5 Focus Points for Better Retail Management

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Retailing in any field tends to be an incredibly competitive process and customer-facing stores are perhaps one of the tougher forms of business to manage.

There is a lot that can potentially emerge to trip up even the most experienced and diligent of retail business operators but with the right approach there’s also a huge amount that can be achieved.    

Here are 5 focus points that might be helpful if you’re looking to improve the way you run your retail business and exceed your customer's expectations.

 

1 – Understand and Respond to What Your Customers Want

Like a lot of tips, our first one here is rather more easily said than done but that, in a sense, is precisely the point. Retailers need to do whatever it takes to get to ​know their customers and to react to what they find out quickly. You might be able to tick over by offering the same products in the same way as a matter of routine but lasting success can generally only be built on flexibility and a willingness to change along with habits among your customers.

2 – Get to Know Your Competition

Like every other business around, retailers do not exist in a vacuum and it is vital for all manner of reasons that company bosses are aware of what their rivals are offering. These days, retail competitors can come in many different forms, be it online or otherwise, and bosses should frequently take the time to get a sense of the experiences being offered elsewhere.

Whether or not you decide to integrate certain ideas into your own operation, competitor research is essential because it lets you know exactly what you’re up against and that information can prove to be invaluable.

3 – Invest in Your People

The members of a retailer’s workforce are the face of the business on a day-to-day basis and the way that they interact with customers is very important.

Hiring the right people to join your team is a key starting point but the story can’t stop there and providing quality training should always be high on the agenda. This goes for staff on the shop floor, as well as supervisors and managers.

4 – Always Look to the Future

The past may well have a lot to teach us as business bosses but for retailers it’s vital to focus firmly on the future. It’s important not to dwell too much on prior successes or failures and to remain as objective as possible as you assess different situations and dynamics. Every experience is a lesson but a good retail manager will not be obsessed with what has gone before but will be quick to understand where opportunities may lie for the future.  

5 – Be Ready for Anything

One of the great things about being involved in retailing is the sheer variety of the challenges it presents from week to week and year to year. For those in charge of retail companies or operations, there is a lot to be said for expecting the unexpected and being ready to react at all times. Ultimately, the aim should be to focus on solving one problem at a time and not wasting energy on figuring out who to blame when things don’t go quite according to plan.

Mark Halstead is from Red Flag Alert, part of the Begbies Traynor Group, and is now in his 10th year with the business. He’s worked at companies across the financial services industry and is a fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.