Retail growth is critical to staying competitive in today’s retail environment because it provides opportunity to meet customer expectations, connect with more customers, profit from multiple revenue streams, and expand your product offerings.
Our April webinar, Using Data to Grow your Retail Footprint, focused on growing your retail footprint in a way that’s profitable and sustainable. Jim Jurcevich, co-owner and buyer at Columbus Running Company, joined us to share tips from his experience with retail growth and market penetration.
To access the complete on-demand recording, click here. For the cliffnotes, check out our five-step strategy for creating retail growth below.
Five Step Growth Strategy:
1. Define your growth goal.
What does “growth” mean to your business? Perhaps it’s opening a new store, adding more square footage, or establishing an ecommerce presence. Regardless, your goal will help you determine your unique threshold for affording expansion as well as minimum viability for new locations/revenue streams. Once you’ve defined your goal, ensure all business decisions are in alignment.
Columbus Running Company’s growth goal remains focused on customer needs. “As the last of the local independents in Columbus, we’ve been successful because we stay focused on our customers and empower our staff to be advocates for them. We’re very selective in what products we stock, as we try to find the best options out there for our customers,” Jim Jurcevich, Columbus Running Company.
2. Analyze your data consistently.
When growing your business there will be many unknowns. So start with your data! Use it to evaluate your customer base, potential new store locations, and inventory allocation across multiple locations. Remember that each store will perform differently. You’ll always have to factor in store sizes, locations, and clientele when evaluating multi-store performance.
For example, Columbus Running Company created heat maps based on customer addresses when considering potential new store locations. All stores are geographically close enough for convenient inventory transfers but far enough away to service unique clientele.
3. Ensure stability of a flagship location and brand.
You can’t expect a second store to be successful if the first isn’t. Similarly, your first location can and should help ensure the success of additional locations, especially if you’re self-financing. Consistent branding helps with stability, too. Consistent branding builds trust, which can help drive foot traffic at new stores.
4. Let opportunity define your timeline.
Timelines are helpful but imperfect. Too much structure can limit your creativity and the natural growth process. So don’t over think things! Rather, take advantage of good opportunities when they become available. So long as you have the data to support your decisions, you can ensure you’re not being impulsive or forcing change preemptively.
5. Scale with technology.
Technology enables flexibility. With POS and inventory management software, your store locations become interconnected. This leads to more access to more data, centralized inventory management, and enhanced purchasing convenience for your shoppers. It can also result in time saved, thanks to streamlined processes, costs cut, and profit grown.
For example, Columbus Running Company began streamlining inventory management with the opening of their third location and a “warehouse.” Since then, on-hand quantities have remained low and total inventory turnover has increased from 3.5 to 5.5, a total of 57%.
Strategy + Technology = Growth
Growing your retail footprint in a way that’s profitable and sustainable is possible with the guidance of a realistic, data-driven strategy, and the efficiency of integrated technology.