Retail store managers are responsible for different aspects of a store’s operations, from budget maintenance and customer service to employees hiring, management, and training. Some employers require prospective candidates to have completed a formal education course, such as a bachelor degree program in business; other employers seek retail and management experience and take it upon themselves to impart training to chosen candidates. In this article, we will look at the career path of a store manager and discuss what an aspiring store manager must do in order to pursue their career.
Job Description of a Store Manager
Store managers of retail stores are usually involved in coordination of budgeting, merchandizing and sales, planning, meeting customer needs and supervising the organization’s staff. They must have the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines and bring a considerable amount of experience in human resources and retail business. Strong multitasking, interpersonal and leadership skills are needed to perform their jobs efficiently.
Retailers in various areas such as electronics, apparel and food industry outlets are the most common employers of store managers. Store managers perform tasks in offices as well as on the sales floors. In the office, they perform administrative tasks while on the sales floor; they address merchandizing, staffing and customer needs. Their earnings potential will depend on the size of the retail store that employs them and the products they are required to sell. In November 2010, retail store managers earned an average annual salary of $49,585 (source: Salary.com).
Responsibilities of Store Managers
Office work of store managers includes planning, monitoring and maximizing product inventory and retail budgets, apart from sales and purchasing. They are required to work closely with store owners and regional managers in the coordination and determination of the most cost-effective hiring and marketing strategies, apart from the alignment of the business philosophy of their particular franchise. Company software is used by store managers in drafting proposals, recruiting employees and researching and tracking products.
On the sales floor, a store manager’s success depends on their ability to put together the best possible sales team. The most qualified applicants for the job are interviewed and selectively hired; the selected candidates are provided training that is both comprehensive and time-efficient. The store manager is expected to provide current employees with incentives to motivate them apart from evaluations aimed at maintaining their skills and well-being. They also seek to address needs of customers; to this end, they have to immediately resolve conflicts, inspire long-term relationships with customers, and creatively place and rotate merchandize in a manner that attracts the attention of customers.
Considering the responsibilities they are required to fulfill, prospective store managers need to complete a bachelor degree program or some other formal educational course in a field related to business. Completing a bachelor degree in business administration will provide students the skills necessary to perform the job effective. Coursework in such programs will cover topics such as management strategy, business ethics, accounting and marketing. Promotion to senior management in a large retail company will depend on the level of education that a store manager has completed with a preference on degree holders.
Experience and Training
Retail organization has their own in-house managerial training programs that ranges from a week to a year, and coursework will be a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on experience, with a focus on customer service skills and employee relations and interviewing (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov). Aspiring store managers can acquire the skills and training they need by enrolling for courses offered by the National Retail Federation; coursework in such programs includes topics like human resources, merchandising, and retail management. However, some employers prefer to have their store managers gain real experience in sales and retail management rather than formal training programs.