To understand the roles and duties of a store manager, it’s helpful to think of the overall structure of the store. In retail chain stores, there’s going to be a structure of staff, whereas smaller independent stores will have one manager to manage everything in that store. In a larger company, such as supermarkets, the hierarchy will look like:
In this company structure, you’d be responsible for the one store assigned to you, with upper management to report to.
In the independent stores, you’d be at the top of the hierarchy as there’s no need for a general manager or an area manager. The duties are the same, but the main difference in the size of your employer, is that independent store managers, don’t have a chain of command in place.
The operations of the store rest solely on the store manager.
This is priority. Without the right staff on the shop floor, you will have problems. You’ll be responsible for the recruitment of staff, then training them up for the job, putting steps in place for performance evaluations, to continuously ensure that your staff are working efficiently and professionally on the shop floor.
You can’t do all the work yourself. You will need to structure your staff, so that there are management available for customers to speak to, should any issues arise.
The performance evaluations will let you know which of your staff, have the best people skills, problem solving abilities, and good organisational skills.
When you identify those qualities in your personnel, you can be sure that the person you’re putting into a supervisory role has the skills you need them to have. It lets you recruit from the bottom line, training retail assistants in line with your procedures, and then develop a workforce trained to your specifications.
This is the top priority of successful store managers. The way the store is run, will be treated as though it were their own store. The buck falls at your feet. You have staff to pay at the end of the week or month.
There’s overheads to be paid, and profits to be made.
That always needs to be kept in mind, as it is a high responsibility. Without turning a profit, you won’t have a store to manage.
In a store, the shelves need to be stocked. Running low in inventory will lead to lower sales. You need to make sure there’s sufficient stock to replenish shelves, making products available for customers when they shop for them. That will involve monitoring the sales of the store, so you can know what the trending products are that are selling fast, so you can replenish items, leading to improved sales.
There will be times when you have products just taking up shelf space and not making sales. Monitoring your sales, will help you identify what isn’t shifting, and then you need to do a cost analysis, to find a price point where you can lower the sale price, making the offers more attractable to consumers to buy.
You could find that there comes a point when you have to sell stock at a loss, to free up store space for more profitable products to be sold.
That’s the decisions you will have to make as a store manager.
As you will have a team of people working in the store, you’ll need to have the skills to get on with them. Speaking professionally with them and encouraging feedback. An approachable store manager succeeds the most, as staff will be able to come to you with any problems they have. Since problems in any area of life, affects the work people do, it’s best to know right away what the issues are, sort out leave where applicable, and arrange for cover, as it will keep the standards of customer service up. This could also need you to act as mediator if there are issues between staff on the shop floor. There will be times you have to be tough, but other situations could need a bit more of an empathetic approach. That’s two different management styles most store managers don’t have. It’s usually one or the other. A tough business attitude is needed to deal with suppliers, ensuring deliveries are on time, and perhaps to negotiate bulk order pricing. In terms of your team though, they are part of your success and need to be treated with respect. No matter how stressed your workload becomes, your team are there to help you. When they need help themselves, you should be adaptable to offer your assistance wherever possible. Even as manager, you are still a team member.
As a store manager, sales are what make you successful.
Your team members are there to help you with sales at the face-face customer service level, as well as keeping the shop clean, tidy and clutter free. In terms of where the items are placed though, you should be able to use visual perception as a tool to increase your sales. That will need you to think creatively about where you’re locating different products.
Customers buying a garden gnome are probably going to be more interested in barbeque equipment, than kitchen pots. You need the visual layout to be useful to customers, making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, while making use of cross-promotions, to increase sales opportunities.
In retail, there’s one issue that leads to losses and that’s the issue of theft. You will need to be aware of that, perhaps employing security guards, but the main way this is managed is through CCTV equipment.
You’ll need to have anti-theft measures in place as it could mean the difference between making an overall profit, only to lose it in missing stock inventory, resulting in lower profit margins.
For a store manager, you’d usually start out in this profession, working with an independent retail store. Usually this is done through internal promotions, but switching between stores, can see you progress in the field as well.
Once you’ve reached the position of a store manager, gaining invaluable experience, and a record of accomplishment, you can further develop from there to take on additional responsibility. That can see your career progress onto becoming a general manager, area manager, or perhaps even a regional manager, working out of headquarter offices, for large chain stores.
It all starts when you get involved in retail at any level, as there are no entry requirements.
To progress, you can do this internally with companies, some of whom will put you through any training they prefer their staff to have. You’d typically start out as a retail assistant, progressing onto supervisor, perhaps a shift manager, if the store opens long hours, then onto become a store manager.
It’s a career that you can continually progress within, and by the end of your career, you could be at the top of your profession, advising new store managers, on improvements to better their stores and careers.