Thinking of starting your own retail business? This can be a highly rewarding line of work, but in order to succeed, you will need to be willing to work hard as this is a competitive industry to operate in particularly when you consider the rise of online shopping over the years. It will require a lot more than great products to succeed, but there are a few steps to follow which should put you on the right path and help you to get off the ground with ease. Read on for advice on how to start your own successful retail business.
First, you will need to come up with a business plan that outlines what you aim to achieve. This will include what products you plan to sell, who your competitors are and who your target audience is. If you plan on securing investors for your retail store, you will also need financial projections included to help investors to see how their money is being spent and how long it will take to recoup. Additionally, the business plan will have your shop name, logo and slogan which should always be memorable and eye-catching.
Your physical bricks and mortar store will need to be located somewhere with a lot of footfall so that you can entice people through the door. Ideally, this will be in a shopping centre or on the high street as these are the areas that will allow you to succeed (although they will be more expensive). The store should be spacious, have plenty of natural light and have an intelligent layout (more on this to come).
In today’s day and age, it is also important that you are able to sell your products online as this is how many people now shop. The website should be easy to navigate, modern and key up to date at all times. In addition to a website, it is also important that you are active on social media to promote your store and keep followers up to date on the latest information (new products, sales etc). Although people do shop online, having a brick and mortar store is still beneficial as people like to come in and physically get a sense of products before they purchase (particularly items like clothes).
One of the biggest and most important decisions will be deciding on the store layout. You need to create a welcoming environment where all of your products are on show, and people can easily walk around. It can be a smart idea to have your best products visible from the outside to entice passers-by which can be furthered with careful shop window design. In addition to the layout, you will also want to take steps to improve the atmosphere through a comfortable temperature, ambient music, and an inviting fragrance.
Customers do not want to spend their time queuing up to get served so you will need to streamline the purchasing experience. This will involve having multiple tills and well-trained staff, plus you could also consider installing self-service checkouts. It is also key that you offer NFC payment to accommodate today’s cashless society – having high-quality card readers can also speed up the process and provide important protection for both your business and your customers.
You will need a strong team to power the operation so be thorough with your selection process and provide adequate training. There will need to be consistency so your staff will need to know how to welcome people into the store and how much support to give during their shopping experience. A good team can convert a visitor into a customer without being too pushy, so you will need to find the right people who are able to do this and paint your brand in a good light.
Once you are all set up, you will want to start promoting your store. This should be done with internet marketing so that you can increase your visibility online and direct traffic to the website, but also offline too. You can promote a store offline by holding an exclusive event (like a launch party), sending freebies to local influencers and advertising through traditional channels (TV, radio, local newspapers).
Setting up a retail store can be incredibly rewarding and particularly when people start to flock through the door, but it can also be competitive and challenging at times. The above steps should help you to get up and running and put you in a good position to succeed through creating strong awareness about your store and by creating a pleasant and efficient shopping experience.