RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Retail stores are now interactive destinations, where a retailer’s brand purpose comes to life for customers.
  • As stores becomes less transactional and more about customer experience, the role of the store manager changes.
  • Store managers must now be experience orchestrators, coaches and storytellers, and Human+ experts.
  • From local flavor, to a workforce of humans + machines, to inclusion and diversity, a store manager is the gateway to growth.


The changing role of the store manager

Despite the flurry of headlines about retail store closures, the retail store is still a shopper hub. Almost 90 percent of retail transactions still occur in a store, and Accenture research shows that many Millennial and Gen Z shoppers prefer the in-store experience to shopping online.

So, the role of the store manager is more important than ever. And as retail stores become interactive experience destinations rather than transaction hubs, the characteristics of a good store manager change. Three new roles become critical:

Experience orchestrator

The new breed of retail store manager ensures customers and employees receive personalized experiences for the best outcomes. They are the lynchpins.

Coach and storyteller

Consumers buy from brands with a purpose—one that matches their values. Infusing that purpose through stores and embodying it is essential to loyalty.

Human+ expert

Store managers need to be savvy in navigating the intelligent store (part machine, part human) for optimal results.

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Experience orchestrator

Retail store managers greatly influence the customer and employee in-store experience. Both are key to profitability and companies are taking note. Half (51 percent) of business leaders surveyed are planning to create individualized employee experiences comparable to consumer experiences in the next two years.

Coach and storyteller

Store managers are brand storytellers, and the coach who can ensure employees communicate that same story. Doing this helps to align teams with the business strategy of the store and the company overall—which can decrease employee turnover up to eight percent and increase employee productivity.



Human+ expert

The rise of the intelligent store vastly changes a manager’s approach to customers and to employees. Managing a hybrid workforce—part human, part machine—is very different than managing the traditional store associate workforce. But it’s necessary to deliver on the technology-enabled store experience customers are coming to expect.

36%

of all workers have a connection to the gig economy.

29%

of all shoppers are likely to switch to a retailer that reflects the importance they place on inclusion and diversity.

The store manager as the gateway to growth

Store managers are wearing more hats than ever. Hats that require not just a greater breadth of expertise, but greater depth also. A complex blend of strategic thinking, innovation, decision-making and personal interaction skills—supported by artificial intelligence and automation—is one recipe for success. As retailers move from shopkeepers to customerkeepers, store managers are the ever-important gateway to growth.

Amy A Johnson

Senior Principle – Retail


Ray Marciano

Managing Director – Kurt Salmon, Accenture Strategy

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