The challenges that come with running an independent store on the High Street are numerous and, in some cases, relentless. It’s no wonder that, even some of the most successful smaller retailers find it difficult to even contemplate taking things further by opening a second or third store.
There’s no hiding from the fact that running a multi-store operation is never going to be a ‘piece of cake’ but, with the right strategies, processes, people and tools to hand, it’s a viable option for every ambitious retailer. So, just how do you become the boss of a multi-store success story?
Ask the text books for advice and these are probably the top 3 tips you’ll see:
- Capable hands – You can’t be in two or three places at the same time so, when it comes to running multiple stores, you really have no other option but to pass on the controls and put your trust in others. If you can, promoting staff from within your existing business is a great way to begin staffing your new outlet (as they already know you and your brand). If that’s not possible, then it’s all about ensuring your recruitment process identifies the kind of people that can be aligned to your business goals as well as making a significant investment in staff training.
- Standardise procedures – Ensuring all your stores follow the same set of rules and protocols will not only make running a multi-store operation easier but also help to create a level of consistency within your brand that your customers will appreciate. So, if you’re not already familiar with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) then now is the time to get up to speed. While these vary across different business models, most retailers will have SOPs that cover key areas such as safety/ security, merchandising, customer service and transactions.
- Checking in – While you can’t physically be at each of your stores every day, you do need to maintain a schedule of regular visits and communication. There’s two reasons why this is important. Firstly, it helps staff at each store to feel valued for the work they’re doing and keeps them well-informed of what’s going on within the whole business. And secondly it enables you to properly monitor the performance of each store and key staff members.
While we wouldn’t underestimate the importance of these three points, there is one more piece of advice which we at The Good Till believe is well worth taking:
ENTER THE CLOUD!
As a strategy for successfully growing your business across multiple sites, there is nothing that beats an investment in cloud-based technology. Whether you use it for Customer Relationship Management, accounting or point of sale, running things in the cloud has multiple benefits:
ACCESS – With cloud-based solutions, such as that provided with The Good Till POS system, your business data is not tied to any particular machine or hard drive but stored in a virtual space which can be accessed from anywhere that has an Internet connection. This makes checking up on multiple stores a lot easier!
ACCURACY – With cloud software, information such as sales figures or stock levels is updated in real-time. This level of accuracy gives you a much better picture of how your business is doing and what changes might be needed for the future.
SAFETY – Computers can be stolen, servers can ‘go down’ and hard drives can be corrupted – all of which presents a risk to your business data. From our experience, storing data in the cloud presents far fewer risks, making it a much safer option for your business.
INTEGRATIONS – Take advantage of cloud-based tools that integrate or ‘talk’ to each other and your business processes become instantly more streamlined. The Good Till, for instance, can sync essential information with accounting solutions like Xero or Exact. By eliminating the need to double up on data entry this can be a huge time-saver!
INVENTORY OPTIMISATION – Many POS systems, including the Good Till, can offer you a cloud-based inventory management solution which is updated in real-time. That allows you to keep track of stock levels, conduct look-ups and arrange transfers all from one portal, making it easier for you to ensure you always have what your customers are looking for in the right places at the right times.
Whether you’re just thinking of opening a second store or have already entered the realm of multi-store retailing, The Good Till company is dedicated to helping you tackle the challenges that come with growth.
Check out our recently launched ‘Enterprise Grade’ functionality to find out more about how this one system can give you greater control of your business – from the point of transaction to the numbers on your bottom line.
Contact us now to find out more.