12 Retail Store Manager Tips to Help You Excel in the Role

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A retail store manager is a customer service professional responsible for the daily operations of a retail or department store. Like other professions, it's crucial that retail store managers research the role and discover valuable knowledge that can help them excel in the position. If you're considering becoming or are already a retail store manager, you can benefit from reading helpful advice about the role. In this article, we provide a comprehensive list of 12 retail store manager tips you can use to improve in this role.

12 retail store manager tips

Here's a comprehensive list of 12 retail store manager tips you can use to help you excel in this role:

1. Know your responsibilities

Whether you're new to the role or have experience as a retail store manager, it's vital that you understand your responsibilities. You can always ask your supervisor if you're uncertain about your obligations or if you have questions about completing them. Some duties retail store managers typically have are:

  • hiring and training new store employees

  • managing store inventory and ordering new products as necessary

  • facilitating customer returns for damaged products

  • overseeing the store and ensuring that all departments in the store are functioning properly

  • serving as a resource on store information and policies for customers and employees

  • implementing promotions, deals, and other strategies to reach the store's sales goals

Once you understand your duties, it's vital that you complete them effectively. For routine tasks, you can consider creating a daily or weekly checklist containing various duties you can check off as you complete them. For example, if you've ordered all new products for the week, you can check this duty off your list.

Read more: What Does a Retail Manager Do? (And How to Become One)

2. Develop retail store manager skills

Various skills can help you excel as a retail store manager. You can consider developing and practising specific skills that may enable you to communicate effectively and complete your tasks. Some essential skills for retail store managers include:

  • Leadership skills: Retail store managers typically manage every department within a store and ensure that each team member performs well and completes their tasks effectively. Leadership abilities can help you keep the morale of the store high and ensure the individual departments operate efficiently during busy or challenging times.

  • Communication skills: A retail store manager frequently uses a variety of communication skills to provide answers to customers and team members, resolve conflicts, and share information. In this role, you can adjust your communication style to the situation and understand how to use verbal and written techniques properly.

  • Organizational skills: As a retail store manager, it's essential to keep the store operating efficiently regardless of unexpected circumstances or busy hours. Your organizational skills can help you manage the various departments within the store, employee schedules, customer communications, and inventory orders.

  • Problem-solving skills: Retail store managers are the primary problem-solvers when issues occur in the store. You can use problem-solving and critical thinking skills to consider various outcomes and identify the most effective solutions.

  • Computer literacy: As a retail store manager, it's vital that you understand the store's retail management software. You may use this software to process shipping orders and receipts, implement employee schedules, adjust store inventory prices, and track the store's progress towards its goals.

Read more: Retail Skills: Definition, Examples, and How to Improve

3. Consider earning a certificate

While retail store managers don't require certifications to work in this role, there are certifications you might pursue. A certificate can help you increase your earning capacity, learn new management strategies, and become more competitive when applying to new positions. For example, Toronto Metropolitan University offers a Certificate in Retail Management. This program teaches professionals essential information to excel in retail and develop relevant skills, such as strategic thinking, advanced communication skills, market planning, and organizational development.

Read more: How to Write Store Manager Resumes (With Template)

4. Build a strong team

Hiring the right team members is crucial to your success as a retail store manager. While it's essential that candidates have relevant job experience, ensure you get to know them better during the interview process. You can try to uncover their unique personality traits and skills that can help them excel in their roles. For example, if you're hiring a sales clerk, you might observe candidates to determine if they seem happy and friendly. It's vital to take your time with the hiring process and meet with many eligible candidates to determine who's the best fit for the role.

Read more: What Are Leader Values and Why Are They Important?

5. Be a mentor to your team members

Instead of simply being a supervisor, you can aim to be a mentor to them. Mentors are experienced advisors that gain the trust of those who rely on them for guidance. To have your team members view you as a mentor, consider meeting with them individually to determine their career goals. Then you can help them strategize about how they might achieve these ambitions. It's helpful to inform them they can approach you if they require professional advice.

Read more: 13 Good Mentor Qualities (Plus Tips on How to Find a Mentor)

6. Offer benefits or rewards

You can ask your team members what benefits or rewards they find motivating. For example, they might want additional discounts on products or education funding assistance. While you likely cannot officiate these benefits, you can communicate this message to your supervisor, who may have this power. You might propose ideas for rewards to your supervisor, such as store credit or a free item, if a team member has a significant achievement.

Read more: Workers Perks and Benefits: 20 Most Common and Explanation

7. Get team members involved

If a problem occurs at the store, you might ask your team members what they might do to solve the issue. Asking team members for their opinion shows that you respect their views and trust them to make critical decisions. When they feel you respect and trust them, they're more likely to work diligently to achieve their goals and make you proud. You might have monthly team meetings where you ask the team for their input about overcoming obstacles and increasing output.

8. Provide routine feedback

You might plan routine one-on-one meetings with your team members to let them know how they're performing. It's essential to explain a few tasks they excel at and one they might benefit from practising. For example, you might share with a team member that they're doing a terrific job meeting sales numbers, promoting sales, and assisting their co-workers. Then you can politely share that you hope to see them approach customers more frequently to determine their needs. It's helpful to ask if they have questions about how to improve at a specific task or offer to demonstrate it for them.

Read more: How to Give Feedback Constructively in the Workplace

9. Get to know your team members

Attempting to get to know your team members can help make work more enjoyable and help you gain their respect. You might practise active listening skills to help you comprehend and remember the information your team members share with you. You can plan team outings, such as meals or picnics, or activities like an escape room. When the team gets along and knows more about each other, they're more likely to enjoy their time at the store and work together more cohesively to achieve goals.

Read more: 75 “Get-To-Know-you” Questions for the Workplace

10. Lead by example

As a retail store manager, it's your responsibility to be a positive role model for your team members and always lead by example. In difficult situations, your team members might observe how you handle problems. It's crucial that you handle demanding customers with respect and know what to do in various situations. After an incident, you can explain to your team members why you acted a certain way so they can learn from the experience.

Read more: How to Lead by Example? (Plus Benefits and Strategies)

11. Delegate tasks that match team members' strengths

After you get to know your team members, try to give them tasks at which they excel. For example, if you observe one team member signing up multiple customers to the store's loyalty program, you might station them at the cash register. Conversely, if another team member has strong organization skills, you might ask them to tidy the store an hour before closing. It's also essential to ask your team members what tasks they enjoy the most and try to delegate responsibilities according to preference when possible. This step can help team members enjoy their work.

12. Get to know customers

In retail, it's vital that you and your team get to know the customers to which you're trying to sell. It's important to greet each customer as they enter the store and try to establish a connection. For example, you might ask them what they're looking for or compliment them on an article of clothing. If the introduction develops into a conversation, try to be authentic and build the relationship. This step can help you provide a positive experience for the customer while also increasing your loyal customer base, who are likely to shop at the store frequently.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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