There is good money to be made in a retail business. Consumer power has increased in the modern world in the last few years, the economy is stabilizing, which all means people will have more money. However, you are neither the first nor the last person who understands this. The completion will be tough, and if you want to survive in this world, you need to be smart. For this reason, we suggest you don’t get right to opening a retail business guns a ’blazing, but rather, sit down, think things through. For these reasons, we have written up this little article that is supposed to direct you towards what you need to focus on.
First things first – if you want to go on a journey, you need to know where you’re going. Pretty obvious, right? For this reason, you need to set a mission statement. And no, putting “making oodles of money” is not enough. Rather, you need to have your mission reflect something a bit deeper. Or, at the very least, something added to “making oodles of money”. Perhaps it can be a purely personal achievement. Perhaps you want to provide your customers with the best experience possible. Or, perhaps, all you need and want is to help people, while still making a little money for yourself. This statement can guide you, keep you on track. It might even be your motto, like “Just do it”, or “don’t be evil”.
No matter what kind of retail store you opened, you can count on facing serious competition. No matter the type of product or service, there is always someone out there offering the same thing. For this reason, we suggest you find a way to stand out, to create an identity. And in order to do so, you have to decide who you want to be.
So, are you gonna be family friendly oriented, or a bit edgier? Do you want to nurture a nice, traditional mom and pop feel, or would you rather be all about style, elegance, and professionalism? Now, of course, this is somewhat dictated by the products you offer, but there is always room for customization. Just try to go with what is natural to you.
You can have the best mission statement, be as unique as you can be, and have the most efficient and brand-heavy store possible. However, that is all worthless if you don’t get the basics down. Things like, for example, being at the right location. A perfect retail store won’t be of much use if it’s located 20 miles away from the nearest city, or, worse, in some dark and dangerous part of town. Another issue could simply be that you don’t have the right tools.
An inefficient warehouse is not good news for any retail store. You want the right gear, like good pallet jacks, sturdy maintenance trolleys, forklifts… Basically getting stuff outside of your warehouse and into your store as quickly as possible. You also need to maintain proper logistics and communication with your suppliers and just try to keep things running as smoothly as possible. And on that note…
In order to run a successful retail business, you need to understand that efficiency is key. Everything and anything, from how you store your products, to the way your aisles are shelves are set up is important. Things like signs, for example, are supposed to help customers navigate your store. However, they have the added function and benefits of also carrying extra information, like what’s on sale, or info on membership cards. No detail is too small.
You want people to be able to navigate your store efficiently, while still feeling welcome, and allowing them to browse. This is more of an art than it is a science, and you should give it as much thought as you can.
Building your brand is not just doing marketing. It’s about making a name for yourself, about having people know who you are, and know instantly who you are and what your store stands for. Building a good brand means that when people hear the name of your store, they have a visceral reaction, they have images of respect and quality in their minds just pop in.
However, this isn’t just about products. If people know how you manage young people, how you lead your store, it will improve (or damage) your reputation. It’s about you treating people properly, about being a good boss and about being part of the community.
We suggest you communicate as much as you can with people. Talk to them over social media, hand out flyers around town, being seen is a must. Sponsor a local children’s sports team, donate to the school, have part of your profits go to the right place at the right time. People will appreciate it, and will make you feel part of something.
And there you have it folks, a couple of things you need to know before you open up your retail business. Work on your brand, become part of the community. Logistics and efficiency are key to success, but so is getting the basics down perfectly. Try to stay, and be, unique, and have a plan and a goal.