2018 State of the Store: Keeping District Managers Motivated and Satisfied in Their Roles

JAN. 31, 2018

The retail industry has become increasingly tech-savvy with more sophisticated logistics, omni-channel promotions, and eCommerce growth. However, the force that ensures everything is working according to plan isn’t always a machine—it’s also the diligent work of District Managers (DMs). This team works hard to connect corporate strategies to the individual stores. They are responsible for watching over performance and find answers to unique, localized problems—all while serving as a middleman.

Despite their major importance, our annual State of the Store report found an increasingly change in job satisfaction. After surveying more than 600 DMs in a variety of industries, we found the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) for DMs to be -17, down from +5 in 2015. When we asked about the change in job satisfaction, many cited the difficulty of managing their territories with shrinking resources. With DMs playing such a vital role in retail enterprises, we looked at what companies can do to help ease this pain point.

“After surveying more than 600 District Managers, we found the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) for DMs to be -17, down from +5 in 2015.”


In recent years, the retail industry has filled headlines with news about massive store closures and downsizing. In 2017 alone, the U.S. has seen more than 6,700 stores close their doors—more than any other year on record.[1] This trend of downsizing has led to DMs carrying more responsibilities with fewer resources, all while facing the brunt of a changing retail industry. When we asked about the closures and its effects on retail, 60% said they were at least somewhat concerned about the future of retail.

Despite a changing industry, DMs have far from given up. When they were asked about the importance of their position, 90% of agreed they can have a positive impact on their territory’s performance. A vast majority are confident they have what it takes to improve their stores if they’re given the tools to succeed.


One of the biggest hurdles DMs face is maintaining a connection to their Store Managers (SMs). Eighty-percent of DMs who are happy with their territory size say the number of tasks from corporate is achievable, but that number drops down to 66% when they are unhappy with their territory size.

Territory size has a major impact on a DMs workload. For every 10-20 stores they supervise, they oversee the tracking of thousands of performance metrics for each store. This could mean logging into multiple, disparate systems that host reports, cataloging emails, and still finding time to commute to each store—which sometimes means overnight travel.

“For every 10-20 stores a District Manager supervises, he or she also oversees the tracking of thousands of performance metrics for each individual store.”

With so many things to juggle, DMs don’t get the opportunity to invest in the needs of every SM in their territory. According to the study, 30% of unhappy SMs were more likely to feel like their opinions were not valued by their DM. When an SM feels undervalued, their DM should wonder if they are more likely to keep their ideas to themselves and hide issues instead of looking to corporate for a solution.

When we asked DMs what was the main thing holding them back, most cited a lack of effective tools. Our research backs this up, as 54%  do not use the necessary software for analyzing and reporting on performance. Instead, they are using processors like Microsoft Word and Excel, and at times even pen and paper. By offering better tools that are designed to analyze and prioritize performance metrics, they can turn larger data sets into workable goals with ease. This can make the difference between a rushed “catch up” store visit and a productive one rooted in strategies and solutions.


A store relationship management platform, like CoEFFICIENT®, can help DMs by providing context for corporate objectives, KPIs, and store performance. Using it, DMs can gain a clearer visibility into how their stores are performing in comparison to others within and outside their territory. For example, during a store visit DMs can provide the context needed for corporate initiatives and help prioritize next steps, making their visit more actionable and strategic. Lastly, with the right tools, DMs can have more data, direction, and communication with corporate, giving them the information they need to help stores succeed.

The most important asset a business has is its people—and there’s a great value in a team that loves their job. Having District Managers who feel empowered to help stores can be a game changer. With the right tools, District Managers are a retail brand’s best ally as they can help stores start implementing the strategies that will lead to success.

Interested in learning reading our 2018 State of the Store report? Download the report now to learn about what’s driving dissatisfaction for your Store Leadership teams and what you can to to improve it.

1. Keshia H. “A Record Amount of Brick and Mortar Stores Will Close in 2017”. Fortune. http://fortune.com/2017/10/26/a-record-amount-of-brick-and-mortar-stores-will-close-in-2017/


Mary loves creating engaging copy that expresses the best story possible. As a member of our marketing and communications team, Mary works hard to communicate the value our products and Square Root’s mission with a positive attitude and a quick wit. Inspired by solutions and products that make people’s lives easier, she is fulfilled by knowing her work makes the world a better place one way or another. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in communication both from the University of Arkansas.