What’s really stopping you from scaling? And how do you avoid the pitfalls?
Scaling a retail business rapidly and successfully rarely goes according to plan. With all of the details and nuances of opening up not just one location, but several, as a retailer you need to have the resources and people on your side to help make it happen. But what if you don’t?
We created a White Paper for this very purpose: to help retailers understand the most common challenges you face when scaling your business, and the pitfalls that occur when you rush into scaling without a solid plan in place to help you do so. The most crucial element, as you’ll learn in our White Paper (and below), is your people.
Let’s explore more on the topic of scaling and the challenges you can overcome to do it successfully. To get the full picture, download our White Paper, “The Three Challenges All Retailers Face While Scaling”.
First, break down scale vs. growth
When we think of scaling, many people associate it with growth, but there’s a distinct difference between the two. We can think of scaling versus growth like this:
Growth refers to adding resources at the same time that you’re adding revenue, whereas scaling refers to increasing revenue without increasing production costs. And while the two concepts sound similar, many retailers mistake growth for scale and dive headlong into scaling their business without thinking about the long-term.
The reality is that you have to scale not only with a solid plan, but with your customers in mind. You have to ask yourself questions like:
- Is it the right time, and do you have the right people on your side to help you make it happen?
- Will you have to expand your team and, if so, how will you put the right people in place?
- How will you train and guide new team members to deliver consistently on your customer experience?
Many retailers aren’t scaling successfully for these three reasons
Customers expect a consistent experience across your retail locations, time and again. They want to know that when they shop with you in-store, they’re getting an experience they can’t get online, and won’t find at any other retailer. But when you scale poorly, you jeopardize your business’s ability to offer that consistent, cohesive experience at scale.
Ensuring you can deliver on that experience encompasses everything from processes and infrastructure to:
- Frontline staff who offer customer service to customers
- Teams in charge of key departments like Operations or Purchasing
- In-store customer service departments or teams
You also have to consider what makes your business and customer experience unique enough that shoppers will choose you over a competitor. And knowing this will help you scale. Some retailers can “rinse and repeat” their strategies because they’ve tested their processes and know that what worked for other retail locations will also work for another, or for a different segment of customers. But not all retailers can take that approach.
Without the right team, scaling will trip up any retailer. People aren’t just the makeup of your business, they’re the part of its infrastructure and success. We’ve got a list of key questions you need to ask yourself about your teams before you scale – find that list in our White Paper.
Losing sight of your brand
Your brand is an essential part of your business, and a majority of your customers will associate your brand with their experience, and what it’s like to shop with you. But your brand also embodies everything
from mission and values to customer experience, company culture and even your bottom line. You can’t create an unforgettable experience for your customers without first turning your attention to your brand values.
And those brand values are upheld and nurtured by your people. Scaling can have a negative impact on your company culture when the need to grow and increase revenue supersedes the need to grow and develop your people and top talent.
When you lose sight of your brand during scaling, you’ll find that you:
- Ignore relationships with vendors and suppliers
- Fail to hire the right people who reflect your brand values and care about your customers
- Forget why you started your business in the first place
- Create a rift between your brand and your customer experience
- Negatively impact your company culture and how your teams feel about your brand
Forgetting customer experience
When customers are happy with their shopping experience, it leads to both increased revenue for you as a retailer and a greater likelihood that they’ll buy from you again.
You have to consider whether you’re offering a unique experience once customers set foot inside your retail store, and if there’s enough to keep them from walking out without making a purchase.
The built environment and retail environment both need to support, be aligned with, and allow your teams to deliver a great customer experience. The people who embody and make that experience tangible for customers are crucial. When you have the right team of people in place, they can provide a consistent experience that embodies your brand, culture, values and customer service across the board, even while you scale.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What does my customer think of our brand?
- What makes them purchase with us versus a competitor?
- How do my customers feel about their in-store experience?
- What do my customers expect when they shop in-store with us?
Are these 3 key challenges keeping you from scaling successfully?
At CBSF, we know what it takes to scale from 3 stores to 50 (and beyond). But there are common challenges that all retailers face which keep many from scaling successfully. We want to help you execute on your plans to scale, using our years of expertise and knowledge to do so. Discover what holds retailers back from scaling and what you do can do avoid those same pitfalls. Download “The 3 Challenges All Retailers Face While Scaling” here.