Retail Management Skills: Examples And How To Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Retail management positions require specific skills for overseeing the retail operations, leading your team and providing customers with product expertise. Learning these skills can be advantageous for career advancement. By understanding the types of skills employers expect in applicants for retail management positions, you can improve or acquire them, include them in your application and prepare to discuss them during the job interview. In this article, we explore what retail management skills are, provide some examples of these skills, explain how to improve them and offer tips for using them effectively in the workplace.

What Are Retail Management Skills?

Retail management skills refer to a specific set of skills that enable retail managers to supervise sales operations, manage a sales team, provide excellent customer service and sell products to consumers. As part of their work duties, retail managers impart essential training, guidance and support to the sales team. They also liaise between the retail store administration and the employees. Additionally, they are attentive to customer requirements and resolve customer complaints. The following job positions require the daily use of retail management skills:

  • Retail store manager

  • General manager

  • Assistant manager

  • Retail operations manager

  • Store leader

  • Team leader

  • Assistant manager

Related: What Does A Retail Manager Do? (With Duties And Skills)

What Are Some Examples Of Retail Management Skills?

When you work in retail management, you may need to use the following skills:

Communication skills

Strong communication skills are vital in retail management since the work involves communicating regularly with the store administration, the sales team, other store personnel, vendors and customers. Being able to communicate effectively can minimise mistakes and misunderstandings. It can help you set clear business goals, develop healthy relationships with your colleagues and create an efficient working environment.

You can use verbal and written communication to provide valuable performance-related feedback to your team. They can then understand their own strengths better and work on the areas that require improvement. Your communication skills can also prove beneficial in your interactions with customers. You can respond quickly to their requests and meet their retail requirements.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

Leadership skills

As a retail manager, you require excellent leadership skills to lead, motivate and support your sales team. It is essential for you to know how to listen to your team members actively and understand their concerns. Your role also involves knowing their skill levels and giving them work assignments based on these. You can encourage collaboration between store employees and find ways to keep them engaged in their work. Furthermore, you can encourage them to develop their skills and achieve their goals.

Organisational skills

Being well-organised is an essential skill for retail managers since the work involves handling a range of tasks. It is necessary for you to pay close attention to details to ensure the smooth functioning of the retail operations. You are responsible for handling the staffing needs of the retail store and planning the work schedules for the employees. After assigning work tasks, you can track the work progress and the overall productivity of the employees. Additionally, you can create and implement staff incentive programmes to encourage employees to do better and boost retail sales.

Time management skills

Excelling at time management can help ensure that you complete the opening and closing procedures of the store on time every day. You can plan your daily tasks down to the last detail and finish all your work responsibilities on schedule. When you manage your daily itinerary well, you can make time to check in with employees. You can coordinate business activities to fit with their assigned schedules.

Sales skills

To be successful in the retail industry, it is vital to have strong sales skills. These skills are particularly crucial for retail managers since you are responsible for increasing the sales numbers. You can use your sales knowledge and retail experience to train your sales associates and help them develop better sales techniques.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples And Tips)

Product knowledge

Professionals in retail management require in-depth knowledge of the products they sell in their retail stores. When you offer these products to customers, you ought to be able to list every single benefit they can get from them. Your job is to create compelling reasons why they might want to buy the products.

You are also responsible for assessing their needs and making product recommendations based on these. Additionally, you can inform employees about the specific detail of the products they are yet unfamiliar with and guide them in selling these.

Teamwork skills

Teamwork skills play a big role in retail management since retail work entails excellent communication and collaboration between the retail store employees. When they feel they are part of a supportive team, they are likely to be more engaged in their work. They know they can depend on their team for any help they require with resolving work-related problems. As a retail manager, you can facilitate a team-oriented work environment by coordinating activities that build better trust between the members of your team.

Problem-solving skills

You may often encounter difficult, complicated, unexpected and unpredictable situations in retail work. By developing your problem-solving skills, you may be able to identify pressing issues and guide your team in finding appropriate solutions for these. For instance, someone in your retail sales team might fail to perform as they ought to, may not come to work or could become too sick to handle their work responsibilities.

It may help to have a plan in place that you can adapt as is necessary to resolve these types of situations. Your problem-solving skills can also be useful in handling customer concerns and improving the overall customer service experience.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions And Examples

How To Improve Retail Management Skills

The following suggestions may help you to improve your retail management skills:

1. Strengthen your retail skills

Strengthening your retail skills can enable you to gain the knowledge and tools you need to become a better retail professional. You can do this by working in different customer service positions. For instance, you could work as a cashier or a store associate. That can help you get different work perspectives and become better informed about your organisation. You can improve your marketing, leadership and teamwork skills.

2. Seek leadership opportunities

By actively seeking leadership opportunities in your current role, you can prepare yourself for assuming the responsibilities of the retail manager position. You can offer to mentor new or junior employees and assist the store administration with everyday management tasks. You can also volunteer to manage team projects or lead sales meetings. Try to do this even if it is not part of your job description. Using leadership skills in the workplace in this manner can help you get the attention of the store leadership and might help with advancing your career.

3. Take professional development courses

Given the rapid changes in the retail industry, it is essential for retail management professionals to keep up with and adapt to new developments. Taking professional development courses can help with this. These courses can enable you to grow your retail management skills. They can teach you to set business goals, improve communication with your sales team and motivate your employees in their work. The courses may be short-term or long-term and online or in-person. You can attend them at your company or sign up with professional organisations that offer them.

4. Encourage feedback

If you want to identify the areas in which you can improve, it is necessary to get honest feedback about your work performance from your colleagues, superiors and subordinates. Ask them to give you constructive criticism and make suggestions for improving your managerial skills. You can then review the information and highlight the areas that require more work. Once you understand the areas in which you need to make improvements, you can create a detailed plan for developing better skills or acquiring new ones.

Tips For Using Retail Management Skills In The Workplace

The following tips may help you to use retail management skills effectively in the workplace:

  • Be observant. Observe leadership techniques, customer service skills and sales abilities of other retail professionals. Learn from the way they successfully implement team activities, attend to customers and carry out sales procedures.

  • Be accessible. As a retail manager, it is essential that you maintain an open-door policy during work hours and remain accessible to your management colleagues and sales team members. You want them to feel free to approach and contact you in time whenever they have questions, require your assistance or seek guidance.

  • Be willing to accept challenges. Every time you encounter challenges in the workplace, adopt a positive perspective and look at them as opportunities to build your skills. Your willingness to navigate challenges with an attitude of calm positivity is likely to motivate your team members to do better, and it can improve the work environment.

  • Be a professional and responsible leader: To be an effective leader, it is vital that you hold yourself to a high standard. When you present yourself with professionalism, responsibility and integrity, your team is more likely to respect you and view you as someone reliable.

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