9.1 Role of an operations manager

There’s a huge difference between operations for an online and offline store – the former is much less complex. Operations for online stores have fewer mechanics, but it still comes with its own complexities.


Retail operations (offline), on the other hand, involve all mechanisms that keep a store functioning well. From staff management to retail upkeep, the field covers a broad spectrum of activities that not only manage the storefront but also the handling of inventory in the storeroom too.


Here are the following chapters that we will explore into:

  • Online operations:
    • Setting operational KPIs
    • Customer service


  • Offline operations:
    • Sales and customer service
    • Staff management
    • Retail standards upkeep
    • Back-of-house management and stock processing
    • Cash handling
    • Stocktake


Before we dive right in, let’s first understand the key people in both online and offline retail operations:



Head of operations – Typically, the head of operations is in charge of meeting online operational KPIs. He or she works closely with marketers, ensuring that the right visual merchandising is in place.


Operations managers – Often referred to as store managers, operations managers are the eyes and ears of the brand. You would be on the shop floor day in and day out, handling day-to-day operations. This includes people management, reporting to the higher-ups and ensuring the team reaches the operational KPIs.


Sales associates (Staff) – From stock handling to assisting consumers, sales associates carry out the tasks set by operations managers and supervisors. While their tasks can be repetitive, they can play a larger role if equipped with selling tips and sales tools. Most turn to sales associates for help, as they are the consumers’ first touchpoint.