Running a retail business with more than one store isn’t easy, but with the right tools, processes, and people, you’ll find that the tasks involved in managing many stores aren’t too hard.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll go over some of the steps you can take to ensure that all of your stores run well under your supervision. Here are seven tips to help you become a multi-outlet retail boss:
1. Conduct business in the cloud.
The best thing you can do for your multi-store firm in terms of technology is to run it in the cloud. Because cloud-based solutions do not “live” on a single machine, you can access the tools and data you require from any location with an Internet connection. So, whether you’re in one of your stores, at home, or even on the go, checking in on your other branches or your operation as a whole is as easy as logging into the system.
For example, Esopos is a cloud software that can reflect and update data in real time, ensuring that information such as stock levels and sales are constantly up to date. This is really effective, especially for larger retailers. Having up-to-date information on how your company is performing will allow you to get a more accurate picture of store performance and help you better understand your company.
Your data is also more secure on the cloud. Because information isn’t attached to a local device, you reduce the chance of losing data if something happens to your devices (i.e., they get stolen or suddenly stop working).
2. Improve inventory management across the entire organization.
Inventory optimization is critical not just for running multiple stores, but also for providing excellent customer service. To manage appropriate inventory levels across all of your locations, you must know how much stock each store has at any one time.
And, if a consumer can’t locate a specific product, size, or color in one location, you’ll want to be able to check if other branches have it, so you can either lead the shopper to another location or have the items delivered to your store or their house.
This is why it’s critical to have an inventory system like Esopos that allows you to easily conduct inventory lookups or transfers across several locations. This will not only allow you to properly supply your stores, but it will also allow you to better serve your consumers. It would also be beneficial to be able to track inventory in transportation, since this would keep you informed of where your products are at all times, allowing you to make the required preparations.
Again, having the Esopos cloud-based solution will assist you in completing the aforementioned activities. As previously said, Esopos allows you to access information from any location, so you can simply search for inventory information for multiple stores no matter where you are.
3. Establish standard operating procedures for all of your locations.
You may have many locations, but you should ensure that all of your stores follow the same procedures. This makes them easier to manage and provides your clients with a consistent experience with your brand.
Begin by developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how policies and activities should be implemented in your business. Depending on the business, the types of SOPs and how they are implemented will differ.
4. Make sure you hire the right people to take over in your absence.
You clearly can’t be in two places at the same time, so make certain that each store is in skilled hands.
The most effective approach to achieve this is to hire and train the right people. You’ll have to spend a lot of time vetting the personnel you hire, and you’ll have to invest a lot of money in educating them.
You might start training personnel for new sites at your existing ones.
If you can’t train individuals at your initial location or are having trouble getting existing staff to work in your other locations, you’ll need to put in place a thorough training program. Consider online training or delegating it to a seasoned employee.
5. Check in with all of your stores on a frequent basis.
When you run multiple stores, the adage “out of sight, out of mind” can quickly become true. That is why, as a multi-location retailer, regular contact is essential. If possible, do regular site visits to see how each store is performing. If this isn’t possible, at the very least, schedule regular calls with store managers to check how they’re doing. Make careful to plan ahead of time for each.
You must also closely monitor the success of each store. Run store-specific reports on a regular basis to ensure that you are constantly in control of each location:
Sales (per hour, day, month, as well as per square foot) (per hour, day, month, as well as per square foot)
The best and worst items
Regularly monitoring these indicators will provide you a clear picture of how each store is doing even if you can’t be there.
6. Create a successful multi-store experience.
Running several stores necessitates striking the correct mix between consistency and localization. Your stores must provide a consistent experience for your customers while retaining a local vibe.
It’s a difficult balance to strike, but it’s possible with strong and consistent brand principles and general policies. For example, your brand’s story and the values that your company represents should be similar throughout all of your locations.
General policies for handling returns and consumer issues should be consistent. The last thing you want is for customers to encounter varied policies and rules when shopping in different locations.
However, you can have more leeway in areas like inventories, promotions, and merchandising. The things you sell and how they are displayed in your stores should reflect the communities in which they are located.
A store popular with students, for example, will have different offerings than a retail branch in an office building.
Pay close attention to each location’s sales and product movements to keep up with your local offers. Every store, for example, may have its own best-sellers. You must be aware of these factors in order to make decisions about what to sell in each store and which locations should have a sale.
You can always use Esopos reporting for both sales and inventory to help you estimate sales and make ordering more consistent. The report feature on Esopos is a great way to find out more about the business’s sales or to get specific information.
7. Hire a third party (such as a mystery shopper) to review your stores.
While stats and analytics can help you get a good picture of each store’s performance, it doesn’t hurt to have a third party review each site. Sometimes you and your staff are too close to the business to be objective, so it’s best to get a second opinion.
Hire a secret shopper or consultant to visit each store and review it. How is the product assortment? Are the associates sufficiently helpful and knowledgeable? Is the retail or brand experience the same across all locations? These are just a few of the questions they should try to answer when they return to you.