Nothing is more joyful for a retail business than expansion. Starting a new store brings plenty of possibilities for growth. However, running a multi-store business isn’t an easy job, it’s grueling. You need an altogether different strategy and set of tools to run multiple stores.
Before you dip your toe into the waters, you must be aware of the problems and issues that you might have to face. That’s because the retail market is on the rise and competition is fierce. According to Statista, the global retail market generated 26 trillion U.S. dollars in sales in 2021 alone.
Global e-commerce retail sales have also reached 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars. And that’s not it, the online retail market is expected to grow by 50 percent.
This tells us that the retail business has enormous potential. But, it also means that retailers need the right tools and strategies to run multi-location businesses smoothly and get an edge over their competitors.
We have discussed all aspects you need to consider before expanding your business to multiple locations. Follow these tips on retail management to ensure the success of your multi-store business.
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1. Design Centralized Standard Operating Procedures
The first thing you must do is to ensure that all your stores follow the same guidelines. This will help you streamline routine retail operations and day-to-day activities. Plus, your customers will get a similar and seamless experience in every store (online and offline).
Standard operating procedures vary from business to business, but make sure your SOPs cover the following:
It is wise to clearly mention in writing how monetary transactions should be handled. If you are using omni-channel payments, clearly indicate the types. Also, cover the refund and return policy to educate customers and avoid inconveniences.
In today’s retail industry, customer always comes first. And to earn their trust and loyalty as a retailer, you must provide the best customer experience. You need to shape policies around customer services outlining how staff should assist the customer.
Layout and Merchandising
How you display your products is one of the crucial aspects of retail business. This is one of the key retail merchandising tips that can boost your sales. So, if you are running an e-commerce store, make certain essential or high-selling products listed on the homepage. Moreover, your eCommerce website and the app should have the same design.
Safety and Security
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2. Automate the Process of Inventory Tracking
In the retail Industry, nothing is more crucial than inventory management. This is a process that provides visibility into the supply chain and allows you to balance customer demand with store limitations. It is easy to manage the inventory of a single shop, but hard for a multi-location business.
Businesses with multiple locations face challenges when it comes to inventory tracking. The manual process requires more time and may not provide accurate counts of stock due to human errors such as data entry mistakes.
To get real-time inventory visibility, you must automate your inventory tracking process. Especially, if you are selling products across multiple sales channels. An automated system keeps updating the inventory and is always in contact with the POS software. As a result, you will have a highly accurate count of inventory at all times.
“An inventory management software assists in managing a multi-location business in real-time. It ensures accurate recordkeeping and helps you prevent stockouts.”
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3. Implement an Automated Order Management System
An automated inventory management tool allows businesses with multiple locations to perform tedious tasks using the software. They can perform data entry tasks using the software and can get accurate and efficient insights. That’s why modern retailers are now using the order management system to track and organize their stock, supplies, and sales.
How Does an Inventory Management Work?
An inventory management system works in conjunction with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and point of sale (POS) software. It brings your in-store as well as online retail channels including third-party platforms like eBay and Amazon into one portal. This simply means that you can manage the whole inventory on a single portal.
An automated order management system can help you with:
Automated stock transfer
Inventory alerts and notifications
Automated order management
Streamlined store reporting
The best part is that you can view how each product is performing. You can monitor the overselling and underselling of items and can make decisions in real time. An automated inventory management system also lets you know when a certain product is reaching the predetermined reorder point. Thus, you can restock the products that are running low.
Book A Free Demo and see how an automated inventory management system can optimize your retail business.
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4. Selling Across Platforms (Online & Offline)
The retail industry is undergoing unprecedented changes. The most notable shift took place during the pandemic when eCommerce helped uplift retail in 2020. And the trend is expected to continue because consumers have adopted online shopping.
So, if you want to ensure the success of your multi-store retail business, you have to meet your customers wherever they are. This includes channels like Amazon and eBay as well as social commerce platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. In order to achieve your revenue goals and compete in the market, sell across multiple channels (including both online and offline).
“Omnichannel commerce focuses on providing seamless customer experience to customers whether they are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, or online from a website or mobile app.”
Omnichannel commerce allows you to capitalize on multiple channels. And selling across platforms (online and offline) becomes more convenient if you have an inventory management system.
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5. Deliver a Unified Experience to Your Customers
The customer experience (CX) is the next big thing in the retail industry. Yet companies often tend to ignore this vital aspect just because the value of customer experience is hard to measure in terms of ROI. The recent market data shows that 84% of companies saw a significant revenue increase after improving their customer experience.
So if you want to ensure the success of your multi-location business, work on customer experience. The trick here is to deliver a unified experience to your customers. Your retail store must offer a seamless experience across all platforms at every touchpoint. For that, you need to maintain consistency in your retail business as well as on your website, mobile app, and social media platforms. And this can easily be achieved by following an omnichannel approach.
A quick commerce solution can help you establish your online store within days. Not to mention the valuable BI insights that can boost the overall sales of your retail business. You will get more Inventory Visibility and see an increase in instant cash flows.
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6. Doubling Down On Loyalty
Repeat customers are the key to any retail business. These are people that keep coming back to buy products from a store. Such consumers not only tend to spend more but also spread the word to bring more customers to a store.
Marketing research has shown that repeat customers spend 31% more and are 50% more likely to try new products. Considering the new customer acquisition costs, having loyal customers seems like a good idea. For this reason, major retail stores tend to invest in an omnichannel loyalty management system.
“A loyalty management system helps businesses offer rewards to repeat customers. It helps retailers identify quality leads that they should retarget during a marketing campaign.”
Customers are always considering where they should shop and a loyalty program can help engage such consumers. A loyalty management tool not only helps retailers find new prospects but also retains them.
Mid-market retailers are using several types of loyalty programs, but the following are the most popular.
Start Your Own Loyalty Program
Offer rewards and discounts to your loyal customers
Offering fast payment options to customers at checkout can be a big win for mid-market retailers.
Today’s consumers are more inclined toward digital payment methods like internet banking, mobile wallets, and point of sale (POS). They prefer contactless payment to purchase products using banking cards (debit and credit). These are faster payment methods that not only improve the customer journey but also streamline transactions.
By providing consumers with desired payment options, you can ensure the success of your multi-store retail business. As a retailer, you can integrate an omni-channel payment method into your multiple stores, online website, and other commerce channels.
Such an intuitive, all-in-one payment method will prove a frictionless shopping experience for your customers. On the other hand, you can streamline receipts and manage sales across multiple channels on one portal.
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8. Performance Tracking of All Stores
Retailers usually emphasize strengthening customer interactions on one or two platforms. They focus on retail loss prevention tips and often overlook other channels which can improve their sales. As a result, they miss the opportunity to broaden their revenue streams.
You cannot know how your multi-location retail store is performing without measuring the key indicators. For that, you’ll need relevant data and that too on one platform. This is where you’ll find business intelligence (BI) to be useful.
An omni-channel BI tool can show you a clear picture of your retail business. You can get reports on inventory, sales, invoicing, and all other key metrics. It provides you with information about the stock, inventory turnover ratio, sell-through rate, and average order value. What’s more interesting is that you can view the individual stats of each store.
You can utilize these performance tracking reports to:
Identify potential risks
Make business decisions
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9. Use the Modern Retail Management System
Today, retailers need tools that can store, manage, and analyze all their sales data in one system. They need a system that can integrate with ERP and POS, and has the ability to manage the whole supply chain.
The market is filled with standalone products that provide solutions but not for all problems. They are either only good at managing stock or just keeping track of sales. What retailers need is a modern all-in-one retail management system with multiple features.
To ensure the success of your multi-store retail business, you should invest in an omnichannel platform. A platform that contains an inventory and order management system that can manage orders and stock, keep track of sales and provide reporting, a next generation cloud based point of sales system to manage products, inventory and suppliers, a loyalty management system to reward your loyal customers and a payments solution integrated offline and online. This will allow you to run your store across multiple channels while you’ll be able to manage data on one platform.
That's where a comprehensive retail operating system would come in handy that offers omnichannel commerce, marketing, BI, and payments solutions.
XStak's omnichannel operating system provides businesses with solutions for modern-day retail challenges. It helps you manage your commerce, marketing and payments operations while providing analytics and reports for all these business operations in real-time.
Book A Demo to explore distinctive features of our all-in-one, omni-channel operating system for next-gen retailers.