You have been thinking about opening a store for a long time. Is it a thought that has been lingering for a while but you have no idea on how to begin? That aside you certainly posses the right personality, motivations, and experience to own a retail business... Well, the good news it that it might be easier than what you may think, but like everything worthwhile in life it does require plenty of work.
Retail is a vast industry, and as generations follow demands change and innovation is always necessary, so there's a large probability that what you are offering is needed in a particular area.
I have gathered this quick guide to take you through the most important details when it comes to opening a small business, in this case a retail store.
As a professional branding & design consultant I have helped numerous entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life, and so far the most important trait for success is having a genuine passion to drive your business. That alone will open many doors, but here's the scoop on what you'll need on a practical level:
A Solid Business Idea
There are many variants for retail businesses, you must have a clear plan for yours; Are you coming up with your own store concept, or will you be acquiring an already established franchise? Have you determined the range of your products and services? If you're not too sure this article might help.
- Location, Location, Location
It is essential to know where your customers are, and that your store is easy to find. Also make sure that your new store is visibly different than any competing businesses in the area. This article explains it very well.
- Inventory, Pricing & Distribution
Your business depends on offering the right products and/or services, at the right prices. Therefore, it is paramount to the success of your store to source products adequately. Find the ideal wholesale vendors and establish direct partnerships, making sure that they will provide the proper support to handle any unforeseeable issues like handling defective products, and delivering merchandising on time.
Another important factor to your inventory's profitability is pricing, will these be competitive, above, or rather below the market? Always keep in mind that your prices must remain fair and ethical to maintain good business relationships with customers. This article explains it thoroughly.
The same is true for channel distribution, since omnichannel is a well grounded concept, you will need many ways to connect with customers; be it through an online store, catalog, or phone sales you must be aware that shoppers will expect to buy from you in multiple ways.
- Applicable Laws
Everywhere you go there will be specific laws ruling how people do business. Consult with a local government office to know which licenses and permits apply to your specific business. Also consider having a trusted Lawyer and Accountant to help you organize everything, and provide ongoing guidance throughout this journey. Here's a quick checklist of what you might need.
I'm not sure if the old saying that "the customer is always right" is true anymore, but one thing that I'm sure of is that your employees must be driven and inspired by your business, otherwise you will be risking loosing customers and potentially your precious store. Hire people who resonate with your business values, regardless of experience, it is easier to teach someone about your products and services than to change someone's perception about life. This guide gives you great tips on how to hire long lasting employees.
- The Customer Experience
I started our last post stating how "retail is going through a massive shift" and how dependable stores are in providing the right experience to maintain customers coming back. This will be the most important factor in shaping your business strategy. Millennials have been increasingly taking over the spending power in the larger economy, and their shopping behavior is significantly different than previous generations, the same can be said about the following Generation (GenZ). Here is an interesting article on Forbes on how to market to these two.
- Hype & Marketing
This is about attracting the desired customer base to step inside your store. By knowing exactly who your shoppers are you can get a better idea about where and how to find them. You should have a solid and creative marketing strategy way before your store is ready for business. Begin to create expectations with a hype campaign sometime before opening, by sharing sneak peeks of your products and culture. Take a look at how Glossier used social media to launch a super successful business.
- Soft Opening vs Grand Opening
A soft opening is a tactic that allows you to open for business quietly and fine tune your store before it is officially open. It gives you and your employees precious training time to rehearse roles and feel more confident, and for you to test and tweak processes and concepts, and generate buzz for your new store.
Once you're ready for the grand opening remember that old saying about first impressions, this will be your big chance to impress shoppers and inspire them to keep coming back and say positive things about your store. See this 5 steps guide to a great grand opening.
I hope that this quick guide takes you on the right path towards opening your dream store. Remember that at United Store Fixtures, we have great solutions at the most competitive prices to help you set up your new store.