6 Tips for Effective Retail Management

June 13, 2019

There are a lot of retail managers out there who don’t have an effective retail management strategy in place. They simply assign the necessary tasks, give the bare minimum of training to new retail associates, and do little to motivate or inspire their employees. It is easy to do as little as possible, but this won’t increase sales, enhance productivity, or improve overall business success. A retail manager who wants the business and their employees to be as successful as possible needs to implement specific strategies and truly work towards bringing the best out of their retail associates. If you want to develop strong retail management tactics, follow these top retail management tips to enhance your leadership role and effectively harness the power of your retail employees.

Develop a Thorough and Consistent Onboarding Process

If you want all of your employees to be on the same page, you will need to start off on the right foot. A well-developed onboarding process is key to making your new employees feel confident and comfortable with the necessary tasks of their new role.

Rather than just casually guiding new employees through the different technical and customer-facing tasks and processes, create a specific step-by-step training program to go through with each new employee. This may mean creating a physical or digital manual, or drafting a template for you to follow during onboarding. Regardless of the format you choose, it is important to be thorough. Include everything from how to use different technology systems, how to interact with customers, weekly and monthly goals, milestones new hires should meet, and anything else you deem important.

This in-depth and consistent onboarding process ensures every necessary topic is covered, and that every employee is receiving the same information. This is vital for effective retail management, as you will want every one of your employees to have the same idea of your expectations, as well as a consistent understanding of the different practices and processes within the business. No one will be left in the dark or feel unsure of how to go about certain tasks, and everyone will be as prepared as possible for their role.

Give Quick Advice (and Compliments!) on the Sales Floor

If you notice an employee making a mistake or missing an opportunity while working on the sales floor, pull them aside at an appropriate moment to give them advice. Give them an example of how they can improve, and how they can apply a different tactic with the next customer they interact with. This is an effective retail management technique, as it will help employees adapt quickly and adjust their on-the-floor strategies as they go. By using a real-life example, they will more clearly see what they can do better.

Constructive criticism is important, but remember that it is equally as valuable to compliment employees on their performance as well. This helps to reinforce tactics that work well, as well as give them a confidence boost. Compliments will help your employees feel more empowered to show up and deliver their best work. Find times to give the spotlight to individual employees and recognize their good work during team meetings as well. This will help foster a close-knit team, and give other employees a real example of what you are looking for.

Regularly Check in and Give Feedback

Besides the occasional constructive criticism or compliment on the floor, you should carve out scheduled times to check in with employees and give feedback. The training doesn’t stop with onboarding, so in order to create the most effective retail management strategy possible, you will want to continue to nurture your employees and help them grow and enhance their skills.

Depending on what makes the most sense for your business, schedule weekly or monthly meetings with your retail sales associates to go over selling strategies, goals to hit, and any other important happenings within the business. You may want to do individual sessions with employees as well so that you can give targeted feedback. This can be especially valuable in businesses with commissioned sales associates, as it gives you a chance to discuss their sales goals and create an action plan to achieve them. Private sessions will also give you a chance to discuss any weak points certain employees may have, answer any questions, and give them more targeted training.

Increase Productivity by Setting Goals

In order to have an effective retail management technique in place, it is vital that you set both store and individual employee goals. Goals give retail sales associates something to work towards, and in turn they help increase productivity.

By giving employees goals, you won’t have to worry about anyone simply standing around during their shift and not being as productive as possible. If you want your retail sales associates to use their time in-store wisely, it is essential that they have goals in place to guide them. Regularly share the stores overall goals during staff meetings, and work individually with employees to mutually establish goals that work best for them and the needs of the store.

Show Respect and Appreciation

Belittling your employees is a guaranteed way to decrease productivity and lose respect. No one wants to work for someone who doesn’t value their efforts and time, so in order to have an effective retail management strategy, you need to regularly show respect and gratitude for your employees. As mentioned above, give employees compliments when they’ve done something well. Also be sure to ask for their opinion and feedback. Work to create an environment of collaboration and teamwork, rather than one where your employees are simply robots who should do as they are told. Employees will appreciate being engaged and treated as part of a team, and will feel more empowered and motivated to do more than the bare minimum.

Lead By Example

It isn’t easy to look up to a boss who merely talks the talk, but isn’t able to walk the walk. You need to be able to demonstrate retail sales skills, communicate clearly and concisely, and show that it is possible to reach milestones and achieve goals. If employees are able to see that you are able to accomplish the goals you have set, they will feel more motivated and inspired to follow in kind. This will also build up your credibility, and your employees will be much more inclined to take your goals and strategies seriously.

The same goes for knowledge of product. You likely expect your employees to be knowledgeable about the products that are sold in the store, and to be quick to learn about any new product that is shipped in. If you want your employees to look up to you as a leader, ensure you follow those same expectations, and keep up-to-date with what is being carried in the store. You need to be a role model for your employees, not simply a figurehead superior.

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