ensuring all staff meet those expectations. 

3. Optimizing store processes

Successful retail stores run on multiple converging processes that allow them to operate at scale. This includes internal operations, procurement, promotions and sales, customer service and support, and finances. Typically, retail store managers are involved in creating and executing these processes (or continuing them from a predecessor). 

4. Supporting growth 

Lastly, retail stores are typically in business to make money (go figure, right?). Growth, therefore, is a key consideration. It’s the retail store manager’s responsibility to find opportunities to drive growth. Think making store improvements, expanding product offerings, hiring more skilled staff, or implementing new training—and to mitigate issues that might lead to losses—like shoplifting, return fraud, or inventory error. 

KPIs for retail store management 

Tracking and reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs) is another important requirement for retail store managers.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of KPIs for retail store management: 

  • Conversion rate (number of sales / visits to the store)
  • Sales per square foot 
  • Sales per employee
  • Average transaction value
  • Year-over-year revenue growth
  • Net and gross profit
  • Customer retention rate 

Tracking and reporting on these metrics is how retail store managers can show progress within the business, and identify opportunities for improvement.

10 tips for retail store management 

Clearly, retail store management isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a lot to juggle, and a lot of people that rely on the retail manager—both internally and externally. 

10 tips to help aspiring or current retail store managers be successful in their role: 

  1. Create strong processes, backed by strong tooling. The only way to juggle all of these responsibilities is to implement repeatable processes, backed by the appropriate tools, to help the business operate efficiently at scale. 
  2. Regularly gather feedback from employees and customers. There’s always room for improvement. Ask employees and customers for feedback on what’s going well, and what could be better. Action that feedback regularly. 
  3. Stay on top of KPIs. These metrics offer valuable insights into what’s going well, and what isn’t. Analyze past trends and current benchmarks to identify parts of the business that need work. 
  4. Maintain good relationships with vendors and suppliers. Supply chains are critical to success in retail. Always maintain good standing with vendors and suppliers to ensure products remain in stock for customers. 
  5. Establish a strong hiring, onboarding, and training process. Recruiting and ramping up new employees helps ensure that your store’s always staffed with the best possible teammates. These are the people who will provide exceptional customer service, and help run the business. 
  6. Automate as much as possible. Reduce administrative burden by automating manual tasks like scheduling, payroll, and inventory. 
  7. Get obsessed with store layouts and in-store experiences. Customers crave positive experiences in-store. Experiment with different layouts and offerings to make the shopping experience a positive one. 
  8. Get involved with your community. Networking and making connections in the community builds interest and loyalty amongst local shoppers. Get involved and carve out a place in your community.  
  9. Establish a loyalty program. Nurture and reward repeat shoppers with loyalty points and exclusive offers. This encourages repeat business, and builds loyalty. 
  10. Create an omnichannel shopping experience. Shoppers today want to browse and buy on their platform of choice—online, in-store, or a hybrid. Think about how to offer this experience in a seamless and integrated way. 

Homebase: your best friend for retail store management 

Retail store managers wear many different hats, and Homebase is the perfect tool to help them do that. With it, managers can build schedules, communicate with their team, track time, and manage HR and compliance documentation all from a single platform. 

Want to learn more? Get started with Homebase today.

Retail store management FAQs

What does a retail manager do?

A retail store manager is in charge of operations and people management for a retail store. This includes managing staff, setting processes to ensure the store runs smoothly, and setting the growth strategy for the business.

What are some challenges of managing a retail store?

The main challenge associated with managing a retail store is the scope of responsibilities that fall to the store manager. They have to wear many different hats simultaneously, which can make it difficult to effectively manage all parts of a business. 

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