You have gone against stiff competition and turned your dream into a retail business success story, Congratulations! Whether it took you a few years or it happened faster than you thought, you are now reaping the fruits of your hard work and persistence. You now find yourself at the wheel of a profitable, thriving business.
Now, what’s next? If you’re one of the business owners whose 2022 New Year resolution is to shoot for the stars, then the answer must be plain and simple- It’s time to start growing your retail operations. You might have some ideas for getting started. It’s also possible that increasing your business is uncharted territory, and you could use a little nudge.
If so, then you’re in the right place. This article will explore tried and tested growth initiatives that you can do this 2022 to expand your retail business. If you’re planning to invest in growth, one (or more) of these pointers could be just perfect for you.
Here are tips that you can use for creating your retail expansion strategy to make getting started a breeze.
1. Expand to other locations
Opening new branches or expanding to other locations may seem like a monumental step, but just thinking about this may fill butterflies in the stomach of any ambitious business owner. Yes, it is a sizable undertaking, but opening another branch in a new location is a proven method for broadening your customer base and market revenue.
Since this may be quite an investment and time-intensive, you shouldn’t head down this road unless you’ve done your research and evaluation of the pros and cons, and can commit the time, capital, and effort to make it work.
To help you start the planning process and avoid stumbling on the most common pitfalls along the way, here are some strategies and tips to consider:
Squeeze the most out of your primary market: Before opening a second location, make sure you’ve made the most out of your local customer base. Otherwise, you’re unnecessarily wasting an opportunity.
Scout for the best location: Ideally, open your next store in an area where you already made a name for your brand, but make it far enough so that it won’t dismantle your primary store’s sales.
Formalize processes: It’s a given that when you expand your store, complexity increases. Standardized methods and procedures can help you maintain operational efficiency to better manage inventory and financial and human resources.
Set clear goals: A set of clear goals will allow you to stay focused even with a new location while also giving you a direction to measure performance.
Expanding locations isn’t cheap: Consider outside financing in capital funding or a bank or other entity loan.
Seek expert advice: Fellow business owners are often friendlier than you think. Ask them out for a cup of coffee to talk about this new venture and seek a bit of expert guidance.
Multi-Store Feature in POS
The tech side of things plays an integral part in this big move. Retail stores with two or more branches use the same multi-store POS. This makes it easy to train their employees using a unified system and facilitates managerial flexibility and uniformity across all locations.
Using the same software to run your stores will make your business much more manageable. Setup becomes more straightforward, and it’s easier to train new employees (no matter which store they’re assigned to) when you’re using a uniform system to run your locations.
You upload the same products into the system, train your employees to make sales, and manage inventory using the POS in your new location. This will minimize risks for errors and fraud and avoid redundancy of efforts as you move forward.
Thanks to modern automation and technology like the POS, expanding your business has become a lot less risky as it has also become more intuitive and helps streamline your processes.
2. Expand to other sales channels
If it isn’t clear enough, now is the best time for your business to embrace modern marketing techniques and platforms. Now, most of your customers and target market exist and thrive online. You will compete with several other online businesses, but this shouldn’t scare you. Expanding to online sales channels presents more pros and opportunities than cons.
When we think of building an online presence, the first thing that comes to mind is making a great website and social media. Here are more powerful strategies you can explore in 2022 if you want to mark your spot in the online business world.
Instagram: Consider expanding to the social media world. Instagram, a social media platform that started as a place for selfies and aesthetically appealing feeds, has become a booming hotspot for businesses looking to improve their brand’s presence and recognition. If you have a large and engaged social following, it may be worth exploring social selling opportunities.
TikTok: If you cater to Get Z shoppers and teens, you should also explore TikTok as a sales channel. With millions of highly engaged users worldwide, the platform can help put your merchandise in front of interested shoppers. This year, we see different businesses from food, service-based, and tourism to small and big retailers using the app as their leading marketing platform!
Social Media Influencers: Paid advertising opportunities allow you to reach out to new consumers who may not have heard of you before. You may want to consider partnering with a local social media influencer who can tell their engaged audience about the benefits of your product or service. This strategy has become extremely popular since the strike of the pandemic.
Online marketplaces: Other retailers choose to open up additional revenue streams by selling on online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Lazada, and Shopee. In addition to selling through a brick-and-mortar store and e-commerce site, you can also sell your products on online marketplaces.
Email marketing: This is an excellent way to remind your customers of your existence and get them excited about visiting your stores. You could even offer coupons or special deals to customers who subscribe to your mailing list to get more from this marketing strategy. Your POS should have a loyalty program to keep track of loyal customers and recurring engagements and collect their contact information.
3. Expand to other markets
Some retailers diversify their products and services by venturing into new markets. For example, the demographics of your current market are primarily female; you may soon slowly expand your business and tap into the male market.
If you own a retail store that sells toddlers and children’s clothing, you may want to expand into a higher age group, say pre-teens, teens, or young adults.
Of course, venturing into a new market comes with risks, so before diving into a whole new customer base, do thorough research and test your ideas. It also helps if there is an existing demand in that particular market.
4. Grow your product and service offerings
As long as you keep those products in line with your company’s long-term goals and established brand image, growing your products and service offerings is a clever tactic that can bring you more profit.
Start it off by zeroing in on what your customers want the most. Of course, that will depend on the industry that you operate in. Are your shoppers requesting anything in particular? Is there anything they need that you aren’t selling yet?
For example, if you retail coffee machines, you may also want to consider expanding your product line to include coffee beans, milk frothers, etc. You know your target will enjoy these. It would be best if you understood what they would be looking for after using one of your products.
If you operate a retail clothing store, you may introduce a new clothing line. If most of your customers use your apparel for summertime, you may want to consider creating a product line that complements that. It could be a clothing line that cools the wearer on a hot day or even a line of towels, hats, and sunglasses that they can use.
Whatever industry you operate in, getting creative and understanding your customers’ needs are the most important aspects of expanding your product line and growing your retail business.
5. Pop up in other places
If you want to expand by putting up another store but don’t have the funds (or the confidence) to set up a full-fledged retail store, consider setting up a pop-up store instead.
The goal of pop-up stores is to initially let yourselves be known to a new audience, which makes them a perfect testbed for your expansion strategy. New shoppers will get introduced to your brand without your existing shoppers’ biases or preconceived notions, allowing you to test a broader audience’s appetite for a more diversified product selection.
Retailers can save up to 80% by opening a pop-up vs. a traditional store. In addition to minimizing your cost of spending, pop-up stores allow you to safely test the waters in a particular location to determine whether or not it’ll be worth setting up a more permanent store.
6. Team up with other businesses
Many retail stores would be happy to partner with another retailer to expand their offerings and share their customer bases. Make it a goal to leverage the assets of other businesses. You can do this by partnering with a company in the market you want to target.
For instance, if you own a seafood or sushi business, you may want to look into creating a partnership with a local company that is known to sell the fresh catch. For example, if you’re going to expand your women’s apparel line to menswear, you can partner with an existing male fashion business instead of developing new products from scratch.
You could cross-promote each other’s stores and participate in a mutually beneficial partnership. The main advantage of this strategy is that the business you team up with will already have the assets and resources required to win the market you’re targeting.
Team up with other businesses, then develop a win-win agreement that will help you both add value to your customers’ lives.
7. Assess your analytics
Business analytics, aka your data, allows you to make smarter business decisions based on statistical facts rather than just based on intuitions, assumptions, and emotional whim. These facts can be used to guide your decisions about your company’s growth by assessing a long-term view of your market and competition.
Business owners equip themselves with a POS with a Back Office to have a more systematic approach to streamlining this process. What a Back Office does is that it quickly identifies the productivity and losses in each area of the business with the help of visualizations.
The Back Office gives you sales reports to fully view your business performance. It has a variety of information and sales analytics to analyze your sales by different parameters (e.g. time, stores, employees, and sales).
With a good grasp of your business analytics, you can filter and find out trends and problem areas to constantly improve the performance of your business.
There you go! These are proven tactics to power your retail expansion plans. Of course, all of these will entail time, effort, and lots of research and planning; they’re all straightforward, tried, and tested paths toward growth. We recommend that you think long and hard about the objectives you’d like your retail expansion strategy to achieve. Let that be the starting point to select the tactic you think will get you where you want to go most efficiently. Good luck!
Edited by Chooli