Opening a second business location involves a lot more than just selecting a retail space and getting a new set of keys. You also need to expand your team, increase inventory, and attract new customers so all your retail stores stay afloat.
This may feel overwhelming, but with the right preparation and managerial skills you can find as much success at your second location as you did at your first. To help with that, we’ve put together six things you should think about when you manage multiple locations.
1. Online presence
Consumers usually turn to the internet to search for business information, like the location of a store. So it’s extremely important to have all your locations (and other info like your hours and phone number) listed online, both on your website and other platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
And you really should 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, whether it’s on your site or Yelp. When you create a Google Business Listing, for example, customers will find a map with all your locations when they google your business. It allows them to easily pinpoint the store closest to them.
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2. Integrated technology
If you have a business with multiple locations, you should invest in integrated technology that can manage all locations from one account. With effective location management software, you can:
- See the sales of your business overall and then break them down by location (and even by employee at each of your stores if you want to get granular).
- Update and track merchandise for each business location. (You can even adjust prices in the event of an exclusive sale at one of your stores.)
- Access employee timecards from anywhere to track hours worked and overtime.
3. Managerial communication
Communication and transparency are key when you manage multiple locations. A lack of communication from the managerial level can create skewed messaging across locations (which could negatively affect your brand) and inefficiencies (which could affect your bottom line). So you want to make sure your locations follow the same business practices and have the same understanding of your products.
You want to communicate clearly with your stores and also make sure they communicate with each other. A lack of communication amongst locations can create unhealthy competition that is detrimental to your business.
To prevent this, it’s important to hold recurring meetings with your staff to discuss changes in the business, introduce new products, and check in on employee morale. Store managers need to think at a macro level and work together to better the business, not just their store.
4. Data security
Businesses with multiple locations tend to handle a higher volume of purchases, so your payments system will be storing even more sensitive customer data and credit card information. Your retail POS system should be PCI compliant to safeguard your customer information. Compliance with this payments security standard helps ensure your business is processing payments safely and securely.
5. Employee management
Opening a new location and growing your team is exciting. But managing employees at multiple retail locations also presents its own challenges.
The biggest challenge is that you can’t be in multiple places at once. And when management is less visible, supervision can be difficult. Some of this is solved by delegating supervision to onsite managers and making sure you are communicating clearly with them (see above). But using employee management software across your stores can also help this issue.
An employee management system tracks when your staff works and what they do when they are working. Look for a system that integrates with your POS and allows your staff to set up personalized employee accounts with passcodes. This makes clocking in and out a breeze for them. And it allows you to easily pull up the transaction history of any employee and track individual employee sales.
Payroll processing can be another added challenge when expanding your team across multiple business locations. Robust payroll software allows you to quickly set up your entire team and set up customized pay periods so you can pay employees as many times per month as you need. You can also sync your payroll processing with your point of sale, so you are able to import employee hours quickly and efficiently.
6. Inventory control
Because inventory is a major cost in retail, inventory control can make or break a business. Businesses with multiple locations need to be particularly mindful because additional stores require more inventory, which means more cost.
There are various ways to effectively manage retail inventory, but it’s definitely important to invest in an inventory management system that can help you track stock across all your locations. Look for something that allows employees to easily check stock levels at all stores so they can direct customers looking for a particular product to the right location.