Have you ever considered opening a retail store? From almanacs to zippers, no matter your product, there’s someone out there that wants to buy it.
Globally, total retail product sales is expected to hit $26 trillion dollars by 2022. An incredible amount, but that comes with substantial risk. Unbelievably, more than 70% of retail businesses shutter within ten years – often, it’s a result of a few avoidable mistakes.
Here are six things to plan for when starting your business, to help you become a successful store.
Who do you plan to sell to?
Know your target market is a relatively simple market adage that is missed quite a lot. You’d think it would be a simple proposition, but even big businesses can fail to read the room effectively. Yes, New Coke, we’re thinking of you!
It’s critical that you know to who you plan to sell your products. Whether that be commissioning market research, talking to your potential customers, or learning from your audience on social media, it’s important that you have a solid marketing plan.
Knowing who you plan to sell your products to is a fantastic way to get your business started, and keep it going. By understanding that, you’ll be one crucial step forward in starting your business.
What’s your technology plan?
Technology is a critical component of any retail business these days. Gone are the days that a simple register would do the job – from a Point of Sale (POS) system for sales tracking, to marketing platforms for maintaining regular contact with your customers, to even a security system to safeguard your products when your business is closed – have technology in place to support you.
When do you plan to become profitable?
An essential part of running your store is ensuring that as a business you are making money. After all, there’s not much point in running a business if you never make any money!
It’s important to both have a plan, and recognize that sometimes things will change. Review your plan regularly, and if the products you offer don’t meet customer expectations, don’t be afraid to challenge them.
Where do you plan to source your products?
A supply chain that’s well thought out can be a great thing when you open your store. Often, it’s handy to have multiple suppliers, even if you have just a few things to sell. With current supply chain constraints, having multiple options available is a great way to build resilience in your retail store.
Whether you have local suppliers or choose to use a giftware wholesaler, it’s important that you have several suppliers in place so you can source the right products for your business.
Review inventory regularly, and review storage and warehousing as required. After all, there’s not much point in having stock you’re unable to sell or not enough of the stock that you’re selling through.
Why do you want to open your store?
It’s important that you understand why you want to open your business. Don’t just open it because you don’t like the competition or want something for yourself.
Find a target market and learn all that you can about it. The most successful businesses often have many loyal customers – by having a solid customer experience in a retail store, you’ll be able to bring them back frequently and become profitable much faster.
How do you plan to stay up to date?
Now your store is up and running, it’s essential that you stay current and up to date. Keep up with the trends by surveying your customers, keeping track of interactions, and reviewing product sales.
One way that you can stay up to date is to consider starting a loyalty program. By understanding what customers are coming back to your store, you may be able to offer them a personalized experience that can’t be matched anywhere else.
Starting a business can be a really difficult thing to do. But for many, the opportunity to be your own boss can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
I’d love to hear your stories in the comments – have you ever started a retail store? How has it worked for you so far?