10 Skills You Need For Retail Operations

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 2, 2018

Jul 2, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you thinking about expanding outside of the average retail position? Consider becoming a retail operations manager.

Retail operations managers are in charge of multiple stores. They make sure all stores are staffed correctly. They help train employees and offer leadership to management.

They also oversee the inventory, any necessary supplies, and purchases.

Since this is such an integral role, previous retail experience, preferable management, is required. Your best bet is to get a promotion from a retail chain you already work for.

Are you cut out to be a retail operations manager? Before you apply, make sure you have what companies are looking for. Here are 10 skills you need to be an operations manager.

1. Employee Management

One of your most important roles is overseeing both employees and store managers.

You need to make sure all stores are staffed correctly and the employees are under good leadership. Operations managers also help with employee training by providing manuals and other helpful resources.

If you have experience as a store manager, you'll apply employee management skills to the store managers.

You'll closely work with managers to resolve any conflicts and oversee their leadership skills. But operations managers also work to improve employee retention and performance.

2. Inventory Analysis

As an operations manager, this is one of your most important duties. You'll look at sales figures for each location and will determine any inventory requirements.

To do this, you'll visit each store and will take a look at their sales and what they have in stock. You'll understand how much of a certain product each store should have, knowing the fine line between too little inventory and overstocking.

3. Visual Merchandising

As a store manager, this was one of your daily roles. But this role strengthens when you get bumped to operations manager.

Overall, the goal of visual merchandising is to set up the store and products so everything is more appealing. This will encourage customers to shop more.

Rather than do this role daily, you'll oversee the merchandising with each store. You'll also get called in when stores receive new merchandise and a new product.

4. Cost Management

If cost management was a big factor when you were a store manager, then you'll experience cost management at its maximum. Operations managers oversee cost management constantly for each store.

This includes sales number, cost of current inventory, operational expenses, and any other losses. You'll use this information to determine if each store is meeting their sales goals or if the stores are spending too much.

What if a store isn't meeting their goals or is spending too much? What if there has been theft and the products don't contact security tags from SensorNation?

You visit the store to help the store manager maximize profits and reduce spending.

5. Customer Service

No matter what position you work in the retail industry, everyone needs customer service skills. This was the very first skill you learned when you first began working in retail.

As an operations manager, you don't interact with customers as much as the store staff. But you still need a thorough understanding of exceptional customer service.

If you see a store has many customer service complaints, you're the one who comes in and teaches customer service skills to the management and employees.

6. Sales Experience

In addition to customer service skills, you need to be a great salesperson. Unlike customer services, sales persuade the customer to purchase a product.

How do you utilize sales skills as an operations manager? If you notice sales are declining for one store, you come in and train the staff with great sales skills and different approaches to earn more sales.

7. Resilience

The retail world is constantly changing.

There are larger-scale innovations you need to prepare for, such as new technology or new safety features. But the smaller daily changes will prove to be the most difficult.

As an operations manager, you get hit with both minor and major changes. You need to have thick skin to handle these changes. Use this opportunity to get excited about the uncertainties, and try to not feel mentally exhausted.

8. Organization

As you can tell, operations managers have a lot on their plate. They're looking at multiple stores and are juggling different roles and responsibilities. Retail is also fast-paced and busy. To keep track of everything, organizational skills are a must.

Good organizational, problem-solving and planning skills are important tools you'll grow to develop.

You'll get better at multi-tasking, organizing and planning all of your responsibilities. This will not only benefit you but your boss and all of the stores you manage.

9. Communication

Since so many people rely on you, you have to be able to effectively communicate with different people.

Great communication skills will benefit your job performance. Exceptional communication helps store management and store employees perform their jobs better.

You'll organize lots of meeting and be the person who handles both positive and negative confrontations.

10. Operations Management

You can't be an operations manager without using operations management! If you're unfamiliar with this term, you're ensuring everyone's role runs smoothly.

You do this by gathering feedback, operational inputs, current processes, and policies. You take this information and apply it to new systems, processes, and policies.

Time to Become a Retail Operations Manager

A retail operations manager is a vital role and helps you move up in the retail field

You'll work with multiple stores to ensure all operations are running smoothly. Other roles include making sure all inventory is up-to-par, sales goals are met, and the staff is properly trained.

To gain experience, your best bet is to work as a store employee first and work your way up. From here, you'll gain all necessary skills to succeed as an operations manager.

Do you want to find a retail operations manager position? Search for open positions.