RETAIL INSTRUCTIONS: retail and sport, a successful relationship

RETAIL INSTRUCTIONS: retail and sport, a successful relationship

📅06 Marzo 2020, 15:33

by Paolo Zanardi – Xt srl

In this AN Shopfitting Magazine issue we will give food for thought on retail and its change from 1990 until today.

This article and forthcoming issues, we will recall the salient stages and touch upon all the topics concerning the management of the sales points and the human resource.

This report is a synthesis from our book, recently published, we have written with the aim to tell 28 years in the retail world in Italy, seen at the beginning with the eyes of a young twenty-four ys until of these days adult.

thought on retail and its change

Since 1991 I have collected a wide knowledge of the sector and I wanted to gather it, meaning to have a from this professional adventure full of experiences, also to write a text for all those who work in retail or become part of.

Since then I have worked in all product sector, developing my professional culture in retail every year. I hope, therefore, that it can be a useful reading, perhaps also fun in some anecdotes, in which the reader can find himself, as well as a starting point for the new generations who want to find a place in this working environment.

I have had the privilege of seeing the growth in Italy of the retail sector on both sides; as an employee and as a consultant, thus drawing an increase in addition to observe and learn their dynamics from different perspectives.

Through various stages and reports you’ll get an idea of retail and realize its evolution from the 90s until today.

Furthermore I let the operators in the sector, who kindly provided me with their specific contribution, to offer a complete picture on this topic.

Managers with great skills, or otherwise with shady characters have passed me by; skilled managers and other randomly stumbled upon the role; finally, skilled salesmen, but also compliant and depressed clerks, who, having not understood the essence of their task, went out over time

In my career I have also known real celebrities, but not somebody of encyclopedic definition, therefore not only economists, architects, engineers or anything else, but simply clever characters who had found solutions (sometimes stratagems) to achieve great results outside the classic methods imposed by our society and/or work.

thought on retail and its change

If you follow me, you could grab the opportunity and you will find useful advices.

  • Retail is competition
  • Retail is a team game
  • Retail is working by objectives

If you are an athlete, maybe even a little competitive, you will have an advantage.

The comparison and analogies between sport and retail are certainly an example of how two apparently different areas implement very similar principles and dynamics. A adequate dose of competitiveness will help you and lead to success. The store and the jobs stay grounded only if you are competitive on the market. If you belong to a motivated and winning team you will make your job more pleasant. Having ambitious goals, sometimes achievable will make your profession more challenging.

My experience immediately leads me to realize it, when I go in a shop, and I found an overall nice atmosphere particularly among colleagues. This is the first step of an ethereal “shopping experience”. In a network of shops, as well as inside the store, there must be some honest competition, and a manager must stimulate and encourage everybody to give the best.

As for sportive games, even in the retail sector it is necessary a suitable workout. Do you want to learn how?

For example, keeping up to date on what is happening around us in other companies or in competing stores. Or by participating to specific training courses, not too theoretical. Or, finally, by training every day our ability to interact with customers, trying to empathy with their needs. When I hear many shops in crisis due to online sales, I believe that predominant is the alibi of professionals towards.

Certainly the consumer has been attracted to this novelty, but I am sure that the “shopping experience” will never be replaced by online retail. Because this is based not only on the sense of sight, but above all on emotions provided exclusively by a good salesman.

I always thought that working in a store can be very fun and motivating, but at the same time, if viewed in a wrong way, it could be boring and depressing. If you do not establish daily objectives for sales or job quality, this profession becomes extremely routine and heavy. Finally, it is necessary to overcome laziness and change the ordinary fare, a normal human defection, you will rediscover the hilarious parts of this profession.

A modern store manager is effectively a coach on this sector.

Hence, he must be immediately a point of reference for his collaborators, a support on which rely upon to discuss and solve the problems, rather than an expert on products and all the questions on the sales point; sometimes store managers are more important than area managers. As a consequence, the reliability of an area manager must ground on his experience as operator inside the store.

To continue the analogy between sport and retail, it becomes fundamental to facilitate the “players” accordingly to their characteristics, skills and knowledge. Only those who have experienced all aspects of retail will be an efficient professional and above all credible in the market scene.

By now, I still see on the market some consulting firms, having no consultants on their staff who can say, with no doubts, to have the requirements and knowledges in the various roles in retail; So, this is a suggestion for all companies wishing to structure themselves with internal staff or external consultants: always make sure that your interlocutors have actually had direct experiences in all roles.

If you have a team (of a store or of a chain of stores) it is essential to give them clear, achievable and verifiable goals. There is nothing more tragic than working with generic, impossible objectives and, worse, without periodic checks by those who assign them. The relationship between a store manager and his employees or between an area manager and his store managers is the same between a trainer and his players. Among them there must be respect, a little healthy competition, but, above all, a balance on roles.

Retail e sport, affinità vincenti

The coach is not a friend or an enemy … he is simply a guide to achieving a professional goal.

He must be followed by his players by daily exchange of views and practical verification of the results. I still remember when in the early 90s, the role of area manager had the title of “inspector”, that is, the person in charge to survey. This small lexical detail created a gap between colleagues, as the way to think the roles like “guards and thieves” or “teacher and pupils”. Over the years it has been revealed that the “glue” between sales points and headquarters was that of a coordinator and not a controller. All this led me to create courses for store managers by making them understood about the basics of the role.

Therefore a store manager

1. He claims because he is first to demonstrate and apply the rules personally.
2. He doesn’t apologize, but  suggests solutions
3. He never complains about his management with his players and he never complains about the players in front of the management
4. He shows the way of acting and not only himself
5. He delegates, verifies and provides feedback.

The teacher must be a coach whose main objective is to stimulate, encourage and support his students.

A coach’s aim is to recover those who are less capable or talented.

To be continued…

by AN shopfitting magazine no.155 ©

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