How to Have a Successful Career in Retail Management

Retail is the third-largest sector within the South African economy. 

This is an excellent industry to work in since it offers job security and flexibility, and if you’d like make a successful career in retail management keep reading.

REGENT offers a BCOM in Retail Management that will provide helpful education into the theories and practices of managing a retail business. 

But is retail management the right career for you? 

This article will explain how to have a successful career in retail management, discuss what retail management is, give you a list of the skills you need to be successful in this position, and give you the steps you can follow to pursue a career as a retail manager. 

What is a retail manager?

Retail managers manage retail stores and assist in specific management departments. Since retail stores can vary in size, from a few hundred feet in the storefront to massive warehouses, management structures may vary. 

Day-to-day duties may also vary depending on the type of position. As a retail manager, your most common tasks include managing store employees, assisting customers, tracking sales, arranging the store environment, and more. 

If you are responsible for managing a specific department instead of the entire store, you will usually only need to handle the tasks within that department. 

Retail managers often work with several other employees and may also be required to assist the primary manager with their tasks when absent. 

As the modern retail landscape continuously evolves, the duties of retail managers are constantly changing. This can make the already demanding role more challenging as the pressures of hitting sales quotas rise. 

However, with the right skills, you can make a successful career in retail management in entry-level management or top-tier positions. 

What skills do retail managers need to be successful

To be an effective retail manager, you need to have specific hard and soft skills. These include, but are not limited to:

Listening skills

You will have many employees working under you. Thus, you must be an active listener when they come to you with questions and problems. 

This includes listening to their struggles and considering different ways to solve them. You must also be aware of their lives outside of work by listening to their stories. 

This will make you come across as a compassionate manager who cares about their staff. As a result, this could reduce the store’s turnover rate. There are several reasons for employee turnover. One of the biggest reasons is that employees do not feel valued. 

Communication skills

Going hand-in-hand with listening skills, managers also need to be able to communicate effectively. You must communicate expectations and tasks to employees to ensure a clear and concise way of getting things done. 

You also need to communicate with customers when there is a problem to resolve the issue more quickly. 

Time-management skills

The retail environment can be incredibly fast-paced. As such, you must be excellent at time management and handling various tasks simultaneously. 

This skill can allow you to get more things done in a shorter time and equips you with enough time to handle unexpected problems. 

You can choose to use formal time-management techniques, such as the 80/20 rule, or you can choose to follow your own system. 

Data-tracking skills

Managing retail stores requires managers to manage a lot of data. The store you work at might track data such as the number of customers, hours and wages, sales, and more. 

By understanding and using this data, you can better understand what customers want, where the business excels, and where improvements can be made. This may help the store make more sales and result in you gaining advancement opportunities. 

Management skills

You must have excellent management and leadership skills as a retail manager since you often need to train, manage, and organise employees. 

As part of your leadership skills, you must be decisive to direct staff clearly and effectively. There should be no confusion, and employees should always know what is expected of them. 

Discover some of the top management skills all managers need

How to have a successful career in retail management

There are several ways you can become a retail manager. However, you should consider gaining an education for the best chances of success. Follow these steps to become a retail manager. 

1. Pursue an education

Managerial position requirements may vary from store to store. But, most stores often require you to have a bachelor’s degree. A degree will give you an advantage over other candidates and help you attain top-tier positions. 

Some degrees that could help you attain manager positions include the following: 

2. Gain retail experience 

Managerial positions require previous experience in retail. Therefore, you need to gain experience — either while studying or afterwards. If you are studying a distance learning program, you can apply for internships while learning. 

If you choose to study full-time, you will likely be able to apply for more entry-level positions, such as an assistant store manager and will be able to work your way up. 

3. Apply for a retail management position

After you have gained a few years of experience working in retail and your bachelor’s degree, you can apply for a position as a retail store manager. This will increase your income potential and give you higher levels of responsibility. 

You will likely be responsible for the entire store and will be in charge of company assets, implementing policies, firing employees, ensuring good customer experiences, and more. 

Study retail management with REGENT

Does retail management sound like the ideal career for your aspirations and goals? 

If so, you can follow the steps outlined in this article to get the process of becoming a retail manager started. Have a look at our BCOM in Retail Management to see if this is the right course for you. 

Not sure whether you want to commit to a three-year program? Consider looking at our Higher Certificate in Retail Management instead.


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