Opening a second business location means more than just choosing a retail space and getting another set of keys. You also need to think about expanding your team, ordering more inventory, and marketing to new customers to ensure that all of your retail stores are kept busy.
This may feel overwhelming, but with the right preparation you can find as much success at your second location as you did at your first. Here are six things you should think about when you are managing multiple business locations.
Customers often turn to the internet when searching for information about a business they’re interested in, such as a store location. This is why it is important to have all of your locations (and other details like trading hours or phone numbers) listed online, both on your website and other platforms like Google, Facebook or Yelp.
Try to list your locations on as many of these platforms as possible so you meet your customers where they are searching for your business. When you create a Google Business Listing, for example, customers can search a map with all of your locations listed. It allows them to easily pinpoint the store most convenient to their location.
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If you have a business with multiple locations, you should invest in integrated technology that can manage all locations from one account. Effective location management software can help you:
- Track sales of your business overall and then filter them \by location (and even by employee at each of your stores if you want to get granular).
- Update and track inventory for each business location. (You can even adjust prices in the event of a sale that is exclusive to one store.)
- Open new locations from anywhere at any time, and then assign new employees and item libraries from one location to another to reduce admin time.
Communication and transparency are key for effective location management. A lack of communication with your business managers can impact consistency between locations (which could negatively affect your brand) and inefficiencies (which could affect your sales).
An effective tool will help you communicate clearly with your multiple locations, and also make sure they communicate with each other. A lack of communication between locations can create unhealthy competition, which can be detrimental to your growing business.
To minimise this risk, it’s important to hold recurring meetings with your staff to discuss changes in the business, introduce new products, and get a sense of the current morale amongst your team members. Encourage your sore managers to think at a macro level and work together to better the business, not just their own stores.
Businesses running multiple locations tend to handle a higher volume of purchases, so your payments and point of sale system will be storing even more sensitive customer data and credit card information. Your POS software should enable you to accept card payments quickly and securely, while also boosting your capabilities with other security tools such as two-factor authentication.
Opening a new location and growing your team is exciting. But managing employees at multiple retail locations can also present challenges.
The most important challenge to accept is that as the business owner, you can’t be in multiple places at once. When management is less visible, supervision can be difficult. This can be solved by delegating supervision to onsite managers and making sure you are communicating clearly with them (see above). Additionally, employee management software can be utilised across stores to support this.
Look for an employee management system that integrates with your POS and allows your staff to set up personalised employee accounts with passcodes. This makes clocking in and out a breeze for them (improving payroll management), while also allowing you to track employee transactions and sales history.
Inventory is one of the most critical costs of a retail business, and can be a make or break. Businesses with multiple locations need to be particularly mindful because with every story you add, your inventory costs will also increase.
There are various ways to effectively manage retail inventory, so it’s important to invest in a system that can help you track stock across every location.