National Study Reveals the Broken Relationship Between Retail Brands and Store Leadership

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Square Root’s 2018 State of the Store survey confirms the retail industry is being led by unhappy managers

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But with the right tools and actionable data, brands can empower their store leaders to execute the most impactful changes for their stores--improving customer experience and ensuring long-term success.

New data from Square Root, developers of store relationship management (SRM) software, reveals a lack of corporate alignment, miscommunication, and outdated tools and technologies severely impact the morale and performance of retail Store and District Managers (“Store Leadership”). Of those who participated, results showed an average Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) of -20%.

The 2018 State of the Store report polled more than 1,300 Store and District Managers in the United States and Canada across several retail categories: including apparel and footwear, electronics, luxury, sporting goods, home improvement, outlet, health and beauty, and more. With a +/- 4% margin of error, the report compared responses between those with high eNPS and those with low eNPS. The findings expose the key reasons behind retail managers’ overall job dissatisfaction, highlighting the impact on morale and store performance.

“Job dissatisfaction among retail field and store managers is alarmingly high,” said Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root. “These folks are the front lines for both the customer experience and store execution, and the brand suffers when they feel unsupported and ill-equipped on the job. But with the right tools and actionable data, brands can empower their store leaders to execute the most impactful changes for their stores--improving customer experience and ensuring long-term success.”

Misalignment and Poor Communications
According to the report, alignment emerges as a major challenge between corporate and store. Unhappy managers reported they are 150% less likely to feel aligned with their corporate team -- with 20% reporting they are more likely to get little feedback from their managers and 21% reporting they struggle to understand key priorities. Additionally, unhappy managers were twice as likely to report that their company meetings lack focus and progress.

A breakdown in communication among unhappy Store Leadership is adding to the frustration. According to the study, unhappy managers are twice as likely to report that their company does not have efficient systems for communication between corporate and store. They are also nearly twice as likely to agree that their store’s performance would improve with better organization-wide communication. Furthermore, a general lack of tools and technology is contributing to Store Leadership dissatisfaction and sense of misalignment. Of those who reported low job satisfaction, 20% are more likely to report that they do not have the tools necessary to be effective.

Low Morale and High Turn Over
According to the study, Store Leadership with low eNPS are three times more likely to report that their boss does not value their opinions, and are twice as likely to say their boss does not have their best interests in mind. As a result, those unhappy in their roles don’t plan to stick around long -- two out of three report they plan on leaving their company within two years.

Onward and Upward
From the corporate office all the way down to the store floor, Store Leadership perform best when they feel supported by their leaders. Key learnings from the survey highlighted three key factors when it came to positive promoter scores among Store Leadership: empowerment, focus, and communication.

When asked what they like most about their jobs, Store Leadership across the board reported empowering aspects like helping people, working with talented teams, and the freedom and flexibility that comes with management. This empowerment quickly translates into self-confidence among both sets of managers as an average of 90% of those surveyed believe they have a direct impact on their store or territory performance. Improving manager job satisfaction and happiness is a solvable problem. By aligning teams, improving communication, and implementing the right tools and technology -- the relationship between corporate and the store can be repaired.

For more details on Square Root’s 2018 State of the Store Survey, please visit:

About Square Root:
Square Root unlocks the power of data for the world’s leading automotive and retail brands. Powered by predictive analytics, AI and machine learning, its store relationship management platform, CoEFFICIENT®, delivers actionable insights that drive performance. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Square Root was named the second best small company to work for in the U.S. by Fortune Magazine. For more information, visit

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Kristina Kennedy
Kickstand Communications
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