Retail Dogma

The Store Manager Role

The store manager is the one responsible for running the store operation end-to end. This involves all the different departments and areas of responsibility in one store.

Areas of Responsibility Under The Store Manager

Managing Retail Store Operations

Store operations have two main areas of responsibility

Brand Experience

This covers everything the customer sees.

Brand experience includes areas of

  • Visual merchandising and store atmosphere
  • The sales process and strategies
  • The customer experience on the floor and after sales services

Capability

Capability refers to everything that goes behind the scenes, to keep the business up and running

Capability includes areas of

  • Daily reports and communication with the head office
  • Inventory receiving and management
  • Manpower planning and team scheduling

Those areas of responsibility (AOR) are performed by the entire team at the store.

It is the job of the store manager to assign those areas to the appropriate team members, and ensure that all the teams are performing and delivering on the KPIs related to those areas.

The best practice is to put one assistant store manager (ASM) or supervisor on top of each area, and give them teams to help deliver on the daily tasks. Those managers and teams can then be shuffled after a certain period, so they can experience managing another area in the store operations.

Example

In quarter 1 (Q1) one ASM can be responsible for the brand and the other responsible for capability. Each one will have supervisors and sales assistants on their teams.

In Q2 those managers can swap responsibilities and manage the other team and area.

The idea is to develop the ASMs and get them to experience managing different aspects of retail operations and developing their own leadership skills, so that later on they can be ready for the store manager role themselves.

Which takes us to the next point..

Talent Management

There is one area of responsibility at the store, that is exclusive to the store manager, and that is: Talent.

In this area, the store manager should be able to identify the different talents on his/her team and put them in the roles that better use their skills and keep them engaged.

He should be creating development plans for the top talents at the store, and coaching them through their career growth process.

This is not restricted to ASM development only, but all the talents in the store are the responsibility of the store manager to identify and develop.

The Store Manager Job Description

The store manager job description includes the following:

  • Achieving the sales budget
  • Managing the KPIs of the store, i.e ATV, IPC & conversion
  • Managing a team of sales associates, supervisors and assistant store managers
  • Ensuring the store visuals and display is according to the brand standards
  • Controlling the stock loss & shrinkage of the store
  • Ensuring availability of merchandise on the floor
  • Implementing new launchings and installing new window displays & floor sets on time
  • Communicating feedback about the business to the head office (e.g missing products, customer requests, opportunities in the market,…etc.)
  • Resolving customer complaints
  • Delivering good customer service through his team
  • Managing other administrative and HR tasks related to his team (Attendance, leaves, disciplinary actions, …etc)

Read Also: Managing Retail Store Operations

As you have seen, the store manager is essentially covering a lot of different areas at the same time. This include sales, visuals, talent, inventory, customer service and admin.

You might ask “How can one person be responsible for all this?”, and the answer lies in one word (actually two).

Leadership Skills

The store manager is not expected to do all this on his own, but to get all this done through his team. He must be able to delegate tasks and follow up on them to ensure they are executed.

He must be able to strike that very challenging balance between being tough & assertive but at the same time liked and looked up to by his team.

Required Skills for a Store Manager

  • Leadership Skills
  • Communication
  • Business Acumen
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Attention to Details

Store Manager Salary

Store Manager Salary Benchmark
Source: Glassdoor

According to Glassdoor, the current national average for a store manager salary is 51,959$ /yr.

This figure, however, varies greatly depending on the size of the store, the size of the team and the complexity of the operation inside the store.

Store manager salaries at big box retailers, for example, can easily reach six figures.

Source: Glassdoor

How To Become a Store Manager?

1. Get The Floor Experience

The best start for a career in retail operations at any level is to get the floor experience.

The best retail managers are the ones who come out of the shop floor.

This is because the primary responsibility of a retail manager is to manage a retail team. It’s a people focused job, and the best way to manage people and get the best out of them, is to have been in their shoes one day.

Based on your current career level, join a retail business and start working on the floor. Experience the different areas of store operations we discussed and see all the problems that arise on a daily basis and how they are solved.

2. Learn The Business of Retailing

In order to develop to managerial roles in retail, you need to have business acumen.

You need to know how the numbers work together, and what the business model of retail is all about.

Learn about sales management, and the different types of sales reports, the different sales KPIs and the techniques to improve on them.

Understand what the different functions in retail are responsible for, such as merchandising, visual merchandising and buying, as you will need to communicate regularly with those functions for feedback and requests.

You can start learning about managing a retail or ecommerce business, by reading our free resources from here.

3. Develop Your Leadership Skills

While you are getting the floor experience, start observing how people operate, and what really drives their performance.

Try to understand how other people are motivated differently, and how, as a leader, you can tap into those different types of performance drivers to get the most out of your teams.

If you are not in a position that manages other people yet, start asking for responsibilities to manage certain micro-projects at the store.

For example, ask the store manager or ASM to take full responsibility of the stock room re-organization project from start to finish, using the help of other team members.

Such assignments will help you develop your own leadership skills and style, and will also show your potential to your managers.

4. Find a Mentor

One of the things that helped me a lot in developing from ASM level to store manager level so quickly, was that I was lucky to have great mentors and managers.

Having a mentor will cut through the time you need to learn by trial end error.

They will show you what works and doesn’t work; the best practices in the industry, and will guide you about the culture of the company and how to grow fast in it.

5. Show Your Flexibility

Retail businesses tend to scale and grow very fast by opening new locations, and the fastest way to grow with such a growing business is to show flexibility.

When I was working at the stores, I was willing to go and manage any location I was needed at.

In fact, by the time I left my home country, I have already worked at every major mall.

This was one of the things that gave me access to the best opportunities that were opening up, and this is how I grew from ASM level to store manager level so fast.

6. Take Additional Responsibilities

To show your potential for managerial roles, be ready to take on additional responsibilities, and even make your own initiatives to improve the business.

This will serve you in 2 ways:

  1. You will show your potential to current employers
  2. You will put it on your CV to show your potential to other employers

Read also our Store Manager Resume Tips

Taking on additional responsibilities serves as a “test drive” for the business and yourself, to see if you are ready for the next level role.