5 skills to master before making the leap to store manager
Retail is a sector where it has always been important to sell your skills. And, of course, you need a comprehensive set of skills to be successful in the industry. But which of these skills are the most important? There are skills that are necessary regardless of the level you are working at, and there are skills that are particularly useful if you want to make the move to store management. If you could narrow it down to 5 skills to master before making the leap to store manager, which would they be? Well, in no particular order, here they are.
1. Customer Service
Having said ‘in no particular order’, when it comes to retail customer service is a skill that really has to be a top of every list. Customer service is absolutely critical to everybody working in retail and this includes store management. After all, not to put too fine a point on it, without customers there is no store.
The customer experience is all-important. It always has been, but probably more so today – with retail being so competitive and in the age of social media and online review sites, the cost to a brand of not providing an excellent customer service can be massive and incredibly damaging.
2. People leadership
Regardless of how much you are focused on the customer, or how impressive your sales record is, these qualities don’t necessarily make you a great leader. People leadership is key and includes motivating inexperienced and junior employees who are doing a tough job for fairly modest wages.
People leadership is more than merely being able to motivate or ‘get on side’. It is also about identifying strengths and weaknesses and areas of opportunity and development. It is likely that you will be responsible for the training and development of employees, as well as one-to-one management, you also need to devise action plans for teams.
Getting the most out of individuals but also getting everyone working together in a productive team environment is part of the remit of a store manager. It requires tact, patience, and fairness – as well as adhering to corporate policy and holding everybody to account to the highest of standards.
3. Sales experience & leadership
The vast majority of retail employees are responsible for sales, so sales skills are vital. However, sales experience is not necessarily enough. Store managers need to be able to motivate staff to work, but also need to be able to motivate them to sell.
The retail sector is constantly evolving and store managers need to be flexible and tough to cope. Resilience is needed as although the uncertainty can provide a stimulating environment to work in, it’s demanding and challenging too. You need to be supremely organised to stay on top of things in what is such a fast-paced sector.
First class communication skills are absolutely essential. A store manager needs to communicate effectively with employees, customers, and senior management. A variety of meetings need to come under the store manager’s direction. Excellent communication is pivotal to the success of these.