What Makes a Great Retail Store Manager

May 16, 2021
retail, retail manager, manager, retail store, store

Since several members of our team come from retail management, one of our specialties is filling retail store manager roles for luxury brands. Here is what we look for when searching for an outstanding store manager:

Strong brand representative

Your store manager is the face of your brand and needs to love it. That love needs to come through in everything that they do, because when they love your brand they will inspire their team and customers to do the same. They should have a strong understanding of your clientele and have a vision of how that can be expanded. They must take a deep pride in their personal presentation and that of their store.

Dynamic people leader

Retail is hard, and it cannot be successfully executed alone. Great store managers are an endless source of inspiration — an example of focus and execution to their team. They can succinctly explain a variety of performance goals and lead each team member to achievement. This requires strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, and consistency. It also requires a strong sense of personal discipline and the development of a disciplined team. When you ask their team about their qualities, they should respond with “hard-working”, “inspiring”, “dedicated”, “strategic”. Be careful if the first word is “nice”.

Obsessed with customer experience

The customer is the whole point of a store and every customer must be treated like gold. Great store managers will re-enforce this daily, often being personally knowledgeable about many of their customers. They will ensure that each client interaction is outstanding by providing education about the brand, showcasing the best product for them, connecting personally with the client, and building the foundation for an ongoing relationship.

Proactive leader of client development activities

What do we do when customers aren’t walking in the door?? Great store managers have a plan well before this happens. They know how to rally the troops to reach out to clients and activate local marketing activities that will drive new or existing customer into their (physical or digital) doors.

Strong attention to detail

A retail store is the physical manifestation of your brand, and it must be impeccably maintained. Great store managers value the visual nature of the store and work hard to maintain a beautiful and impactful environment.

Organized operator

An impeccably front-of-house is best served with an impeccable back-of-house. This requires efficient stock, shipping and loss-prevention, and human resources activities.

Analytical and Numbers-Driven

Unless you’re Louis Vuitton, achieving sales goals is a top priority — and that is achieved with strategy and focus. Store managers must know their numbers inside and out, be quick to identify problem areas (and successes), and take immediate action to address these realities.

Corporate Partner

A retail store is the end of a long company process that designs, produces, and markets their brand and merchandise. A great store manager understands that they are part of the larger whole, knows how to leverage corporate partners when needed, and is experienced at supporting larger company initiatives.

Bonus: Formerly a top seller

Sellers don’t always make the best managers, and managers don’t always make the best sellers. But when you can find them in 1 person, you’ve struck gold. A Store Manager with a strong sales background will be an outstanding partner to their sales team, help them grow sales, and understand the intricacies of client relationships.

About the contributor
William Brobston

William Brobston spent 15 years in the luxury retail industry, holding senior leadership roles with European and American luxury apparel & fine jewelry brands before launching Brobston Group in 2017.


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