Three ways to effectively communicate for retail managers

April Sabral

/ Leadership

Kit Campoy is an experienced retail leader, now turned freelance writer.  Kit loves writing and advising retail leaders after leading teams for over two decades. We are happy to feature Kit and share her words of wisdom; enjoy the read.

“How come everyone on your team gets along?”  “How do you do that?”

I would get asked these questions often. After running retail buildings for twenty years, some things become second nature, and you must learn how to break them down for newer leaders. 

“I don’t know. I’m cool to people.” That was usually my answer. It was not a good one, but it was all I could come up with on the go. 

Today, I have more time to think and explain. A considerable part of my team’s success came from communication. All advice surrounding leadership training will discuss communication at some point. It’s a no-brainer. Communication has to be constant, fluid, and direct. Every leader must know their part in it.  Right. Sure.

But how do we do that? What does it look like? Do I talk all day?

Communication is elusive. Most people think they’re great at communicating, but the truth is, most are not great at it. Perhaps the message they sent was received another way; checking for understanding is always important. 



Here are three straightforward ways to ensure communication is on point in your building. 

1. It Happens Daily

I hate to say it, but if communication isn’t happening all day, every day, then there’s not much point. When communication is sporadic, it leaves people confused and frustrated. There needs to be one place to leave communication for all leaders. People coming back from a day off should be able to come in, go to one place, and read about everything that happened the day before. Everyone needs to stay caught up every day. 

Get to the point. What happened? Who/What/Where? Is it complete or not? Stick to the facts. That is all. Leave extra details for when you follow up in person. You may have feelings about a customer service issue, or you feel mad that an associate was late. For now, stick to the facts and discuss your feelings in person later. 

2. Communication Must be Both Written and Verbal

If you’ve got your written communication down, great! Everyone contributes and keeps each other looped in. Awesome! How often are you talking about the store with your other leaders? Having a real, in-person conversation. Not a text message. If you can grab five minutes with your leaders daily on an individual basis, that is ideal. You don’t need to go to the office. The sales floor will do. Talk through any written communication left and discuss employee concerns face to face. If you have communication from your corporate office or conference call notes, walk them through it as often as possible. 

Yes, anyone can read through notes from a district call, but it’s more impactful when you can relay the message, “The boss stressed this right here!” That will leave a lasting impression vs. a hi-lited sentence on a piece of paper that may, in fact, get lost at the cash wrap. Humans are social creatures. Connect through conversations. Leave a lasting impact. 

3. Communication is Widely Shared

The first step is getting your leaders up to speed, and the second is getting the sales team involved. When you have a large group, you will see only some of them each week. So, lean on your support managers to share information. Add essential topics to your one-minute meetings. Follow up when you do see new faces.

“Did Jennifer fill you in? Great! What questions do you have?”

Regular chats like this will go a long way in building a cohesive team. It shows your sales team that their leaders are on the same page. It drives commitment and retention. Associates want to learn and grow as they are included in discussions. 

Check out the retailu Principles of Communication COURSE here, and learn what kind of communicator you are.

Additional TIP: 

The leadership team will get on board and share when communication is open, direct, and scheduled. Everyone plays a part in contributing to the team’s success. People must feel like they belong, and communication is the key to getting them there. There’s nothing better than overhearing a sales associate sharing advice to a customer they got from you. “We got word that more of this sweater is on the way.” It boosts their confidence and shows the customer that the team is educated and committed to success.  As the leader, ensure communication is happening daily in both written and verbal forms and that it’s widely shared with the sales associates. You’ll see improvement all around. It happens quickly. Pretty soon, you’ll see your team become more efficient and the business become more streamlined. 


Written by Kit Campoy, a Freelance writer, and experienced retail leader can be contacted here.

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