Running a multi-store retail company isn’t a walk in the park, but with the perfect tools, process, and people, you might realize the tasks that include managing several stores are really very doable.
In the next paragraphs, we’ll discuss some of the actions you can take to make certain that all your shops run easily under your watch. Below are 8 tips to help you become a multi-outlet retail supervisor:
1. Do business in the cloud
Technology-wise, the best thing you can do to help your multi-store business is to run it in the cloud. Since cloud-based solutions do not”reside” in any 1 machine, they permit you to access the data and tools you need from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. So whether you are in one of your shops, at home, or on the go, checking in on your other branches or your performance as a whole is as simple as logging into the system.
Additionally, cloud applications can reflect and update data in real time, so information like stock levels and sales are always up-to-date. This is very strong, especially for larger retailers. Having up-to-the-minute details on how your company is doing will let you have a more precise view of store performance and allow you to better understand your business.
Your information is also safer in the cloud. Since information is not tied down to a local device, you minimize the chance of losing your information in case something happens to your devices (i.e. they get stolen or abruptly stop working).
Just make certain to choose your tools wisely. If you are using multiple cloud-based tools, it is ideal to select solutions that can integrate with one another. You will need your systems to be able to”speak” to each other and seamlessly transfer data from one app to another, so you won’t need to be worried about re-entering any info.
2. Optimize inventory across all of your locations
Inventory optimization is a must, not just in regards to running a number of stores, but also concerning customer service. You will need to know how much stock every shop has at any given time to be able to keep healthy stock levels across all of your locations.
And in the event that a customer can not find a specific solution, size, or color in 1 location, you will want the capability to assess if other branches have that, so you may either direct the shopper an alternate location, or have the items sent to your shop or their dwelling.
This is the reason why it’s important to have a list system which makes it effortless for you to conduct inventory look up or transports across different locations. Doing this won’t only help you stock up your shops properly, but it is going to let you serve your clients better. It would also be handy to be able to track inventory in transit, as this will inform you where products are at all times, so that you can make the necessary preparations.
Again, using a cloud-based solution can allow you to accomplish the above tasks. As we mentioned previously, such solutions let you view information from anywhere, which means that you can easily look up stock information for different shops wherever you’re.
3. Establish standard operating procedures for your entire shops
You might be operating in several places, but you’ll need to be certain all your stores have only 1 way of doing things. This makes them more manageable and allows your clients to have a consistent experience with your brand.
Start establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how policies and actions should be carried out on your shops. The Kinds of SOPs as well as how they are implemented will vary, depending upon the Company, but for retailers, SOPs should generally cover the following:
Monetary transactions — This ought to cover whatever worries monetary handling at your shop, including the kinds of payments you accept, your procedures for processing refunds and returns, how frequently you close the register, etc..
Customer support — You want to set up processes around customer service. Outline policies and instructions on how your employees should act, what they can and can not say, and what to do when clients get difficult.
Security and safety — Be sure you have the right processes that would keep your employees and clients safe and secure. These procedures should cover basic issues, such as who is responsible for opening and closing the shop, in addition to more complicated situations, including handling shoplifters or what to do in case of a natural disaster or another emergency.
Design and merchandising — Your design and merchandising SOP should detail how product should appear at your shop. It should answer questions such as: How should things be displayed on the ground and what fixtures can you use? Should pants be folded or hung? How often should you update your own design and displays?
As soon as you’ve come up with these processes, document them. Produce a shared document using Google Docs, or use a project management system which lets you monitor and execute your processes from 1 place.
4. Be Sure to hire the best people to take charge when you are not around
You obviously can not be in many places at ones, so you will need to be certain that you leave each shop in capable hands.
The best way to achieve this is to train and hire the appropriate folks. You will need to spend a good deal of time vetting the workers you bring on board, and you are going to have to devote substantial resources in training them.
One thing you can do, based on Jennifer Martin of Zest Business Consulting, is to begin training employees for new place at your present ones. She says that retailers must also”consider promoting from within if you already have some key players that embody your brand and can be trusted to carry out your objectives.”
If you can not train people at your initial place or are having difficulties getting present workers to man your other shops, you will have to set up a robust training program to get people up to speed. Consider online training or have one of your experienced employees take it out.
5. Check in frequently with all your shops
The cliché”out of sightout of mind” can quickly become true once you’re running several shops. That is why regular communication is critical once you’re a multi-outlet retailer. If it’s possible, conduct regular site visits so that you can see firsthand how each shop is doing. If that is not feasible, then jump on routine calls with shop managers so that you can see how they are doing. Make Sure You have an agenda for each
In addition, you need to carefully track each store’s performance. Run store-specific reports on a regular basis, and see to it that you always have a handle on every places:
Sales (per hour, day, month, along with per square foot)
Best (and worst) products
Regularly monitoring these metrics will permit you to have a thorough understanding of how each shop is doing even if you can not be there yourself.
A significant part of running a number of stores requires having the ideal balance between consistency and localization. Your stores will need to provide a consistent experience for your customers, while offering a local feel at precisely the exact same time.
It is a tricky balance, but you can acheive it with powerful and consisent brand values and overall policies. By way of instance, your brand’s story and the things your company stands for should be consistent across all of your shops.
General policies about handing returns and client concerns should also be the same. The last thing you need is for shoppers to undergo unique rules and policies when they store in a variety of locations.
But you can have more flexibility when it comes to things like stock, promotions, and merchandising. The goods you stock and the way they are displayed must relfect the regional communities to which your shops belong.
A shop that is frequented by students for example, will have different offerings than a shop branch that is found in an office building.
To remain on top of your regional offerings, pay close attention to the product and sales movements of every location. Every store might have its own best-sellers, for instance. You want to cognizant of those things, so it is possible to make decisions about what to stock in each store, and which places should a sale.
Consider the case of WORLD, a fashion retailer with 4 shops across New Zealand.
“One challenge we always take seriously is in ensuring each shop is a positive reflection of its neighborhood community. We’re not a cookie-cutter brand and our staff are proud and special personalities — this has to be reflected in every location and that shop must feel a part of its surroundings — we take our part in the neighbourhoods we are in seriously,” says Benny Castles, co-director and designer in WORLD.
To deal with this challenge, Benny says they rely upon their retail system’s reporting capabilities to work out how to market their places.
“We utilize the coverage within Vend continuously, both Inventory and Sales, to help forecast sales and make ordering more consistent. The report function is fantastic to craft certain insights or a wider view of their sales within the enterprise.”
He continues,”We hold inventory throughout our stores and workroom so being able to support each other with real time inventory wisdom and efficient inventory moves are key in making certain our service is supported and of high quality.”
7. Bring in a third party (ex: secret shopper) to appraise your shops
While taking a look at numbers and analytics can definitely help you get a good view of each store’s performance, it would not hurt to bring in a third party to assess each location. At times, you and your workers might be too near the company to be objective, so it is ideal to have someone on the outside weigh in.
Hire a secret shopper or adviser to get involved and evaluate each shop. What is the product selection? Are the partners helpful and educated enough? Is the shop or brand experience consistent across multiple locations? These are simply some of the questions which should aim to reply when they report back to you.
8. Streamline your communications
Running multiple retail locations means you will need to keep several teams on the same page. Communication is crucial, particularly when you are relaying information on store policies, promotions, and critical employee information.
With a trusted communications platform is vital to ensuring that your messages reach the correct folks. Getting your messages all over the area — i.e., emails, SMS, voice calls — can lead to missed memos or misunderstandings.
Prevent all that with a messaging system like Slack or all in a single retail solution like Compliant IA.
Got any other tips for handling a multi-store retail company? Share them in the comments.