Top 10 retail management skills you need to have

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

The retail management sector is a competitive one – so what retail skills do you need to get the job you want?

Great leadership – motivate and people manage

All retailers are looking for their graduates to be future leaders of the business. Developing your leadership skills and being able to convey them during the selection process is essential. Great leadership doesn’t just mean the ability to successfully manage a project and a team. A great leader has the ability to motivate, prioritise, delegate, build relationships and solve problems.

Analytical skills – the nitty gritty of business success

People skills are only a part of the set of retail skills you need to make it in management. In order to run and continue to grow and develop a business successfully you need to deliver results and understand the factors that contribute to those results. Practical analytical skills, understanding profit and loss, sales figures, pricings and forecasting future sales volumes are essential, especially in merchandising and finance management roles.

Industry awareness – know where you stand

If you want to land a graduate job in retail you need to be able to show that you’re commercially aware. In order to make a real contribution to a business’s success you need to understand the climate it’s operating in, the challenges it faces, its competitors and what they are doing. You also need to understand why different retailers are successful, and know what’s going on in the wider economy.

Confident communicator – can you talk the talk?

Business is built on communication. Negotiating contracts with clients and suppliers, delegating effectively, ensuring easy communication with employees and higher management, as well as customers – it all requires confidence in your communication abilities, in person, over the phone, and via text and email.

Real world experience – get out there

Retail skills can be learnt in the classroom, but nothing beats real-world experience. Employers want managers who’ve been out there on the shop floor and know how the retail sector really works in practice, not just on paper. That’s why you might want to consider a Work-Based Distance Learning course for your business management training. These courses allow you to continue in your existing retail position while you earn your degree qualification.

Business development – an eye on the bigger picture

The ability for a business to develop in terms of sales, or production, gives it an additional edge, allowing it to compete successfully and ride out a stagnant economy. For this reason, graduates with sales and business development skills, and an understanding of strategy and tactical development, are always highly sought after by employers.

Team skills – don’t just lead, be a part of the team

As a manager you need to be able to lead, but also function well as part of a team. Whatever level of business your operate at, you’ll be required to build and maintain strong relationships, be it with employees, senior management, or stakeholders. The ability to work well with others will help your career progress, as well as ensuring a more effectively run business.

Customer focus – companies fail without customers

Thanks to the internet and the social media boom, we’re now living in a business era that’s more customer-led than ever. Consumers have a voice online, and an understanding of what customers want, how to deliver unbeatable customer service across a range of platforms, and how to communicate successfully with customers is key.

Change management – adapt fast

The online shopping revolution is the latest in a long line of shockwaves to the retail sector. The way we buy and sell is constantly changing. Companies that succeed are the companies that can foresee and embrace change, not shy away from it. Employers seek retail managers with the ability to make decisions based on external change, and implement change within the company in order to adapt.

Operations management – supply chain know-how

Depending on the area of retail you want to get into, operations management is an area where it can pay to develop your retails skills. Understanding the fundamental principles of a retail business supply chain can help you help your business cut costs, improve efficiency and boost profits.

The University of Lincoln Work-Based Learning top-up degrees will help you achieve your career goals and obtain a qualification with a global focus. Find out more about the Lincoln WBDL programmes.


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