A Store Manager: The most strategic role for retail brand’s success

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For shoppers, the store manager is the employee that we interact with when we are either facing an issue with the staff or in need of a specific assistance that retail staff can’t provide. But in reality, the role of a store manager is more complexed than what it seems.

All brand retail Go To Market strategies are drafted in the company HQ while the execution excellence happens in the field. The store manager is a multidiscipline role with tasks related to all retail business 360 degrees:

-Sales Target:

The store manager is the main person in charge of the sales target of his store. The forecast and the daily performance is drafted by the retail manager/Sales manager along with the store manager and it’s based on the company targets, store performance and achievement history. The target is either a collective sales target that needs to be achieved by all the staff in the store or it’s cascaded as an individual target for each sales rep. Even with the presence of a CRM that manages store sales and that generates reports to the top management for all remote location stores, the store manager has the responsibility to present his store performance and put action plans based on the achieved and expected numbers.

-The Store Products Line up:

A brand with many stores can have the exactly product lineup all cross shops or a different products line up based on the location, the purchasing power of the store area. By looking at the sales data and the store history, the store manager will work closely with the retail manager / Sales Manager to create an order forecast for his store and select the products that has a higher chance to success in his area. The sales forecast will help the management to decide on how much products inventory we should have for all channels and by optimizing the inventory, we minimize the chance of aging stock that can turn to products sold with loss instead of profit.

-Customer satisfaction:

The customers’ satisfaction falls under the store manager’s KPI. As much as your customers are satisfied, as much as they will buy, return and recommend your shop to others. This will require a physical presence of the store manager on the floor by either spotting unserved or unhappy customers. Some customers can be unhappy just from the fact that the waiting time is too long at the checkout counter. A store manager can play a key role in making the right corrections that can lead to happy customers. One of the best practices used in the US by some global brands is when a store manager will stand at the exit of the door for two main reasons, the first is to welcome the coming in clients and the key one is to check the level of satisfaction while customers are leaving the store. By simply asking a question: How was your shopping with us today? A question like that can lead to an understanding that the customers are leaving the store not served or unhappy and the store manager have one last chance to fix it by identifying what went wrong. Many companies are monitoring the store customers’ satisfaction through all stores by deploying mystery shopper program and retail audits.

-Visual Merchandising compliance:

While the merchandising work can either be done by the store staff or by a route merchandiser that visits many shops per day to fix the merchandising, the store manager will have to verify that the store visuals are as per the company merchandising guidelines and by taking into consideration the shopping environment (Clean presentation, lights, space…etc).

-Retail staff hiring and management:

The store manager is the line manager of the retail staff. He has a role of recruitment validation, target setting for the staff, training, coaching and feeding back the HQ with related performance related to the staff. The store manager is the responsible of his own people’s review that leads to salary increase, grade changing, promotion or termination in case of underperforming or personal misbehavior. The leader role is very important to drive motivation within the store and achieve the overall store targets.

What are the key competencies that a perfect store manager should master?

-Personal leadership /Managing change /coaching and mentoring

-Space management / Visual merchandising / inventory management / portfolio and sales management

-Retail understanding / Retail financials

-Safety and store operations / Legal and loss prevention

Author: Jalal JIHAZI
(Global Retail TV Director)

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