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How to be a successful retail manager

Updated on September 26, 2012

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Train your people
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Do you know what it's like?

Have you ever worked in retail?

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What store has the worst customer service?

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What is the job like?

Anyone who has ever worked in the retail industry knows exactly how challenging that it can be. With corporate walks, competition, customer service, and inventory. Your corporate offices demand so much of you, and by all means you have to deliver. I remember working 12 hour days and sometimes up to 20 hours to prepare for different events. This type of stress can put risk to you but also your relationship. It's a hard life, but for those who work in this industry know the payoff and also the hardships involved in retail. With all of the bad things also comes some positives as well. For any one who wants to own their own business you will learn allot from merchandising to customer service. You will also learn how to keep inventory and how to drive sells.

As with any job this one more importantly requires your full commitment. The first thing that anyone who takes on a new role at a job needs to know is to know your business. Understand the company expectations, your stats, and most importantly how to take care of your people. You need to know what your customers like and don't like to buy. Figure out what are your top selling items in overall dollars and also so total units sold. You will find that while you will sell allot of an item you may not see allot of dollars mainly because of the price. Cheaper items sell more. Top selling dollar items let's you know what items are bringing in the most money. These are the core items that you will want to build around. Understand these items, and look for ways to cultivate them. These items should have a good, better, and best choice option for customers to choose from. Next other items that can be used for or with them. If you were selling a hardware store, and you top selling item were cordless drills then you will wants drill bits and cordless batteries merchandised next to the drill. It's about selling add on items, this is how you turn a $100 sell into $105. Even though it doesn't seem like much it adds up. With every customer that shops with you, you should be trying to add more items to their cart. Another aspect that managers should be looking at are your mark ups. Now if you are not familiar with this term it basically the amount you buy your products for and the mark up is the amount you will be selling those items for. Each day millions of shoppers look for items that are on sale or clearance, but all it is are the items being brought down closer to what it really cost. You should make sure that your team understand what the different products you sell, which items make the most money for you and how to sell related items.


Everyday that you turn on the t.v. or listen to the radio companies are trying to tell you how good their customer service is. That's because in a struggling economy people are spending less and while we are looking for the lowest prices we they are also looking for great customer service. Bad customer service can ruin a company over time. Think of how many times you have had a bad experience in a store or at a restaurant. The first thing that you probably said was that you are never going back to that place, and also told a couple of friends about it. Word of mouth spreads quickly like a virus and over time can be like a death sentence. Members in your team should understand the importance of providing great customer service at all times. There will be situations in which customers will prove to be a challenge, but you should try as much as possible to solve complaints or problems as quickly as possible. Always take care of your customers and thank them for their business, building relationships with them means customer loyalty to your brand.


Inventory is a scary but necessary part to any business. Not only ensuring that all pieces are accounted for, but also to be sure that you are not sitting on dead weight. In most of the bigger retail stores which are traded on wall street, inventory can be very important. Being to much over inventory shows that you are either not selling enough merchandise, but also that you are sitting on the wrong stuff. Another thing to watch for is theft. With the struggling economy retail theft has been on the rise each and every year. No what items are being stolen and do routine checks to keep an accurate count of them. Set up a game plan to control the amount on shelf, and how many are ordered. Also take a look into theft devices to help prevent theft of that item.


When it comes to those that are under your direction you must be able to provide a balance. Reward those who are doing a great job for you and hold them accountable when they aren't. Figure out your strongest worker and develop them. Teach them different things about your job and identify areas in your job that they can help you with. If you hate doing reports, teach them that so that you will not have to do it. They should be like you assistant, able to handle aspects of your job when you are away. This helps you focus on ways to increase sales, or getting in product. Most importantly find ways to make you job easier.





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