Ultimately, all businesses are systems. The quality and the reproducibility of those systems separates the good from the bad. A good group or franchise is, at its core, a good system.

Running a group or franchise is difficult as not only do the stores themselves need to run well, but there needs to be synchronisation and commonality between stores. Centralised information/systems are required; making cloud applications ideal.

A cloud application has the ‘have your cake and eat it’ advantage of being centralised and accessible from anywhere. If you are a multi store operation you should be looking at this kind of architecture.

Groups and Franchises

CirclePOS features for multi store operations

•  Group Portal

A group head office site is provided to all multi-store set-ups. This acts as a web portal to the rest of the group, while providing centralised reporting and a place to manage group buying deals.

•  Group web portal

Every store in the group gets their own inventory system and website. This enables stores to cater better to their local audiences. Especially useful for those customers who just want to know if their local store has something before going down to get it.

Overlaying each store's site is a group portal that lists all the items in group stores and directs customers to the shops that have them. This gives customers the best of both worlds, a one stop shop for the whole group and access to individual stores with their own curated catalogue.

All of these sites are linked together through a group category mapping system. This enables group stores that might have unique categories to suit their unique audiences to map to a single central list. This is also useful for group reporting at the category level.

•  Group categorisation and pricing

A primary store is able to set category and pricing defaults as they load new stock for the rest of the group via the category mapping system. This greatly improves productivity while allowing stores to be different when it comes to the categorisation of titles.

•  Easy turn-key setup of new stores

A clone tool cuts setup time for new stores. Simply pick a similar store in the group and clone it to create a new store ready to go for new owners. It makes it very fast and efficient for groups and franchises to add new stores, and to get them up and running quickly.

•  Customer roaming, loyalty, gift cards and accounts

Customers expect a consistent experience across a group and in particular the ability to roam between multiple stores with loyalty, gift cards and accounts.

CirclePOS supports a single central customer identity in a group. This enables customers to roam within the group. Their loyalty, gift cards and accounts will work seamlessly in any store or any store website. Each store can see who shops with them and the group head office can see the total customer base.

•  High volume order pick and shipping

CirclePOS includes a bin based picking and shipping system integrated into courier systems. This is ideal for large stores with high customer order volumes and warehouses supplying group stores.

•  Tracked store transfer system

Being able to transfer stock between stores is a valuable part of being in a group. It reduces capital tied up in stock and is a fast way to move stock to where it is needed.

Keeping track of store transfers can be challenging, Lost items are a sure way to unhappy customers. CirclePOS has a fully tracked store transfer system built in. In essence it treats each store as a potential supplier, allowing stores to order from, or push stock between each other with all steps being tracked and reported.

Another common situation involves a main central store needing to push stock out to other stores. In this case staff can ‘sell’ stock straight from POS to the other store. When one store ‘sells’ to another in the group the system knows that it is a transfer and automatically creates an inwards job in the receiving store. This makes it easy to bring the delivery in when it arrives. These ‘sales’ are kept out of actual sales by separate internal group accounts.

•  Purchase order cart merging - Video

Smaller stores that do not have enough volume to order freight free from suppliers will often do it through larger stores in the group. Setting up these orders and untangling and delivering the stock to the right place when it arrives can be problematic.

In CirclePOS smaller stores can easily put their orders for smaller suppliers through larger stores in the group and have all the steps recorded and tracked automatically.

Groups and Franchises

A case example is Readings in Melbourne Australia. Their smaller library store will often transfer purchase order carts to the larger Carlton store to avoid having to wait for min order volumes to build up. When they do this, customer orders are automatically created in Carlton and a standard purchase order is created in Library.

When the supplier delivers the order to Carlton the customer order flagging shows the inwards team which items need to go to Library.

Carlton invoices the Library customer order which removes the stock and Library brings them in against the original purchase order to fill their own pending customers orders.

•  Truck order status between stores

Purchase Order Acknowledgements (POA’s) are normally associated with suppliers. They tell you if something you have ordered is delayed or is going to be supplied or not.

This very useful order flagging system also works between stores within groups. For example, if a store orders/requests a transfer from another and the receiving store cancels the order, the requesting store will immediately see a red truck on that item. This notifies them to get the item from somewhere else, reducing time consuming and difficult to track phone calls.

Groups and Franchises

•  Group warehouse site

Many groups have a warehouse and CirclePOS has a warehouse site for this situation. The main difference between a wholesale site and a retail site is that sale prices in the wholesale site are assumed to be excluding tax. It is useful for stores in a group to be able, in real time, to see what is in the group warehouse.

•  Group deals system

Group buying is a key part of, and advantage, of belonging to a group. There are two approaches to group deals and we support both. The first is the central buy where the head office commits to a certain volume and scales out to the stores. The other is where the head office negotiates group deals that the stores opt into.

Central deal scale out
The group scale out is in effect remote control purchasing - where head office adds items into store’s purchase order carts, or ‘skips’ these carts and posts orders straight to the supplier. The orders are shipped directly to the individual stores the same as if they had ordered them themselves.

Optional group deals
The second approach to group ordering is for head offices to create optional deals that are then advertised to stores in their inventory systems. Store managers can choose to take up the deal or not.

•  Group wide real time stock availability reporting

Each store in the group receives a detailed view of what is available in other stores to facilitate transfers and satisfy customer requests.

Each store can see available stock, what is on order and recent sales trends. All of this is needed to enable staff to make good decisions when it comes to requesting transfers. Another store in the group may have stock but if it is being held for a customer it may be better to order from the supplier.

•  Amalgamated group reporting

A head office daily sales report provides key sales information across all stores. It includes; Customers, Items sold, total sales, average sale and gross profit.

Other reports for head office include group item sales overview and group weekly sales summary by store report.


The cloud base makes CirclePOS ideal for multi store operations. It puts everyone on the same page and makes it easy to add additional stores. Most importantly it makes it easy and efficient for stores in a group to work together.

If you would like to know more, book a meeting or have a look at some of the great groups using CirclePOS.