Three Tips for Empowering Frontline Retail Teams

As part of my day-to-day work, I am lucky enough to meet incredible people working hard at the cutting edge of retail. They're passionate about the job, have unique ideas about customer service and deliver serious value for the business every single day.

Not all of these people are in the boardroom.

Most of them are on the frontline, managing stores, motivating teams and serving customers. So it's imperative that we help these superheroes of the frontline to take action and truly reach their potential.

Here are three things businesses can do to get the most out of their store managers.

1) Let your frontline make decisions

Corporate office empowering frontline manager to have good ideas

Today, consumer behaviour changes by the hour. Store managers are the eyes and ears of the business, given the right data, they can capitalise on trends and make small but essential adjustments to the way the store operates. These profitable changes deliver a better customer experience. What’s the benefit? Well, 7 out of 10 consumers say they’ve spent more money with a company that delivers outstanding customer service*. Great for a single retailer but, extrapolated across the business can have a tremendous positive impact on the bottom line. Give them the tools and power to make that judgment.

2) Create an active sharing environment

Give your store managers the ability to connect with one another and learn from each other's innovative approaches. Championing some of the rock stars is one thing, but letting them take their ideas and innovation to the broader team can produce outstanding results. Go beyond pre-prescribed training and into real-time learning that's led from the front rather than from HQ. It will mean that the information shared will be relevant, current and above all, can be implemented quickly.

3) Keep things actionable

Frontline manager taking action based off information on a laptop

Sometimes it's all too easy to get lost in the world of corporate jargon and endless spreadsheets. While it's tempting to share absolutely everything with all team members, most of the time, it's essential to interpret data and translate it into simple, actionable language. So, instead of reviewing analysis and writing commentary for their bosses around the intricate details of fluctuating energy prices, frontline managers should be encouraged to take action – switching off unused equipment and putting energy-saving measures in place.

Front line teams are the heartbeat of any strong retail business. My passion is providing ways to keep them engaged, motivated and valued in an ever-changing industry. These tips will help to bring about a more motivated and committed frontline. As high streets shift to more tactile showrooms an empowered frontline is going to make all the difference.

*American Express, 2017

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