Retailers who have multiple outlets and sales channels know that there significant economies of scale to be gained from expanding a successful business across multiple locations. As any franchisor and they’ll tell you, once you have discovered a recipe for success, you can replicate it almost anywhere. You can pool your resources, centralise purchasing and distribution and just about every other business function you can think of. However, one vital component which is often overlooked as a business begins to expand is the retail management system.
Imagine you’re a one-store retailer. A single store EPoS system is a perfect solution – if you have no plans to expand. However the moment you begin to grow your business and consider opening a second store or venturing into the world of eCommerce, you have three options:
- Accept that you will run your businesses separately and forego the efficiencies and savings
- Find a third party integration to connect your channels and stores – if one even exists for your chosen EPoS solution
- Invest in an entirely new EPoS solution
If that all sounds like a bit of a nightmare, it’s because it can be, which is why your first choice retail management solution should be geared towards a growing business – regardless of whether you currently plan on expanding in the future.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues you could face if you attempt to run a multi-site business with a restrictive EPoS solution.
The EPoS solution is unique among a retailer’s software requirements because it is the only one with the ability to unify all your software and systems, including payments, accounts, eCommerce, online marketplaces and, of course, your physical store. That is, if you select the right one. While you may be able to manage these individually without full integration when you have only one store, it’s still a huge amount of work. If you’re already spending hours managing disparate systems, you can expect to double that workload for every new store you open. If you can’t face that thought, or the idea of hiring more staff or outsourcing the burden of the additional admin, then investing in an EPoS solution which integrates with all your other software requirements is your only option. And the best part is that it will save you bags of time and money in the long run.
While you may be tempted, particularly when you’re just starting out in business, to try to save money buy opting for basic solutions, you’re really investing in false economy which will cost you more in the end. That’s why OpSuite from RMS is designed to futureproof your business with modular add-ons which you can choose as and when you need them so you always have the right solution for today and the freedom to add to it tomorrow.
Establishing metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your retail business is a pretty standard management activity and gives you a strong sense of your performance and areas for improvement. Providing your chosen EPoS solution offers easy access to performance data, this is a ‘click of a button’ kind of activity. But, if you are using a basic or out-of-date EPoS solution, this can be an extremely arduous task – and one which is unlikely to provide accurate information, leading to ill-informed decision making.
So, if monitoring your performance is already a chore, and you wish to expand and grow your business, it’s important you are able to access live data on which to base operational decisions. A true multi-store EPoS system, such as OpSuite, will offer a suite of reports which highlight how well your stores are performing, right down to employee-level activities. You’ll also be able to see what sells well and what doesn’t by location so you know where to focus your efforts and tweak your offering, pricing, stock levels and more to maximise your revenue.
One of the great benefits of multi-store retail is that your buying power is significantly strengthened, allowing you to access products which single-store operators can’t and gaining pricing concessions and volume discounts. All this said, you can’t achieve these benefits if you can’t manage your stock centrally.
With disconnected EPoS systems, stock comparison becomes a manual job based upon potentially out-of-date information. It’s therefor impossible to make informed decisions on the reallocation or transfer of stock when volumes are low in one location or too high in another.
When you choose a sophisticated retail management solution, stock management and transfer is just a click away. With OpSuite you can set stock alerts so you are notified when you’re running low and can act accordingly, sending stock to where it’s needed the most before it’s too late.
Purchasing goes hand in hand with stock management and one of the ultimate benefits of a unified solution is increased buying power and reduced administration. Without this, your workload is vastly increased as every activity must be repeated for each location. In addition, you risk over or underbuying as mistakes can easily be made. Buy too soon and you can deplete your cash reserves and create storage issues, buy too late and you’ll have empty shelves – it’s a veritable minefield which can have a serious effect on your profitability.
Managing your purchasing in one, consolidated system is truly a game changer for multi-store retailers. And when you select OpSuite, the API provides you with the tools to integrate with your accounts so the financial data for all your business units remains in a single location.
If you’re already a multi-store retailer who is using disparate or unconnected systems, or you’re an ambitious businessperson with plans to expand, it’s vital that you arm yourself with the latest technology in order to make the most of every business opportunity. But that’s not enough, this technology must be compatible and connected or you won’t reap the full rewards. That’s why a true, omnichannel and multi-store solution which can grow alongside your business, such as OpSuite, is an ideal solution.
At RMS we begin every project with an extensive scoping exercise which ensures you receive all the features and functionality your business needs, whatever your future plans are. To see OpSuite in action, book a demo with a member of our expert team. They’ll take the time to understand your unique requirements and show you how OpSuite can support your business to achieve your ambitions. Book your demo here or call 0800 138 0050 for a free consultation.