Even as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on brick-and-mortar retail performance, Batteries Plus expanded its franchise store fleet.
Chain Store Age recently spoke with Joe Malmuth, VP of franchise development and relations at Batteries Plus, about how in his first 12 months with the organization, he successfully guided the growth of the franchise system through the COVID-19 pandemic with over 45 new store signings and significant increases to the financial performance of franchisees.
Malmuth described how Batteries Plus uses both strategy and technology to navigate franchise expansion and success, even in a uniquely challenging time.
How were you able to achieve franchise growth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? The pandemic was an opportunity for Batteries Plus to tell a story of stability. Our franchise is both needs-based and essential, which allowed us to stay open and serve the communities in which we operate at a time when they needed us the most.
What type of store projection software do you use and how do you apply the data it provides? We make use of the latest technology and business intelligence tools, as well as some proprietary programs that allow us to forecast accurately, as well as identify and take advantage of up-to-the-minute market trends and opportunities. This gives our franchisees a leading edge in our industry and is part of the reason for the resilience of our franchise system.
How do you manage site tours for new/prospective franchisees? For the Batteries Plus franchise system, candidates experience site tours virtually by making use of 3D video and photography. Candidates are able to virtually walk-through multiple stores, both front-of-house and back-of-house, and learn exactly what makes a Batteries Plus retail location tick.
We have also invested in wearable technology that creates an immersive 3D experience for our franchise candidates as they learn more about the Batteries Plus franchise opportunity. Once they become a franchisee, we send our real estate team out to meet with them face to face and physically tour potential locations to help them land a perfect location with the right economics. This helps to ensure their best chances for a strong first-year performance.
What are your core product offerings and why do you think they are positioned for growth? At our core, Batteries Plus offers batteries of all kinds - everything from the Double A batteries in your TV remote to hearing aids, cars, boats, and trucks; to more unique applications like Zambonis and fork lifts. We also offer best-in-class lighting solutions, device repair, key fob programming and key cutting. These categories have both retail and commercial applications which help create multiple streams of revenue across a diverse customer base for our franchisees. This spells stability for our owners, no matter what is happening in the world.