Leading a retail brand is an extremely challenging and tricky job. Similar to many leadership positions, retail management requires a great degree of organization, management and consistency.
A retail store, whether it runs online, offline or in both mediums, is comprised of three separate factors:
- Executive(s) – Founders, Co-Founders, Retail Managers
- Team of employees
Each and every component is dependent on the others, so prioritizing one over another wouldn’t bring you any further than you are at the moment.
As a leader, you must establish the direction of your company. That means you must visualize and plan your company’s goals, and establish the main priorities for you and your direct reports.
After managing that initial objective, you’ll be able to focus on displaying your vision to the rest of your team, helping them understand and align to it. If you succeed, your retail store shall start following the course of the path that you yourself have paved.
Nevertheless, choosing the right goals for your retail company is one of the keys to significant success. In today’s post, I’ll discuss the main goals you should set in order to become a successful retail leader and manager. Let’s begin.
1 – Lead by Example
One of your first leadership goals as a retail manager is to start leading by example. Leading by example means to show everyone what and how things should be accomplished. It means taking the initiative and displaying the standards of quality you expect from each and every employee of your brand.
Simpler put, you’ll need to become a role model. To do that, you obviously have to invest in your knowledge, skills and experience on a constant basis. If you want to be a great retail manager and leader, your personal evolution and growth are absolutely essential.
If you’re already confident in your traits and leadership role, try your best to show and not tell. Demonstrate your dedication to the company’s culture, mission and objectives, and your teammates shall follow.
If you’re constantly present, committed and consistent, your team will quickly “follow your lead.” If you hate late arrivals, always show up first and never be late at meetings. However, when people mess up, leave compassion aside and act accordingly. Every team needs a strong and decisive leader, so if rules aren’t obeyed, the consequences should be almost always applied.
2 – Establish the Standards and Objectives of Your Company
Having an executive or managerial role gives you enough power to set and establish the standards and expectations of your company.
Before you recruit and hire potential new employees, you have to figure out whether they’re capable of meeting your standards and expectations.
As a retail company, customer relationships and sales are the main two end objectives. If you have those, your company will be successful. However, it cannot become successful unless you and your employees are working in an organized fashion, aiming for the same thing.
Organization requires targets.
Therefore, you can establish specific standards, requirements, rules or achievements that must be met each month, and have your employees acknowledge that. The NSBroker team writes that the following are possible objectives to be met:
- Improve the store’s layout
- Improve the shopper’s experience
- Develop specialized and branded products
- Set up communication channels that customers can use to interact with the brand
- Develop an automated personalization shipping system
- Improve the brand’s awareness on social channels
- Analyze, measure and leverage customer data to improve sales
- Implement chatbots to improve the customer support experience
3 – Know Your Team and Leverage It Properly
Another critical goal for retailers with leadership roles is to understand their employees, to acknowledge the strengths and opportunities of your team as a whole, and to leverage the traits of each and every member.
This goal implies a simple strategy: get to know your employees better by organizing various meetings that allow for a “more personal” interaction.
According to Mike Briggs, HR manager of Best Essay Tips, “The first key to managing your employees is to build a specific rapport with each. If you get them to pay attention and respect your words, they’ll be loyal and respectful forever.”
Asking for direct feedback (simple questions or organized surveys) is another good tactic for achieving this goal. Lastly, yet most importantly, you should track the indirect feedback (the results of your employees) and deduce things from there.
The goal is to know everyone’s strengths, weaknesses and interests, and align them properly to your long-term vision. The more your employees enjoy their work, the better they will perform.
4 – Master the Art of Outsourcing
To succeed in the retail industry, you need to work hard but also smart.
Delegation and outsourcing are the “weapons” that can help you blossom and thrive. The only trick is that you have to use them properly. Many retailers are afraid to invest proper money into external professional services. Many would rather “use their own forces” to save some cash for other expenses.
However, this strategy is not just risky but also fragile. Every member of your team might be really good at doing one or two things. So, let me give you an example.
Some time ago, when I was running my own retail company, I decided to start a long-term content marketing campaign because of its potential effectiveness in increasing sales and profitability. I had one customer support employee, one marketer, one administrative manager and that’s it. However, I had a huge concern: Who would do the content marketing?
You’d think perhaps my marketing employee, but he was not such a great writer; his strengths centered around planning, organizing and integrating marketing activations.
I realized I had to adapt to the situation instead of forcing myself (or one of my employees) to do a mediocre job at a high cost (time, energy, and focus). I decided to outsource instead of delegate, and I sought for a proper solution. In the end, I ended up hiring writers from RushEssay and EssayHave, writers who managed to create impressive blog posts, infographics, case studies and more.
Each writer I chose was a fit for exactly the type of deliverable I was outsourcing. For that reason, my budget investment improved my retail store’s long-term profitability by 45 percent in the first three months.
5 – Focus on Quality Over Quantity (and Have Your Team Do the Same)
Here’s one of the secrets to retail success: if you want to survive and thrive in the long-term, you need to focus on quality over quantity. This applies to everything you do, from selecting your employees to selecting your products sold in the store.
Some practical examples:
As a grocery store owner, you can decide to choose product A (less expensive, less healthy) and product B (more expensive but healthier). This is a tricky choice, one that forces you to choose branding over transactions.
If you go for quantity, you’re basically going after transactions (which most people would do). Obviously, your short-term gains will look good for a while, up until your customers find a better quality-price balance. If you sell quality products, your shoppers will not feel the need to seek an alternative to the value you offer.
It really doesn’t matter whether you run a “dollar store” or a luxury accessory retail store. Look at your competition. Observe their strategy and improve on it.
And if, for instance, you cannot compete on quality against some old players that have ruled your niche market for a long time, branding and smart marketing can fix the problem. Start by defining your unique value proposition and focus on it as you move forward.
In today’s times, branding is the only significant differentiating factor between successful and mediocre brands.
As you have probably figured out, nothing comes easy in retail.
The work and the results you try to achieve by leading your team towards high achievements shall reward you with a lot more opportunities, benefits and long-term stability than many other job roles. Therefore, start raising your personal and professional standards and start setting and executing your leadership goals now!
About the writer: Michael Gorman is a super passionate freelance retail manager and dissertation service writer who works at Paperwritingpro.com. He currently delivers high-quality content to international students who buy essays for school. Being interested in everyday development, he writes and publishes various blog posts on Assignment Holic UK. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or check his Twitter.
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