How To Train A Retail Manager

USA Today has a quiz supplied by the National Retail Federation based on materials they use in their retail management and certification courses. [And if you’re one of those people obsessed with taking quizzes, stop reading here until you’ve taken it.] It’s an interesting but somewhat obvious set of questions, all centered on hammering home the concept that being a retail manager means focusing on display, loss prevention, and customer service—but not on “long-term planning” of the type of merchandise that will be sent to your store.

Also good to note: if a customer gives a buying signal, “Close the sale before the customer changes his mind,” and apparently a good buying signal is “The customer approaches the counter and reaches for her purse.” Funny, we thought buying signals would be more subtle than that.

“Think you know retail?” [USA Today]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. egs says:

    Does that really surprise anyone, that store managers don’t plan their own assortments? Are we really so clueless as to think every store manager in every mall is asked if blue or green would sell better?

  2. trinkagen says:

    You would be very surprised how managers are going recently. When I was a retail manager less than a year ago we had a team put together to at least put in our say as to how we felt we did in sales and advertising during the previous year. This year I stepped down to employee due to travel and my manager has a schedule from corporate that says which days of the week he is alowed to have a day off.

  3. CamilleR says:

    I’m a store manager and only got number 9 wrong. If the customer’s “giving the buying signal” I am going to try to sell her something else instead of rushing to ring her up. If the customer is that uncertain of her purchase that I have to ring her up before she changes her mind, I’d suggest the customer not buy the item. You get more customer loyalty and fewer returns if you don’t talk people into buying things they aren’t sure they want or need.
    We have no say in what merchandise our store gets or when we get it. If we did, there would have been far fewer baby doll tops last season.

  4. FishingCrue says:

    Here’s how to train a retail manager (or any retail position for that matter) — Take whatever K-Mart would do and do the exact opposite. In my experience they have absolutely the worst employee training on the planet.

  5. ibelieveinsteve says:

    i found the test interesting and not surprising, i’ve been a retail manager for 3 years now, every year i lose more control on what products i have, and how many of them i get…i keep hoping that they figure out that we have alot better idea of what will sell in the store than some pencil pusher at corporate…

  6. goodkitty says:

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to buy something and found it sold out because ‘corporate’ didn’t think it would be a hot item for that location. Even Costco is guilty of this. Local management should be the one to determine product availability, not a sheltered corporate drone. It’s shocking to think of all the nickel-and-diming schemes stores will pursue to save money, but they won’t do a darn thing to actually SELL more product by keeping it in stock or (in the case of larger stores) actually having a sales person ready to man the register when I do want to ‘close the sale’.

  7. IndyJaws says:

    I spent 20 years in retail at various levels and got 9 of 10, missing #9 as well. Perhaps you would turn over to a more experienced sales associate if you were selling cars and needed to close, but if you’re selling appliances or electronics, you wouldn’t follow that advice. If they’re showing signs of buying, you might want to move to an assumptive close by helping them pick out the accessories they’ll need with the product.