Managing or Starting Your Multi-Store Operation
Not everyone has the same dream. Some entrepreneurs dream of having a mom-and-pop single store business, while others look to grow from one retail store to a multi-location retail empire. If having multiple store locations is part of your dream, there are four things you need to look for when selecting the right technology to build your business around. Every good builder starts with a plan. Of course, life never goes to plan, but there is great value in putting the planning together. You can only be in one place at a time. This means that as your business grows, a larger and larger percentage of your business will necessarily operate without your direct supervision.
One way to plan for your success is to standardize your operation processes before growing too large. These are easier to standardize with a small retail location than with four or five locations. Make sure your retail POS solution is running smoothly before you count on it to be a multi-store retail management software. Inventory management, for example, should be standardized and completed the same way by each employee before you open up a second, third, or fourth location.
Management Made Easy
Automation is vitally important. Automating simple and repetitive tasks makes it easier to implement those standardized procedures you worked so hard to develop and implement. When you grow your retail empire to 15 locations, you don’t want to be stressing about inventory management details in each location. You will need a multi-store retail POS solution that can automate tasks like sending alerts before you stock out of products.
Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be. Implement technology that can do your job smarter and eliminate human errors that are easily made. Reports created by hand are time-consuming and often inaccurate. Automated systems generate reports quickly and they contain fewer errors. No matter how many locations you grow to, your multi-store retail management software should allow you to pull any number of reports on a daily, weekly, or even quarterly basis.
With multiple locations, tracking inventory and performing item maintenance becomes more important. You will want to maximize sell-through of all items at all locations without having to travel to each store to get the information you need to make informed decisions.
Make it Easy for Customers Too
As you grow, customers will get to know your brand. They will expect one location to offer all the services every other location does. For example, if they buy an item at Store #3, they may want to return it at Store #4 because it is closer to the other places they are running errands that day. Make it easy for your customers to return and exchange items with a retail POS solution that connects all of your locations together.
Gift cards and item discounting are other functions that require a robust multi-store retail management software solution. Managing these programs from one POS system across multiple store locations makes it easier for you as management to know where the sales are coming in and where your products are going out.
Finally, you want your employees to spend their time and talents improving your business. They should not have to spend excessive amounts of time fixing the POS system. When technical issues inevitably arise, you will want a POS provider who offers excellent support.
Over-the-phone support is vital and can be just the thing in certain situations, but some things are better handled in person, and having in-person technical support can be a huge time saver.
Most POS providers are great until you get set up and running. But you want to work with a provider who will work with you long after set up and who can provide solutions that can grow at the same pace as your business.
There is a limit to the number of hours you can work. If your dream is to build a multi-location retail business, you will need to work smarter, not just harder. A good multi-store retail POS solution is a vital system you will want to get in place early on to avoid the hassles of dealing with a system that can’t handle your growth down the road.
Get the procedures and the technology right now and the growing pains will be lessened later. Choose the right solution that can grow with your business.