A gift shop manager is a person who oversees the daily activities within a store that sells gift items, novelties, home accessories, and perhaps even flowers and gift foods such as chocolate or baked goods. A manager may be responsible for hiring and overseeing staff, ordering goods, merchandising the store, and helping to improve sales with promotions and discounts. In order to become a gift shop manager, it is helpful to have a background as a retail sales associate. College courses in business and merchandising are also helpful.
The product line in a gift shop can vary widely, and it is important for the gift shop manager to be familiar with all of the merchandise in the store. If the gift shop, for example, specializes in organic and recycled products, it is important for the manager to be knowledgeable about where the products in the store came from, how they were made, and what materials were used to make them. If the gift shop specializes in memorabilia for a particular city, it is important for the manager to know a good deal about the city's historic landmarks and sports teams, which would likely be reflected in the merchandise.
The scope of a gift shop manager's responsibilities depend on whether or not the store is privately owned, a franchise, or part of a chain. If the store is privately owned, then the manager will likely report directly to the owner or owners and work with them to develop strategies for the store's success. If the store is part of a franchise or a chain, then the manager will likely have to report to a corporate-level executive who either oversees all of the stores that the company owns, or just one region of stores. While every manager position is slightly different based on a company's needs, the type of ownership of a store will be one of the largest factors that defines a manager's responsibilities and role.
Depending on the business model and the compensation packages offered to employees, a gift shop manager may be entitled to monthly, quarterly, or annual bonuses based on the sales performance of the store that they oversee. These sorts of bonuses can be a great incentive for a gift shop manager to improve a store's sales records or maintain an already high volume of sales. Conversely, a manager may also be asked to explain poor sales records if the store goes through a period of below-average sales or profits.