Managing a retail store in a competitive and dynamic retail ecosystem depends on applying the evolving interplays of retail art, science, and consumer behaviors. While e-commerce may have challenged the retail shopping environment, it has also pushed retailers to create enticing customer experiences and services. Whether it is the store layout, product placement, or brand experience, retailers are bringing it all back to outshine e-commerce! The fundamental objectives of retail management are:
- Increasing customer walk-ins
- Improving sales and revenue
- Building customer loyalty and satisfaction
Key Responsibilities of Retail Management
Product and Inventory Management
Planning, managing, and procuring pertinent products to meet consumer needs is paramount for a retail store. This also means maintaining an optimal inventory level to sell volumes and managing slow sellers to make space for products with selling higher potential. A suitable inventory management tool is essential to managing stock levels, tracking sales targets, ordering stocks, and planning markdowns. When inventory is managed efficiently, the cost of managing inventory reduces, and maintaining adequate stock to fill every order will greatly improve the store’s profitability.
Visual merchandising is one of the most significant aspects of retail service management. A well-designed store with appealing use of architecture, colors, and lighting makes the shoppers feel welcome and interested in exploring the store and its product range. Visual stimulation is key to a brand’s storytelling, introducing product features and enticing the shoppers to make a bit of the experience their own. Balanced and harmonious visual merchandising concepts will not only make all the products visible but also enhance the shopping experience by making it easy and chaos-free.
Operations and Process Management
To run a retail store like a well-oiled machine, various operational processes and workflows must be established. Then the knowledge of these processes has to be imparted to the retail store staff. Staff training for managing a store includes- Product knowledge, store merchandising skills, inventory handling, store maintenance, using the POS systems, customer service, handling the cash counter, and operating other technical tools used to manage the retail store. Using a simple and sophisticated tool like KNOW can digitize your workforce for managing store checklists, daily sales reporting, and even sending timely notifications as reminders. Moreover, for retailers running multiple outlets, KNOW’s shift planning tool meant for multiple stores’ shift management can plot and publish rosters to employees’ phones and also allows for last-minute changes easily.
While these skills are essential for staff members to have, it all starts with hiring capable members and motivating them toward excellent retail store management and customer service. Proper coaching and managing staff performance are the two key facets of successful retail business management. KNOW also provides employee training software to train all your staff the modern way with highly interactive training content with rich media.
Current best practices in managing a retail store
- Capturing store data for informed retail business management. Whether it is sales, transactions, attendance, or store traffic, everything can be measured and score-carded toward improving sales and customer experience.
- Train the trainer and the staff – Store managers and other retail staff should undergo training programs that will build their competencies in bringing the best from the retail store and also succeed in their careers.
- Set targets – Every retail store needs targets based on the respective marketplace’s potential and marketing initiatives. These can be further split into individual targets and incentives to drive greater sales.
- Keep pace with retail technologies that are relevant to running your retail store adequately. For managing several concurrent tasks, apposite technology tools will enable your staff to perform the tasks seamlessly and ensure an exceptional shopping experience for your customers.
- Regular retail store audits are very effective in monitoring and running the retail store smoothly. The comprehensive audit checklist will ensure adherence to critical aspects, from safety and emergency procedures to product knowledge and inventory protocols.
Tips to running your retail store smoothly
Besides following the set processes and protocols, here are some finer nuances to running a retail store efficiently.
Daily team meetings: A daily catch-up with the entire store staff to discuss the task lists, issues, and other store-related matters helps in reaffirming the protocols, store operations, daily targets, etc., and ensuring everyone is aligned with their roles and expectations.
Housekeeping: Ensuring the store is clean before store closing will ease the process of store opening the next day. Make checklists with assigned responsibilities so that the store is clean and spotless.
Closing the registers and store’s POS system: A designated time should be set aside to tally cash, and close the safes and cash drawers. Ensure turning off the point-of-sale system, and safely putting away credit card machines and cash registers in their designated places.
Closing walkthrough: Before store closing, walk the floor once to ensure turning off of computers, electric displays, music systems, lights, televisions, etc.
The future of retail store management
Like every evolving business and trade, in the future, retail stores and their management will evolve to become a multilayered business phenomenon where stores will cater to customers at both retail stores and online with exceptional personalized experiences and unified product fulfillment processes to maximize sell-throughs and customer loyalty. Operations and transactions will heavily rely on technologies such as AI, thus creating time for store staff to focus on customer interaction, experience, and satisfaction. Self-checkout and instant delivery will become the norm.
Successful retail store management is all about harmonizing with the changing business norms, evolving consumers, and operational upgrades. Having a capable retail team for this will be extremely valuable and will help the store grow exponentially in time.