How to Overcome 5 Common Retail Management Mistakes

Whether you are a newly promoted retail store manager, a district manager, or own a chain of retail locations you may encounter some of these common management challenges.  Here is some simple guidance to help you get on the right track!

1. In the retail industry it is not unusual to promote your top sales retail sales representatives into management positions and they often fail to make the transition from “salesperson” to manager.

            Solution: Understand what it takes to be a great manager and train your team members on those skills and competencies.

2. Many new store and retail field managers continually “fight fires” but never seem to get them put out.  If your retail managers are always in “firefighting mode” they will be unable to plan for future events and create plans to address them.

            Solution: Communicate key priorities and spend time on diagnosing the root causes of recurring issues…then make a plan to address them.

3. Many retail managers were promoted because of their ability to be self-starters and learn on the job.  As a result, they leave staff to sink or swim on their own…after all, that is how they did it!

            Solution: While on-the-job training is important, you can achieve better results and reduce costly employee turnover by investing in retail training programs and coaching team members as they work through them.

4. Ignoring the importance of performance standards is an easy thing for new managers to do.  In fact, it is likely that they earned their promotion through exceeding them and assume that everyone is motivated to succeed.

            Solution: Define and communicate your standards early on.  Then reward your high achievers, coach your struggling team members, and replace retail sales representatives who do not take action to improve results.

5. It is not uncommon for new retail management personnel to get taken by surprise when their team members fail to achieve desired results – even when you have communicated expectations.

            Solution: Understand that communicating your standards is not enough.  You will need to become a hands-on coach who lives by the old axiom – “inspect what you expect”

Want to learn more about how you can improve the retail management skills for your team?  Contact us for a free one-hour consultation!

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at