Consumers have more choices than ever. As the internet brings millions of e-commerce shops in direct competition with brick-and-mortar stores, you need to get familiar with the best retail management practices to truly stand out.
From your store operations to retail marketing, every part of the customer experience will impact where shoppers put their money in the end. Spending some time reading the best books for retail management will help educate, inspire, and prepare you for the retail industry today. Get tips for retail from the experts with our recommendations below.
What is Retail Management?
Even if your official job title isn’t “retail store manager,” you may already be playing the part. Retail management is simply the process that goes into selling a product to a consumer, from the time a product is acquired to the time a purchase is made.
Your goal as a retail manager is to improve both sales and customer satisfaction. In order to do so, you’ll need to pay close attention to a number of areas of your business that go into reaching these goals. For example, you must:
- Oversee your team and ensure each person is well-trained with good customer service skills.
- Keep an eye on inventory and determine how fast products are moving.
- Select and market products and promotions.
- Do market research.
- Manage cash flow and expenses from retail sales and operations.
- Develop new retail strategies to build and improve long-term customer relationships.
6 Books on Retail Management
Retail management often requires you to wear many hats. However, if you’re dedicated to improving your problem-solving and leadership skills through insightful reads, you’ll be on your way to gaining a competitive advantage in the retail sector. Here, we’ll guide you through some of the most useful retail management books.
For understanding customer needs
In the current age of retail, a strong focus on your target customer is the best way to gain a competitive advantage. We’ve selected two must-reads for learning about consumer behavior and what factors drive buyers toward a successful purchase.
1. “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping”
The retail world is changing faster than ever, with the web bringing global customers to both large and small businesses. This classic retail management book by Paco Underhill is now up-to-date with plenty of case studies that illustrate how consumer culture is changing, as well as what actions you need to take to keep up.
“Why We Buy” is a useful and credible resource for retail managers who want to learn more about how to attract new customers with proven tips. The book will also help you convert browsers into shoppers by influencing their decision-making in the midst of their in-store and mobile shopping experiences.
2. “The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism”
The move toward online retail is not the first time the industry has seen a major change. Doug Stephens’ book gives great insight into the many retail shifts that have occurred over the years, in an effort to help you develop a proactive retail management mindset.
When you read “The Retail Revival,” you’ll be better equipped to look for signs of changing buyer needs and thrive during what Stephens calls “seismic shifts” in the retail environment. Instead of being left behind, like many big-box retailers, you can use the tips you get to continue creating customer experiences that allow you to grow and become a success story.
For developing company culture
Employee satisfaction impacts customer satisfaction more than you think. That said, learning how to align your whole team with your mission, values, and approach to customer relationship management will ensure your buyers expect and get great service with every interaction.
3. “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose”
Zappos, an online shoe retailer, is a well-known leader in human resource management, and its approaches to culture and service helped the company achieve an acquisition by Amazon in 2009. This bestselling book by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, guides readers through how to create an employee-focused culture that has the potential for the same success.
By reading “Delivering Happiness,” you can learn how to spur a company-wide commitment to serving customer needs. It will also help you improve your team member’s skill sets and loyalty by enabling you to drive each person toward personal and professional growth.
4. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”
Understanding what motivates people can give you great insight into what you need to do to better your team’s performance—and therefore, your sales. This New York Times bestseller by Daniel H. Pink tells you what motivates people to do their best and enjoy their work beyond a big paycheck.
The book is backed by decades of research from the author, who combines psychology with management. You’ll learn how to give your employees what they really want—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—so you can get measurable results. The techniques you learn can also spark ideas for motivating your customers to buy, making this book useful for various aspects of retail management.
For marketing and sales tips
Before you can treat your customers well, you need to make them aware of your company in the first place. The following two books share excellent resources for marketing your on-sale items, new products, and overall brand.
Don’t let the plain title fool you. “Marketing” by Dhruv Grewal and Michael Levy is the seventh edition of a textbook that has been long trusted by educators to provide an expansive view of consumer-facing marketing practices. It takes into account both fundamental marketing theories and new market research to help you add value to your retail company.
This book is a practical, visually engaging resource that will help you attract new leads and create lasting relationships. It will even help you develop your own marketing strategy, so you can put what you learn into action.
Fair warning: The hardcover version of this book is pricey. However, you can get a Kindle copy for less than half the price.
6. “Silent Selling: Best Practices and Effective Strategies in Visual Merchandising”
So once you have a customer in your store, what do you do to successfully guide them toward a purchase? Written by Judy Bell and Kate Ternus, this interactive, affordable textbook helps you finish out the final leg of the retail management cycle: making a sale.
“Silent Selling” is a modern look at how you can design your store to influence consumer behavior, using everything from attractive lighting to in-store displays. The practical visual merchandising techniques you learn can quickly be applied to any brick-and-mortar store.
Get A Competitive Edge
When you first open a retail store, it’s natural not to know everything right off the bat. Reading up on best practices with these retail management books can give you a competitive advantage.
Studying the best books on retail management and taking action on what you learn can help you continuously improve your skills, your sales, and customer retention. This will allow your retail operations to run more smoothly and enable your brand to grow.
If you’re looking for further reading or you want to start with a free resource first, download our “Chat for Local Retailers” e-book to sell more by increasing convenience. This resource includes a closer look at how retail is changing, so you can adjust and adapt.