4 Key Retail Management Responsibilities


Image source: Getty Images

Retail management is not just about making sales. In this guide, we review the evolution of retail and four key retail management responsibilities.

I think I can speak for all store managers in saying that running a retail store is not child’s play. Physical retailers especially face competition from a rapidly growing e-commerce industry, along with all their usual responsibilities.

In this article, we look at the evolution of retail management, the responsibilities of retail management industry players, and some frequently asked questions.

Presentation: What is business management?

Technically speaking, retail management is the combination of all the processes and actions that drive a store’s retail sales and maintain a good level of customer satisfaction.

These processes include:

These responsibilities are usually handled by a retail store manager.

The retail industry has seen many changes over the years, but its origins date back to when people traded and bartered commodities and animals – and those things even served as currency. The first recorded form of currency, the shekel, dates back to 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. The earliest form of retail stores originated in ancient Greece.

From Mom-and-Pop stores to department stores and malls, and more recently to e-commerce and social media retailing, new retail models are emerging and constantly evolving based on trends and changing market conditions. generation. As a result, the face of retail management is constantly changing.

4 things retail management is responsible for

Individuals in retail management positions are ultimately responsible for all day-to-day operations of retail stores. However, here are four of the most important responsibilities they have.

1. Inventory management

Retail inventory management is all about making sure the store has the right products in the right quantities at the right time.

Stores these days rely heavily on retail POS systems to help them manage inventory. Done right, good inventory management drives sales, provides a great customer experience, and helps reduce unnecessary expenses.

Retail managers are responsible for overseeing inventory through POS technology, which is able to update inventory levels in real time as sales and returns are made, inventory is received and items are moved between locations. They are also responsible for implementing an inventory management system that tracks inventory over a period of time.

Inventory management also forces retail managers to make smart business decisions, such as prioritizing inventory orders based on popularity and tracking important inventory metrics.

A graphic showing the visual representation of the ABC inventory classification method.

Point-of-sale software helps retailers categorize their inventory using approaches such as the ABC method, which categorizes products based on their importance. Image source: author

2. Employee management

Employee management is a central task in retail management. In addition to maintaining the correct staffing levels and hiring employees who have the right skills for the job, retail managers are responsible for ensuring that each employee is fully trained in all aspects of the business. .

This includes:

  • Train staff members on relevant software or technology. Sure, your employees can master registering a sale, but can they successfully process mobile payments or use a virtual terminal for cardless payments?
  • Ensure employees are informed and up to date on products, promotions and discounts. Nothing puts off a customer faster than a salesperson who knows less about the product than they do.
  • Effective personnel planning. Retail managers should plan well in advance for seasonality changes and ensure there is a fair holiday policy.

3. Store layout design planning

Customers are reluctant to enter stores that look messy, overstuffed, or have poor lighting. Store layout design is extremely important in attracting new and returning customers, and this task is also the responsibility of retail management.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a store layout:

  • Store traffic flow: Maybe a one-way system makes sense to you, but for retailers it could mean the difference between a customer opting into the store or passing through. No one wants to feel rushed or stuck while shopping.
  • The checkout area: Do not place it near fitting rooms or too close to the entrance or exit.
  • How layout can deter shoplifting: Giving employees maximum visibility and line of sight to the store floor, as well as reducing large product groups, helps protect inventory from theft.

4. Set sales goals

When setting sales goals, retail managers typically consider the following:

  • Historical sales data
  • Promotions scheduled throughout the year
  • External events (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic changes 2021 retail sales targets)

Many retail managers use the SMART method or planning, which looks like this:

  • Specific: Be specific with financial sales targets.
  • Measurable: It should be easy to measure the progress of your goals.
  • Feasible: Be realistic when setting goals. Check historical data and consider how external events might affect it.
  • Relevant: Your sales staff should know how these goals fit into theirs.
  • Timely: Choose a realistic time frame to achieve these goals, but not so long that employees lose interest.


  • Retail management is a combination of many strategies that aim to drive sales and most importantly, delight customers. Without good inventory management practices, for example, customers are disappointed when they can’t buy what they need. Likewise, without proper staff training, customers are frustrated when they cannot get the help they need while shopping.

    In short, without retail management, retail stores could not function.

  • Retail management processes evolve alongside the retail industry. As we’re still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s difficult to accurately predict what’s in store for retail management, but we know it’s extremely important for retailers to remain adaptable and pragmatic. You can read more about retail and COVID-19 and beyond in this article.

  • No matter the size of your business, you can benefit from using a retail management solution to manage your customers and employees, drive sales, manage inventory, and provide reporting analytics. Investing in retail management software doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment — in fact, some solutions, such as Square for Retail, are free.

Square for Retail's main reporting dashboard showing graphs of various metrics.

Square’s reporting tools provide valuable insight into your retail sales. Image source: author

The future of retail management

One thing is certain: technology will continue to play an increasingly important role in every retailer’s journey. Artificial intelligence and automation technology have already massively disrupted the retail industry, while the focus on data analytics continues to drive smarter decisions that improve operations and experience customer.

People in leadership positions in retail will be at the center of managing the impact of these changes.

Technology aside, customers want a deeper connection with brands. It takes more than a good business to draw customers to your side, with customer experience solidifying loyalty and driving sales. Retail managers will need to find new ways to compete with their rivals, especially during uncertain times.


Comments are closed.