5 Tips for Managing a Multi Location Retail Business

Management of retail stores is not easy. And when there are multiple locations, it can become even more difficult. 

Businesses that want to expand and scale need solid procedures to ensure smooth operations. In this article, we’re going to explore some tips to help you manage multiple retail store locations. You’ll hear retailers and experts talk about:

What it takes to be a successful multi-location retailer

You will find the top 5 methods multi-location business owners use to grow their companies and to maximize efficiency.

1. Standardize your operation

Olivia Tan (Co-Founder, Singapore-based) suggests that one way to manage multiple retail stores is to follow the same operating procedures across them all. CocoFaxProvider of online fax solutions. 

“Make sure that all of your store operations are running smoothly, even though you’re unable to be directly present to monitor each store at the same time,” said Tan.

Your stores may have procedures that cover:

  • Customer complaint handling
  • Promotions and discounts
  • Employee rosters and work schedules
  • Product returns 
  • Communication with customers
  • Customer experience.

Believe us, the more locations you have, the more thankful you’ll be for having these standard operating processes in place. 

2. Great store staff

Another must-have is a reliable, professional staff.

You can trust people who you hire To represent you managing your retail stores. You must ensure that your staff is competent and capable of working professionally. Periodic training is important to improve your employees’ skills, especially for those who handle customers directly every day,” said Tan.

  • Employees who can be polite in all situations and are professional should get preference. You should look out for competence in your employees.
  • You cannot run multiple stores simultaneously if you don’t give your staff the proper training. You need your employees to be able to communicate with you and keep you happy. 
  • Pay attention to your employees’ welfare too. You should ensure your employees get good wages, incentive and other benefits.

The bottom line is that it’s impossible to run a successful multi-store retail business without having the right people working alongside you. 

3. Communicate effectively, communicate frequently

It is important to communicate well across multiple locations. 

Tricia Gustin, Senior Marketing Director at Parker Avery Group, said retailers would avoid common approaches like a series of emails or the ‘weekly package’ to your store manager, who is then expected to distribute information to the staff.  

“We’ve seen these methods in many retailers, and they end up as a firehose and more noise than is manageable. Ultimately, in these scenarios key messaging gets lost, which leads to downstream impacts to inventory, customer service, and staffing,” said Gustin.

Gustin recommends that retailers instead should Communicate across channels using a consistent approach.. “People absorb information differently, and especially with the fast pace of store operations, relying on a single channel or individual will not be as effective as it should be,” she said. 

“There are tools that can help Control communications and information distributionRetail ZipLine is one example of a software that organizes communications in tasks, planning, resource allocation, surveys, and discussion. Outside of using a specific tool, the key is to have a solid plan in place that is consistently used, employs multiple channels and encourages feedback,” she said.

4. The right technology and software are essential

Software and practical technology are still huge benefits for retailers today. Yes, there’s a mind-boggling number of solutions and offerings out there, but here are just a few that may be helpful to managing multiple retail stores.

Software to facilitate ecommerce

Many retailers struggled to find a way to create an eCommerce presence, when customers first couldn’t go to stores at the start of the pandemic. It’s never too late to set up a good online store to support a retail business with multiple locations. Although there are standalone platforms for eCommerce, POS systems offering eCommerce functionality will make your business run more efficient. It allows you to connect online and offline activity at all locations from one platform. 

Marketing software

It’s obvious that you must build strong relationships with all customers. So when they’re not in one of your outlets, they’re still hearing from you. You can use marketing automation software to do this. Marketing automation software can be used for more than just selling to customers. Keep in touch! Well, the next time they’re ready to buy, You want to make your store top-of-mind. You can also track which offers and content your customers are most interested in so that you can send the correct message to them at the right moment.

POS software

The more you grow, the more you’re going to need the right technology and software to stay on top of key retail metrics and activities across every single location. Modernizing your POS Setting up is the first and most important step. Small Biz Sense and other companies can assist you Choose the best point-of-sale configurationThere are many types of multi-location retail business models. Whether you’re working in retail franchise business, a chain department store, or a small-town retailer looking to experiment with pop-ups or outdoor markets. Your sales associates will be able to accept a variety of payment options across all locations, thanks to counter- and mobile POS terminals. 

Other things you should consider when looking into POS systems that can support different locations:

  • Migration to the cloud “Not only will you save money from the need to download apps to your computer hardware, it makes a lot of processes seamless,” said Ian Sells, Co-Founder and CEO of Rebate key. “If your retail stores are branches of the same brand, it’s best to have a cloud that contains necessary files, inventory, and processes. Everyone can have quick access to the most important data. This also allows easy information-sharing,” he said.
  • Automating your inventory. “Having various stores means that it can be challenging to keep track of inventory manually, said Stephen Mills, the co-owner and CMO of Nolah Mattress. “It is possible, but it is too labor-intensive. The traditional way is to hire a dedicated staff to keep track of everything, but doing so is not cost-efficient and is prone to human error.” Investing in an inventory management system, like a POS system, solves all of these issues. This software is great for businesses. Stock levels should be sufficientAll stores. When certain items fall below the threshold, it informs the staff that they need to replenish them, ensuring that they’re always in stock.

5. Take security seriously in your store

For retail shop owners, security has been a priority. 

Retailers have been forced to improve security management as more thieves sought to strike in quieter places and towns. According to a recent survey, a third want their security systems to be better. Security management

Smart technology and security integrations can help retailers manage multiple locations while improving their stores’ performance. These are some suggestions for stores:

  • Secure security cameras with smart featuresFor surveillance, video cameras should be a necessity. They can be used to live-look-in, control access, or make out-of-hours deliveries. 
  • Control of access to storesYou can use cameras with access control and other smart technologies. To identify employees or delivery people, store owners may use their cameras to remote unlock the doors. Swiping and keycards are also a way to increase security in your retail stores. 
  • Remote delivery tracking: Track deliveries with smart cameras and you will be able to ensure that they arrive on time and in good condition.
  • Energy and lighting smart:Smart lighting and thermostats allow owners to manage their energy consumption at different locations. Your store manager can program your thermostat and lighting to correspond with the hours of the shop, and decrease the energy usage when it is empty.

“Video surveillance now includes advanced business analytics that can help small businesses track things like queue monitoring to ensure customers are not kept waiting for service, people-counting to determine the number of customers who purchase, foot traffic to help staff appropriately for key sales peaks, and even heat maps for opportunities to improve merchandising,” said Ohad Zeira, Vice President of Small Business for security provider ADT


Staying at the top of many retail locations

It is something that you should be proud to add to your retail shop. You are growing your business, increasing foot traffic and creating more revenue opportunities. 

You are looking to streamline in-store purchase across your various locations with software? Reach out to our Retail ExpertsLearn how Small Biz Sense may help your multi-location retail store to realize its potential


Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.