Balancing a retail store with an online sales channel can be challenging. But keeping customers happy while growing can be even more difficult to manage. Amit Mahtani, president and second-generation owner of Bagels on Greene, knows this challenge all too well. Amit’s ready-to-order bagel shop and deli had reached stagnation and needed more physical space and online offerings so he could continue growing the business. “We had reached a five-year mark where we were at capacity, so we decided to jump head first, and we broke down the wall, opened the space, re-organized the entire store, [all] without shutting down,” Amit says.
Ahead, discover the steps Amit took to kickstart Bagels on Greene’s storefront expansion that took the brand to the next level.
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3 steps to help kickstart your storefront expansion
1. Plan ahead and think logistically
When opening a retail storefront, it’s necessary to think long term about your expansion plans.
“Where do you want to see yourself in 10 years?” Amit asks. If you can create a plan for the future, it will help avoid unnecessary stress when it comes time to start the expansion process.
Amit consulted data to determine the ideal timeline to grow Bagels on Greene’s retail presence.
“There’s a maximum number of people we can serve every day in a reasonable time frame,” Amit says. By looking at sales data, he could forecast how long it would take to reach capacity.
When the number of people they were serving kept growing faster than his facility was able to handle, the team was ready to knock down walls and expand.
2. Collect feedback and make small improvements over time
When Bagels on Greene grew to take over the retail space next door, Amit began listening very closely to the shop’s returning customers.
Amit would make small changes overnight, and wait for customers to notice and give feedback. He added catering services online and moved certain displays around in the store to better serve his customers’ needs.
3. Follow the data—and do more of what works
In order to keep growing the foot traffic to the store, and expand the store a second time, Amit used data from recent sales to dictate what to display in the store and highlight online.
“If it’s a big seller in retail, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a bestseller online, so follow the data closely, [and] don’t be afraid to change things up,” Amit says. After Amit discovered this difference in customer behavior between his store and his website, he was able to experiment with new food offerings that would appeal to the two different types of customers.
Balancing multiple sales channels is a practice that takes close attention to detail and a deep understanding of your customer base. There is no perfect formula, and entrepreneurs need to be willing to experiment to find the offerings or services that speak most to the customer base.
Following Amit’s model, you can manage your store’s growth and prepare for expansion when the time comes. To learn more about Bagels on Greene’s trajectory, listen to the full Shopify Masters episode.