The path leading to a successful business enterprise is often challenging, and it is more so in today’s dynamic and frequently changing retail environment.
The pandemic clearly put the entire retail ecosystem to test, and the stories of the surviving businesses point directly or indirectly to their retail leadership abilities. Every aspect of retail management had to be revisited and modified to adapt to the new norms, be it footfalls, store maintenance, product management, or implying the new and critical safety rules, to name a few.
Here are some of the top most valuable traits that have helped brands and companies not only stay afloat in dire situations but also show steady growth and stability.
Retail leadership’s role in understanding the market situation and making critical decisions
The mercurial retail environment is prone to constant changes and requires timely decisions to maneuver the business back on track toward achieving the set goals. A key part of retail leadership is to have the ability to make difficult decisions frequently and skilfully manage change within a short time span.
At times, when your retail leadership abilities are put to the test with multifaceted challenges, the best way to map your path to solutions is to introspect on the key aspects that are being affected. Is it the store’s customer serviceability or shortcomings in the sales team? After identifying the root cause, work on an erudite strategy to improve the condition and establish robust processes.
Retail leadership’s role in building high-performing teams
Change, adaptation and cohesiveness are of paramount importance for a successful retail team. Establishing these core values is a critical responsibility of a retail leadership team. Retail store teams need to be up to date with their training on the brand protocols and deliverables.
Product knowledge, store maintenance, inventory management, POS management, and customer service skills have to be deeply instilled in the team. The retail leadership team should maintain open and clear communication with sales and service teams. It is in their hands to motivate the staff and give feedback on a regular basis to improve retail store management.
Establishing trust across teams and maintaining an empathetic and supportive environment is critical in avoiding conflicts and disagreements while adapting to change. Clear and effective communication, which includes instructing, delegating as well as listening to the team, helps in making calculated decisions and easier executions.
The ability to stay positive and cascade it to the retail store teams is a valuable trait. Moreover, a highly motivated retail team is greatly effective, especially during stressful and uncertain times.
A highly successful way to motivate and maintain enthusiasm in the team is by sponsoring employee – offsites. This could mean taking the team out for lunch or any other suitable outing, giving them a break from the norm, and also bonding with each other. Managers can also use this time to take feedback for improving communication or the functioning of the store.
Setting goals, KPIs, and performance expectations
Measuring Key Performance Indicators and tracking the various retail matrices are fundamental to a growth-oriented retail environment. This would also mean flawless communication with the sales and service teams, specifically on the expected disposition and outcomes.
Commitment being a two-way street, apposite reinforcement systems need to be set in place. Retail store leadership must express their vision of customer service and management expectations clearly. While setting commitment toward performance goals is important, the staff must also be set up to achieve their goals successfully — leadership in retail needs to ensure adequate resources for the staff to perform well.
Coaching and positioning the staff in their dedicated roles further helps cross-train and mentor new staff on the go. Having said that, Business leadership should also be able to speak up if the manager or team is underperforming and support them to overcome issues if any. When goals are met or exceeded, teams have to be incentivized appropriately to appreciate and encourage their conduct and performances.
Maintaining and promoting cohesive and supportive work environments
While setting goals and values is important for running a retail store, maintaining a cohesive atmosphere is essential to bear the test of time and adversities. This entails encouraging information sharing across the board, be it peer-to-peer, upward, or downward communication. The goal of every retail professional should be to champion innovative and effective ways to manage retail stores and customers.
Another unpredictable aspect of retail store teams is their rate of attrition. At times, the teams may be on a constant transition management cycle, re-grouping the teams, their roles, and re-delegating responsibilities. This is where embracing and leveraging individual strengths and valuing diversity becomes an advantage in reducing resistance to change.
Retail Leadership is responsible for making or breaking the business! They oversee all aspects of their company or brand’s retail operations, from recruiting and managing retail staff to motivating, training, and measuring performances. Ultimately, it is their responsibility to drive revenue growth at individual stores in their portfolios by building strategies to increase store traffic and sales.