Working in retail poses a unique set of challenges, especially at the store operations level. Learning how to manage each area and situation properly is essential to long-term success and relevance in the marketplace. But doing so is easier said than done.
Ambiguity abounds in retail store operations. That’s why, before we share some tips for managing retail operations more effectively, it’s important to clarify what retail store operations really refers to.
What is Retail Store Operations?
Essentially, retail store operations are a blanket term used to describe all aspects of a company’s internal operations that keep a store functioning well.
What Are the Functions of Retail Store Operations?
Generally, when people refer to retail operations (or store operations), they’re referring to the individual day-to-day responsibilities—such as customer service, cash handling, maintenance, merchandising, and more—that go into running a store and creating a great in-store experience.
What Is Store Operations Management in Retail?
Retailers hire regional, district, and store managers to oversee operations and the day-to-day responsibilities at each of their stores. Ensuring standard operating procedures and brand guidelines get followed at every location is an essential part of managing retail store operations.
With all that cleared up, here are a few tips and focus areas to keep in mind when trying to manage retail store operations more effectively.
5 Retail Operations Tips for Managing Stores More Effectively
1. Streamline Retail Store Operations
As the old saying goes, time is money. And when store associates and retail employees don’t know what to focus on, they end up wasting both. One of the most effective ways to improve your team’s time management skills is by streamlining retail store operations.
Use tools and software that centralize communication and clearly define what tasks and duties need to get done, so there’s no ambiguity about what should get completed in-store each day. And find ways to automate or simplify time-consuming tasks, so employees can spend more time executing in-store and delighting customers at every turn.
Foko Retail’s retail task management software helps retailers supervise what’s happening in-store and communicate with store teams in real-time. That way, everyone stays in the loop, and nothing gets missed.
2. Train and Inspire Your Staff
Ongoing learning and development are essential to having a well-trained staff. But not every area or store manager has time to sit down with an employee and talk to them one-on-one about what needs to get done and how to do it.
Retailers should use multiple training methods to reinforce what’s being taught and ensure employees are continuously improving.
Share guidelines and walkthroughs, how-to videos, and communicate with store and field teams continuously, so store teams stay up to date, and retail operations run smoothly. And don’t forget to congratulate or reward employees when they do a good job—a little praise can go a long way.
3. Draw Your Customers’ Attention at Every Turn
Visual merchandising, in-store marketing, store design, and layout are all worthy (and sometimes underused) weapons in a retailer’s arsenal. By maximizing the space allotted to merchandise and arranging products in a way that’s pleasing to the eye, retailers can increase sales and boost brand affinity.
Get creative when displaying products in your retail operation, but don’t overdo it. Everything should be easily accessible and require limited help from associates, so they can spend more time educating customers and keeping appearances up to brand standards.
4. Make Regular Cleaning a Must
Few things turn a customer away faster than a messy store and unkempt employees, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
All store operations teams probably know about a store’s standard operating procedures when it comes to daily cleanings and overall tidiness, but rules and regulations are changing every day. And it can be difficult to make sure SOPs get followed when retailers are managing multiple stores and team members.
Use retail task management software to streamline store cleanings by assigning recurring tasks to store teams, sharing guidelines, and following up with store teams regularly.
5. Get Feedback from Store Operations Teams
Customer feedback is essential to figuring out what consumers think about your stores, but employee feedback lets you know how they’re running, and if your management techniques are effective.
Assign surveys to store teams to find gaps in your retail operations and areas in need of improvement, and talk one on one with team members to ensure results and reporting are accurate.
When employees feel that their voice is being heard, they’re more likely to work harder to make a sale, keep store operations running smoothly, and stay engaged, which in turn benefits the company and the customer. Here’s a good example of how to improve customer satisfaction.
Summing Things Up
Retail operations aren’t an exact science. It takes a lot of planning and adjusting to keep a store relevant and customers coming in.
By considering these tips, you can keep you and your team organized and ready for anything.