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Top Tips for Retail Area Managers
Being either a Retail Area Manager or Retail Regional Manager can be a challenging job. But it can also be an exciting and rewarding career path.
The Area Manager is the axis on which an organisation pivots. They ensure that the stores and retail units are optimising store design principles, maximising revenue and upholding the customer experience credentials.
A great Area Manager can make a huge difference to a store’s sales figures. Some argue up to 50% more can be achieved from an excellent Retail Area Manager.
But how do you demonstrate key skills whilst delivering sales and maintaining operational service standards? C2 Recruitment gives our 5 top tips...
1. Having the right mindset
- Results will ultimately be dictated by how the key areas of performance can be influenced by individual thinking.
- You need the unflinching belief that you can inspire your teams to deliver on both sales and service.
- Area Managers should follow the 80/20 rule of retail when undergoing store visits. 80% of the time working alongside store management to continually improve sales. 20% on dealing with operational issues. It is too easy to flip this around and waste time on trivial matters.
- Your people are the key to delivering the right results. Ensure they have all the right tools to do the job and when they do it well remember to really celebrate success
2. Focus on the right KPI’s
Area managers are ultimately judged on the profitability of their stores. However, they also need to make certain that they are delivering against key criteria. “How do I use the right KPI’s” is often asked. There is a simple 4 step process:
Step one: Track KPIs for your area or region that are important only, and present them in an easy to read format, such as your own KPI dashboard.
Step two: Ensure you understand what the numbers are really telling you and the relationship between each one.
Step three: Create clear and concise retail action plans for each store, that are agreed by everyone.
Step 4: Implement these, track results and ensure that the right accountability is apportioned.
3. Time Management
Area management can be a lonely job. Working in isolation can mean that unless you are focused, your time management slips. Similarly, you only have a set proportion of time within each store or unit which must be maximised. If some of your stores are underperforming, it can be easy to neglect the ones that are not. Therefore:
- Create a timetable of activities on a monthly or weekly basis.
- Ensure you build in time for regular telephone calls, data analysis etc as well as physical store visits.
- Ensure that any underperforming store has a clear turnaround programme in place. This must address sales and any cultural/operational issues.
- Put in place both short and medium-term goals so that your focus is not distracted.
4. Maximise effectiveness of visits
Area Manager visits must be planned in advance. Just ‘turning up’ yields very little benefit. You must have a set visit schedule, but also ensure you are following up on any and all initiatives. The Area Manager’s store visit checklist should cover the following:
- The people you are visiting, a specific time you are speaking to them, and the purpose of the conversation.
- Prior information you need to ascertain.
- Customer touch point experience: seeing the store through the eyes of the customer when you arrive and viewing on-floor behaviours.
- Performance review with store management.
- Progress against any action plans.
- Coaching sessions you may be running.
- Implementation of any new action plans or initiatives.
- Agree follow up actions with clear timescales.
- Celebrate store achievements
5. Inspirational Leadership
You need to think about being an Area Leader rather than Area Manager. In order to achieve, your teams need to be driven to deliver for you. It’s about creating an environment that allows people to achieve their best. To do this you need to:
- Establish clear and ‘best in class’ standards which are never negotiable.
- Ensure that the entire store team (Store Managers and staff) buy into these.
- Support the Store Managers to meet these standards through coaching and mentoring.
- Create a culture which holds people to account for their actions in meeting these standards. Gives lots of praise when standards are met.
- Build in a mechanism for celebrating success against these standards.
Ultimately you are likely to have challenges; some stores will over perform and others will under-perform. They key is to be organised, consistent in approach, but flexible enough to be a supportive colleague, inspirational leader and true sales professional.
If you are looking for opportunities within Retail Area or Regional Management, or maybe you are a store manager asking “How do I become a Retail Area Manager”, then feel free to get in contact with us here at C2 Retail Recruitment and we will be happy to offer support and guidance.
As one of the leading Retail Recruitment Consultancies in the UK, not only do we have expert consultants with first-hand retail industry experience but we also work in partnership with some of the best and most exciting retail, hospitality and leisure clients in the market.
Call us today on 01743 770280 or email us at email@example.com with your contact detail and we can arrange a confidential chat.