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The retail sector is a small sector of the global business, but it plays one of the most crucial roles and is one of the most challenging jobs in the global business. These challenges and difficulties grow exponentially when individual workers also have the responsibility for leading and managing retail departments. These individual workers in the managerial roles must know the ins and outs of the retail industry whilst employing effective communication strategies such as listening and presenting just to name a few to make the retail store a success.
In order to know the ins and outs of the retail industry, you must firstly know and understand what a retailer is and what its role is. Nic (2014: 03) tells us that, “A retailer is a business that focuses its marketing efforts on the final consumer with intentions of selling goods or services to them”. On the other hand, according to, (Matthew 2018: ¶1), “A retailer is an entity that sells goods such as clothing, groceries or cars directly to consumers through various distribution channels with the goal of earning a profit.” With both authors having different but similar definitions of what a retailer is, I conclude that a retailer is a business that sells goods or produces a service to the final customer for a profit in exchange.
Retailers act as a link between customers and manufacturers by purchasing merchandise from manufacturers in large quantities so that they can be resold to the customers at a profit. Retailers help customers cancel out the spatial gaps, Time gaps, Quantity and assortment gaps, Ownership gaps, Information gaps and Value gaps. Spatial gaps exist because of the distance between the manufacturers and the customers would be too great for the customers just to purchase a few goods. Retailers overcome this gap by purchasing products from these manufacturers and reselling them at locations that customers are able to reach conveniently and do not have to travel long distances. Retailers have been trying to eliminate the spatial gaps they have introduced online shopping. With the online shopping, customers do not have to leave their homes to purchase goods but rather purchase the goods online and have them delivered on their doorstep.
Time gaps result from differences in production and consumptions times of products. A clear example of time gaps is when you want to purchase a certain product such as a fruit but it is not in-season in your country. Retailers make sure that those types of products are available to the customers the whole year. Quantity and assortment gaps happen when manufacturers cut down the product line to have the right amount that is needed and there is a wide-range of assorted products to choose from as a customer. Retailers overcome these gaps two gaps by purchasing limited products that are offered by different manufacturers and wholesalers. This results to customers having a wide-selection of products to choose from. To conclude on the Quantity and Assortment gap, retailers buy in bulk and sell smaller quantities to the customers.
The information gaps exist when manufacturers want to get a message across to the customers or make them aware of the products that they are offering. They do this through advertising and through promotions. As customers are able to have access to the internet, they could see the advertisements through social media and that will keep them informed. Value gaps exist when a customer a customer needs adjustments to their product such as deliveries or repairs. These services that are produced by the retailer add more value to a product or service.
All of these retail gaps that I have covered tell you about the retail industry and how much interaction with other people it has. With a lot of interaction with other people effective communication is needed and there is a higher chance of facing difficulties.
Before understand the concept of effective communication and knowing the effective communication strategies, you need to know what “communication” is. Sandra (2014: 01) says that, “Communication is the process of creating meaning between two or more people through the expression and interpretation of messages.” On the other hand, this is what Chris (2014: 143) had to say about communication in the retail industry, “Communication, like gravity, is recognized by everyone yet fully understood by no one”.
Communicating effectively plays a crucial role in the business and is a positive factor for the business. With effective communication employees and employers are able to understand each other and give feedback when communicating. With this type of effective communication among managers and employees, everyone is able to express themselves as they have a feeling of acceptance among other employees and managers. A positive atmosphere is created in the workspace without anyone actually taking note as that will also make them more productive.
Retailers do not only have to communicate effectively among themselves at the workplace but also need to communicate with their customers. Effective communication strategies must be employed from employees, employers and with the customers. Communication strategies such as listening, writing, presenting and reading just to name a few must be implemented for the purpose of selling products or services and to identify the needs of the customers.
Through the effective communication strategies , the customers must be informed about the products offered, prices, the shops location and services offered just to name a few. Your customers must be informed about the sales and promotions through advertising and when they enter your shop, they must have a great retail experience. With a great retail experience, they will start telling other people of their experience and that is called “word-of-mouth marketing. As a manager the main objective of communicating with your customers is to get them to purchase your product and to make them loyal customers. That means your communication with your customers must be goal orientated, persuasive, must be managed in a formal manner and try to minimize any difficulties you may experience.
A worker in a leadership and managerial role that does not show any leadership qualities will face a lot of difficulties and challenges in the retail industry. Even when companies are looking for managers to hire, they will want to hire a managers with good leadership skills and managers that enjoy their work. According to (Carolyne 2009: ¶ 3), “retailers with energy and passion, who really want to make a difference. Individuals who have a clear ability to not only successfully run a commercial retail convenience store but who show strong leadership qualities and have the capacity to continually challenge and raise the bar”.
Leadership starts with you as a leader by taking initiative and having the skill of communicating effectively with your employees and implementing the effective communication strategies. Most importantly as a leader you must be authentic. According to Avolio (2014: 4), “Authentic leaders have a greater sense of self awareness, and their context in which they operate”. On the other hand AmberMarie (2018:21) says that,” Authentic leadership is a function of self-knowledge, sensitivity to the orientations of others.” I conclude by saying that an authentic leader is a leader that stays true to himself and overcomes any challenge or difficulty that occurs before him/her.
In the introduction of this essay, I speak about how the retail industry is very challenging to work in as a worker in a leadership role if you do not have the right traits for it. Traits such as, understanding the ins and outs of the retail industry, employing effective communication with your staff and customers and being an authentic leader. Having these traits as a worker in a leadership role, your retail will be highly successful.
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