10 Things To Know About A Retail Management Career

If you are already on the path to becoming a retail manager or simply considering it, here are some important and interesting things to consider before embarking upon a retail management career.


1. You Must Have The Right Personality

Compare your traits to those commonly found in successful retail managers.
  • Results-oriented
  • Ability to motivate, train and develop others
  • Strong customer service skills
  • Natural leader
  • Patience
  • Cheerful
  • Good communicator
  • Professional
  • Good listener
  • Strong negotiator

2. Retail Management Is More Than Just Sales

Retail managers oversee everything that makes a store work, from behind the scenes functions (such as buying, inventory, and merchandising) to the sales floor (such as sales and customer service). Some common tasks you can expect to perform during your retail management career include:
  • Hiring, managing and motivating a team to increase sales
  • Overseeing vendors and the buying process
  • Managing inventory
  • Creating and maintaining store displays
  • Developing and executing sales and promotions
  • Analyzing market trends and researching competitors
  • Monitoring sales figures and forecasting future sales volumes, and meeting sales quotas
  • Dealing with questions, complaints, and comments from customers
  • Monitoring budgets, controlling expenses, and maximizing profits

3. Experience Drives Growth

One of the most important factors in getting a job in retail is experience. So prepare to start in an entry-level job and take the time to learn every aspect of retail while you work your way up to your desired position.

4. You Don’t Have To Have A College Degree

Many retail managers worked their way up to the position from the sales floor, but it’s easier to land the job if you do have a degree. Most have a bachelor’s in business administration and some even have an MBA. For those without a degree, internal training and development programs will help to propel you forward.

5. There Are Many Specialties In Retail Management

As you move up in your career, you may have the opportunity to specialize in an area that interests you, including:
  • Buying
  • Pricing
  • Merchandising
  • Marketing
  • Personnel
  • Customer service
  • Training
  • Operations

6. Moving Up Often Requires A Physical Move

As you grow in your career, you are typically promoted by moving to larger stores in larger markets, or to area or regional management. Due to the nature of retail, these positions are rarely in the same city.

7. It’s A Numbers Game

Success in retail is measured purely by sales and profit. Your job will be to improve commercial performance by meeting customer demand, increasing product turnover, and maximizing profitability. Although there are other considerations, compensation is highly dependent on these types of measures.

8. Customer Service Is Paramount

As the saying goes, “the customer is always right.” Knowing that sentiment, retail managers are often presented with the most challenging situations and must exercise the utmost care when dealing with customers. In today’s “social media” driven society, mistreating a customer is the fastest way to destroy what was once a good reputation.

9. It’s Not A 9-5 Job

Stores are meant to serve the public, a public that often works from 9 to 5 and thus have to shop in the evenings or weekends. Therefore, retail managers are often required to work non-traditional hours to maximize their effectiveness.

10. Don’t Burn Bridges

Especially when in the same local or regional market, retail is a small world. Everyone knows each other and the bridge you burned yesterday at one company may be the one you have to cross before you can get your next job. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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