Managing Multiple Retail Stores: 5 Tips to Solve Your Communication Problems
When your retail business is booming and customer demand is at an all-time high, expanding your retail business to new locations can be a lucrative move. But managing multiple retail stores isn’t as easy as one might think.
Communication gaps, data security risks and inconsistent procedures can cause more harm than good. When brand communication and procedures are inconsistent both internally and with customers, companies open themselves up to bad reviews, which impact nearly 70 percent of purchasing decisions.
Plus, just 26 percent of retail stores use encryption, even though they’re more inclined to share sensitive data on the cloud. Data breaches cost businesses millions of dollars, and almost 60 percent of those businesses wind up closing as a result.
All of this can be overwhelming, especially as you manage your first set of additional stores. But it doesn’t have to be. In this blog, we’ll offer you tips for solving common issues faced by retailers with multiple stores so you can continue expanding without unnecessary stress.
5 Tips for Managing Multiple Retail Stores
So how can you successfully manage multiple locations and continue to grow your business? Here are five tips to a smooth transition when expanding retail stores:
1. Create Standard Operating Procedures
You can’t be everywhere at the same time, no matter how much you wish it were possible. But you do need to make sure each of your retail locations is operating effortlessly. To do that, it’s important to create standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The rules you create must apply to every person in every store, including your hours of operations, working hours, refund policies, how employees communicate with customers, when to offer a discount, etc. To get great reviews online, your customers have to see a consistent experience from store to store.
2. Hire Reliable, Professional Managers at Each Location
When you’re hiring, focus on competency, not credentials. In other words, you want employees who are reliable and capable of representing you and your business — and a certain degree or amount of experience may not be able to predict their ability to do so.
Instead, conduct consistent training sessions to improve your team’s abilities, especially as they deal with customers. And everyone on staff should know the company’s mission and vision in order to work toward fulfilling both.
3. Make It Easy for Everyone to Communicate
As you manage multiple retail stores, your goal should be to create consistent communication between yourself and between stores. Your retail teams should be easy to get in contact with one another despite being in different locations. You never know when they’ll need to share inventory or get a quick answer to a question that wasn’t established in the SOPs.
Use a cloud-based portal to share important business information and give your employees a place to connect. And, when possible, make in-person stops at each of your stores to get to know your company’s employees and learn more about how the stores are doing individually.
4. Collaborate and Share Best Practices
When you have different locations, it’s natural for store managers to work on best practices for making their individual retail spaces operate efficiently. That’s great, but it also starts to break up your company’s ability to be consistent. Instead, encourage all your team members to share the best practices they’ve created. As a result, managing multiple retail stores won’t be a jumble of different operations styles, and your company will be more innovative.
Plus, your team members won’t run into the exact same situations or types of customers, so those best practices help set everyone up for success when a difficult problem arises. You can help facilitate such conversations through the shared online portal or even by having quarterly strategy sessions.
5. Streamline Document and Data Sharing
To keep your data safe, you need to store all of your documentation and data within one system. When you use an encrypted, cloud-based system for document sharing, your team will be able to access information without interfering with anyone else’s work, and they’ll be able to keep sensitive data away from prying eyes.
Beyond keeping data safe, though, storing customer data in multiple systems across retail locations is unproductive. Every store will have to take down the same information, frustrating the customer, and it opens your business up to risk if someone can gain access to just one file. But with an integrated system, you can save all of your data from all of your retail stores, helping your company stay efficient and accurate and keeping your customers happy.
Solve Your Communication Challenges With Retail Connect
As you learn how to manage multiple retail stores, it’s easy to think the challenges outweigh the solutions. Luckily, however, a SharePoint solution could resolve all of these issues without you having to purchase multiple tools and software.
Retail Connect, KMicro’s SharePoint Online customization service, helps you build a custom portal to help you manage multiple retail stores. It acts as a one-stop-shop for your corporate employees, retail managers and salespeople to communicate and share information, create and collaborate on documents, learn about new products and best practices and even secure personally identifiable information (PII).
Managing multiple retail stores is hard enough without the right solutions to back you up. But KMicro is ready to help. Drop us a line to learn more about how Retail Connect can help your business grow.