Nature of the Jobs:
Analysts in retail operations may work with sales data, producing sales reports that track individual store sales by manager and sales associate by product types. Analysts will frequently create reports that are used to determine if a store, manager or sales associate are meeting their quota.
Other work that operations analysts may be required to do including projecting future sales, is to set quotas and incentives, as well as establishing bonus payments based on achievement of sales objectives. Many times, the reports analysts construct for future sales projections are also distributed to shipping and manufacturing to help ensure that enough products are available at select locations based on sales projections.
Analysts may use sales data gathered daily and weekly to determine the types of products sold at specific areas of the country, as well as help determine predictions for future sales based on local data, such as weather forecasts. If severe weather is predicted, sales analysts may then project that more mosquito repellent and power generators may be needed in stores in the path of the storm system.
Analysts responsible for sales force communication and store communications may outline, draft, and then review the communication with management. The analyst may then distribute the communications, either through e-mail, websites, or through printed materials.
Retail operation manager jobs have the responsibility of adapting the corporate strategy to actions that result in improved profitability and sales. Retail operations managers may be responsible for ensuring that projects that support retail operations are funded and have the right type of people assigned to the projects.
Incentive and compensation managers have the responsibility of determining the types of reward programs that will be used to encourage sales, improved customer experiences, and higher profitability. Incentive managers will work closely with senior management to ensure that the behaviors that result in success are rewarded with bonuses on a monthly, quarterly, or annually. For commissioned representatives and managers, the Incentive and compensation managers set the payout curves and commissions for each type of product sold, as well as any special incentive programs that may be executed supporting promotional events.
Sales Strategy and Analytics managers follow store sales on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis to determine the productivity of each store, each manager, and each representative. These managers work closely with distribution and logistics to ensure that every store has the right products stocked based on the reports generated by their analysts. Special operation jobs may include working with marketing and sales to determine if business development opportunities should be pursued, including the purchase or divestiture of a business segment.
Sales training managers establish training programs that help store managers and store sales representatives learn and experience the best selling techniques, as well as how to use any software needed to record sales and customer information. Training managers will direct projects of training project coordinators and trainers to develop instructional packages for new employee orientation, sales training classes, as well as train employees on any new processes, products, or promotions that are deployed to stores.
Property managers may also be regarded in Retail operations. The Property manager’s job is to ensure that all stores are properly located in areas that have the right demographic profiles of customers. Property managers also have to balance the cost of the property rental with the potential sales generated by the location. Property managers may also have the responsibility of working with other contractors in setting up stores, coordinating activities with Human Resources to set up the store management to hire employees, as well as negotiate the leasing agreement for the property.
Job Outlook for Retail Operations
Retail operations positions are projected to grow at about the same rate as the general economy. With the focus on efficiency of operations and using a more centralized approach to maximize a store’s brand image, retail operations positions are seen as an integral element of executing effective national and regional sales strategy.
Jobs in Operation require an attention to detail, as well as an understanding of the general business of the company. Managers and analysts routinely work with multiple departments within the company to ensure that products are efficiently distributed to the right stores in the right amounts.
With the increased amount of sales data available, analysts and managers with report generating responsibility also must understand the strengths and limitations of the sales data, as well as use business judgment to determine if the recommendations make sense given the general business outlook.
Almost all analyst and manager positions require a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Some analyst positions may be filled by individuals holding a two year associates degree. However, advancement will be limited. Management positions routinely are filled with candidates who hold a masters degree, such as an MBA.