Batteries Plus has been franchising since 1992. It’s been nearly 30 years since we opened our first franchise store and in that time our store owners have seen a lot. Yet despite hurricanes, tornadoes, financial crises, and more, our franchisees continue to thrive. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to attract new store owners. Our new Queen Creek, Arizona store opened on Monday May 18th, with many more openings scheduled for 2020. We spoke with a number of Batteries Plus’ top executives about some of the challenges they have faced over the past years, what they’ve learned from those experiences and how they’ve applied that knowledge to help keep our stores resilient even in the toughest of times.
What are some of the retail challenges Batteries Plus has faced over the years and how did we survive them?
Shawn Budiac (Vice President, Category Management):
“Over the years, Batteries Plus has had to face several retail challenges that have helped us to continue to evolve the brand. During the financial crisis of 2008 we fared very well relative to other retailers, primarily because we offered customers the option of keeping their cars, phones and other devices running longer. In these times, keeping that device going with a new battery or charger is a way for them to save money rather than shouldering the additional expense of buying new.”
“For other, weather-related events, we have been able to ensure that our stores are always there for their communities. We have flexed as a retailer in these environments, migrating to an all-hands-on-deck approach to get the right inventory to our stores, for our customers’ needs. Being there for the local community is that franchisee’s way of helping out their neighbors, friends, and family in their local markets and building loyal customers in the process.”
What have we learned from COVID-19 that will help us to better serve our customers going forward?
Jim O’Neil (Vice President, Supply Chain & Logistics):
“The onset of the COVID pandemic reinforced our go-to-market strategy of adapting to customers’ ever-changing needs. As an essential business we stood ready to support local municipalities, first responders, healthcare services, and the like. We did so through a creative eComm presence and by rapidly shifting our store presence to one where our customers could be assured, more than ever, that we are operating a safe and clean environment in compliance with CDC guidelines. This included best-in-class hygienic protocols in stores, as well as a non-contact curbside shopping experience.”
Shawn Budiac (Vice President, Category Management):
“In the world of retail, companies need to adapt quickly to match their customers’ needs. Communication is key in achieving that and we have learned that in difficult times like these, you can never communicate too much. Our stores proved incredibly flexible and we were able to adapt our Buy Online Pickup in Store program to provide curbside pickup on a national level within a 48-hour time frame. We anticipate this to be an ongoing trend in retail for the indefinite future and we will continue the program for our customers.”
Craig McNair (Chief Retailing officer):
“Our enhanced communication strategies have helped provide our owners with real-time information and updates to help improve their business in a timely manner. For example, we’ve used enhanced sales analytics to help owners expand hours and invest in inventory buy-in opportunities to grow their business and enhance profitability.”
Scott O’Farrell (Vice President, Commercial Sales):
“One of the key strategies to thriving during this time has been to continue pursuing alternate forms of commercial business. When we looked at what has driven Batteries Plus’ commercial success over the years it was clear that our commercial business was done in nine key industries. Our challenge was telling our story to as many in those nine industries as possible. We determined the best way to do this was to find purchasing groups that represented these industries. That was the birth of our Group Purchasing Organization strategy.
We have been awarded and launched seven of these groups targeting churches, schools, healthcare facilities, restaurants, contractors, and the trucking industry, with four more to follow in the next few weeks. What really excites us is that these are customers in industries we have served for a long time, but now through relationships with these Group Purchasing Organizations we have the ability to reach even more of them than ever before.”
What are some of the characteristics that make Batteries Plus so resilient?
Derek Siddons (Vice President, Company Stores):
“Batteries Plus has faced many challenges over the last 30+ years. Every crisis has its own set of challenges, but being a retailer of products that support both retail and business customers has helped provide insulation to help weather the challenges that each has presented.”
“Over the years, we have learned to be as nimble as possible. Some things you simply cannot predict and as long as we, as a company, are in a position to pivot quickly to respond to these situations, we are all in a better position. As we continue to grow, we plan to keep that nimble approach that allows us to react appropriately to any difficult situation that may arise.”
“Additionally, we learned that we need to continue as a brand to expand our offering to our customers. The historical launches of lighting, phone repair , key fob programming , and more have absolutely aided us through this time. Having these various sources of revenue has been able to put our owners in better positions than retailers reliant on one or two specific product lines. To continue to serve our owners, we will continue to proactively evolve our product and service offerings.”
If you’re interested in taking control of your financial future, Batteries Plus is a reliable investment that’s largely insulated from current market trends. Please fill out the form below to receive access to our Digital Executive Summary, which provides detailed information on every aspect of the ownership experience. A representative will then reach out to you to answer all of your questions and help you determine if Batteries Plus is a good fit for you.