Growing a Retail Business in Uncertain Times: Insights from Our Chief Growth Officer

Kirtis Hill

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When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe in 2020, only time would tell the tremendous effects it would have on the economy and life as we know it. After helping to grow brands like Cabela’s and Whataburger, Kirtis Hill had only been in his new position as Chief Growth Officer of Batteries Plus for a year when the government shutdowns, supply chain disruptions and labor shortage began. He recently sat down to share his insights on what it takes to get a retail business through uncertain times, and how to prepare for an equally ambiguous future.

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Growing a Retail Brand vs. a Restaurant Brand

As Whataburger’s Director of Strategy and Execution, Kirtis learned the ins and outs of the quick service restaurant industry. His top goal was to reduce service times to increase tickets.

Joining Batteries Plus meant he was now strategizing for an essential business with steady income, so he could focus more on quality over quantity.

“Everyone needs Batteries Plus’ products and services,” he explained. “At a restaurant, customers usually come in knowing exactly what they want. Here, they often need our experts to tell them what they need.”

Because customer interactions are typically more in-depth at Batteries Plus than they would be in the fast food space, Kirtis knew customer satisfaction was the key to success.

Focus on the Customer Experience

There is an important question every business owner must be able to answer: “What sets you apart from competitors?”

Customers aren’t just coming to Batteries Plus to buy products; they’re relying on us for top-notch expertise and solutions they can count on.

“Customer expectations have skyrocketed, especially since the pandemic. Those who focus on the customer experience will come out on top every time,” he explained.

According to Kirtis, feedback is essential for growth. With over three decades in business, Batteries Plus is recognizable with a solid reputation, but the worst thing any brand can do is get complacent.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he explained. “It’s refreshing to work in a company that has this type of loyalty from their customer base, and it’s equally as important to continue to expand our offerings and enhance our processes for the many years to come.”

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Living and Breathing Your Company’s Values

Growth starts with a vision, so that everyone understands the North star that is guiding the decision process. Setting specific, measurable goals will help give your people something to strive for. It’s about celebrating the wins and adapting as needed.

Batteries Plus offers a diverse array of products and services, but at the end of the day, what we value the most are our people – from franchisees to employees and, of course, customers.

“We are subject matter experts and it’s so important to be able to take care of our customers in their time of need,” Kirtis said. “Values aren’t just something you hold close during one moment of meeting; they should shine through in every interaction you have.”

This is also where staffing our stores comes in. Batteries Plus doesn’t just bring “anyone” on board. We look for franchisees who embody enthusiasm for our brand. It is about helping people and encouraging them to find employees who do the same.

Maintaining High Franchisee Satisfaction

Each franchise system has its unique processes. When a brand is expanding rapidly, it can be easy to lose focus. Batteries Plus puts our franchisees front and center through the store opening process and beyond.

“Being able to open 40 or 50 stores is an amazing accomplishment for us,” Kirtis explained, “but we still want to make sure every franchisee feels like they’re the only ones opening up a store.”

Batteries Plus has several different support teams – from real estate to store development – that are available for weekly calls and as-needed consulting. With comprehensive training on equipment and product use, store operations, methods of controlling operating costs and using our retail management system, aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds can find success with Batteries Plus.

We also offer initial and ongoing support in areas such as; advertising and marketing, inventory management and HR best practices.

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Building Connections

Finally, with an average AUV of all franchise locations of $864,108*, franchisees know that Batteries Plus’ essential offerings and proven model will lead them to success. Still, business is about a whole lot more than that. It’s about building deep connections and getting to know everyone’s story.

Learning to appreciate the diverse backgrounds of those around you not only makes you a better business leader, but also a better person. The strongest leaders are those who never forget that people are looking to them for guidance – especially during uncertain times.

Looking for a resilient franchise opportunity where customer satisfaction is at the forefront of our record-breaking growth? Contact us today to learn more about opening a Batteries Plus in your area.

* The $864,108 in average net revenue is based on net sales information of the 564 Batteries Plus® stores in operation during the entire 2021 calendar year. Of the 564 stores, 222 stores (39%) met or exceed the average net revenue. There is no assurance, however, that you will do as well. See Item 19 of our 2022 FDD for further details.

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