Expansion in the retail business is generally recognized as a sign of success. However, it comes with its complications and challenges, especially when it concerns managing multiple branches at different locations.
Going from a single store to various storefronts isn’t just a matter of addition, but you have to change the way to operate the business.
Retail industry has evolved, and now it not just revolves around making more sales and bringing in new customers. The competition is furious in the retail industry, and customer experience has become the major influencing factor like never before.
Cloud technology is one technology that retail businesses can utilize for managing chain outlets to keep up with the industry and customer demands.
Cloud technology overcomes the retail-related challenges by allowing you to access the tools from anywhere and anytime, as long as you have a working internet connection. It not only makes the retail process faster but also provides various benefits like real-time access, better inventory management, and many more.
Here are some challenges faced by retailers and how the cloud can help you overcome and survive in the industry.
1. Inventory Management Across Multiple Stores
Inventory management can be an enormous task when it comes to managing different store locations. For a business to grow and expand, this needs to be optimized more smartly. There can be a massive drop in gross margins due to the high maintenance cost of inventories.
Hence, there is a need for a centralized inventory management system as retailers have to fulfill the needs of customers. The end customer would not wait around if the stock is not available, which would then result in the customers leaving the store empty-handed.
Hosting of your POS software on cloud transforms the way you manage and track inventory. It is easy to view inventory status for each store and all stores simultaneously.
With the help of cloud-hosted Point-of-Sale software, the inventory is synced in real-time, which helps you to make strategic business decisions and timely re-ordering of stocks as per the demands on individual stores.
Moreover, it becomes easy to track deliveries and warehouse distribution. It also provides you the feature of manual and automatic inventory transfers among stores.
2. Data Synchronization Among Different Locations
Data synchronization is a big challenge for multi-store businesses. The business might be expanded all over the world, resulting in stores operating at different geographical locations and time-zones.
Possibly, all the stores would operate at different work hours, which can create a problem for the retailers to manage it. Your business decisions depend on individual store performance, so syncing data in real-time becomes critical.
The cloud technology offers a solution for this problem by storing data on remote cloud servers, which are updated in real-time regardless of the time-zones. Moreover, the data on the cloud is synced over all the stores.
You can analyze it accordingly to make better business decisions. Management becomes easy when updated data is available anytime, anywhere you want.
3. Cross-store Operations
Value-added services are a common way to market your products and promote your brand. The multi-store brands use customer redemption points, discounts, product returns as value-added services for better customer experience and acquisition.
Implementing and managing these services can be a hustle among all the stores as every store must be on the same page when offering services to the end customers, irrespective of the location.
However, hosting the POS software like QuickBooks Point-of-Sale provides you with hassle-free management of value-added services. Customers can make a purchase or return from any location they want, which enhances the customer experience.
With this, there is integrity among stores, and also the standard operating procedures for all the stores allow you to manage it centrally.
4. On-premise IT Infrastructure Costs
Multi-store businesses may have on-premise IT infrastructure for each store, which can be expensive and would shrink your profit margins significantly. Setting up an IT infrastructure requires purchasing hardware, software licenses, and fees for tech support and maintenance.
In such a competitive industry, there is a need for cutting down costs to generate more business revenue.
By opting for cloud hosting services, the POS software and data are stored on the remote cloud servers of a third-party provider. Hence, you can bring down the costs considerably by eliminating the need for local infrastructure at your retail stores.
Moreover, the cloud provider charge on a pay-as-you-use basis, implying that you pay only for the services utilized.
5. Multi-store Reporting
Data analysis is one of the critical tasks to improve and grow your business. Inventory, sales, and valuation reports provide you the insights about individual store needs. These reports help business owners to make crucial decisions regarding buying and transferring stocks. However, it is hard to acquire data from each store regularly when stored on their local POS systems.
Cloud technology offers remote access to data for each store anytime you want. With the help of cloud solutions, it is feasible to generate customized reports daily, weekly, and monthly without being dependent on the store managers. It helps you in monitoring the performance of each store and overall business.
6. Branch Accounting
Multi-stores brand can have both company-owned and franchise stores. Hence, the management of these stores needs to be managed centrally as well as locally.
Maintaining separate books of accounts for each store can be a hustle and time-consuming at the end of every month or financial year.
Having your POS software hosted on cloud saves you from hassles of maintaining the accounts for individual stores as it syncs all the data in real-time with the accounting software like QuickBooks. This way, the accounting becomes easy and saves time, effort, and double entries.
Retail businesses may face many challenges as the industry grows with time but adopting cloud technology can help you tackle all these and benefit over other competitors.
Success in business is all about generating revenue, and cloud solutions provide all the ways to save time, cost, and efforts. Moreover, it helps you to keep your data secure and at ease of accessing it anytime, anywhere.