Store managers are the unsung heroes of retail. Just consider the various hats a store manager wears on any given day: head of operations, sales manager, chief talent officer, loss prevention specialist, asset protection analyst, visual merchandiser, customer care representative… the list goes on.
As general managers, or virtual “owner operators” of their locations, store managers are charged with synthesizing complex data, applying business acumen, and formulating operational plans to drive sales, often within a single day. Retail is detail, and no one knows this better than store managers. In addition to driving daily sales performance, store managers oversee merchandising and visual design execution, restocking, and inventory management—not to mention store associate scheduling and payroll management.
Most importantly, they are leaders of a team. Store teams look to their manager as a mentor and a coach to help them reach their potential, by providing clear goals, follow up, and accountability. Store managers are often responsible for store recruiting and hiring decisions, selecting the right associates to represent the brand and serve as the face of the company. In my experience, the old saying is true: you work for a person, not a company; great store managers develop strong relationships with their staff, serving as a team captain, a role model, and often a trusted friend.
One of the critically important roles a store manager services is building and maintaining a store culture where people want to work—and customers want to visit. Within minutes of entering a retail store, customers can sense the ethos of a particular store. Are the associates engaged and helpful? Is the team knowledgeable and passionate about the product and the brand? People naturally gravitate toward well-run stores where the team is in sync and aligned around serving the customer—and winning the sales day.
I have had the privilege of working with some of the best managers and associates in front-line retail, and I can tell you first-hand that their relentless drive to get results and passion around people is remarkable. The next time you’re in a store that looks beautiful, where the team is engaged and eager to help you, and everything runs like a well-oiled machine, let the store manager know that they rock! Because a great in-store experience is truly a direct result of a great store manager.