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What Is Retail Management

Retail management looks at all the elements surrounding the sales of goods or services to customers, refining and enhancing this experience for the customer in order to increase sales.

The task of a retail manager is to look at every element of the customer experience and see how this can be optimised to maximise profit for the retailer. Every variable can be considered as part of this assessment, from the temperature of the store to the width of shelving and aisles. How products are set out and grouped by style, how colours and sizes are presented and how offers are promoted are all factors which may contribute to sales and profitability.

How the store functions is another key element of retail management. If a customer cannot find the product of their choice, or the correct size or colourway, they may simply leave, costing the store a sale. Having a well-ordered and well-stocked store makes for a smoother, more successful and profitable visit, and a better chance of the customer returning in the future. A retail manager will look at the layout of the store, making it easy for customers to navigate to their chosen section, or to cash desks, information points or changing rooms.

Good customer service is integral to a positive customer experience. A retail manager may hire, manage and train staff, directing them in how to meet customer needs. Good retail managers will motivate staff and ensure they are briefed with relevant information. Examples of this may be telling staff if an item has been featured in the press and is therefore likely to be popular, keeping staff updated on stock availability of best-selling product lines or any changes to opening hours during holiday periods.

A retail manager will be expected to help the store in meeting sales targets, developing both short- and long-term strategies to improve performance. This will include keeping up-to-date with competitor activity, and reviewing both company and broader market trends.

Retail managers require a broad set of skills, with strong communication, organisation and analytical abilities.

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