Opening Your First Retail Store? Focus on These 5 Factors
Have you recently discovered your entrepreneurial spirit and feel the desire to establish your own business? Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of opening your first retail store?
No matter the product, service, or industry, certain factors must be considered to create retail success. After you’ve defined the legal and regulatory structure for your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, general partnership, etc.), here are the factors you need to consider before you open your doors to the public and welcome your first customer.
1. Location, location, location
A key starting point for opening up a brick-and-mortar store is finding the right location. Location is everything in a retail business. Your location determines foot traffic, leasing fees, and your brand’s sustainability.
The challenge in determining the right location for your retail store is how it plays with competitive factors. The ideal scenario is that your location is situated in a safe and secure area, with high footfall and little to no competition. Be sure to conduct a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your ideal location as well as any future opportunities it may present.
Securing financial capital is necessary to open your doors to the public. Unlike an e-commerce storefront, a retail store is a costly investment. There are certain things to consider when opening up your retail store, like signage, fixtures, inventory, hiring staff, point-of-sale equipment, security and maintenance of the premises.
Although sometimes overlooked in the budgeting initially, security is something that cannot be overemphasized. When looking at the costs of ensuring your staff, merchandise and store are safe overall, you will need to examine your area to check how the necessary locks and shutters can be seamlessly integrated into your overall store design. You will, then, need to inquire about commercial security solutions designed to keep your outlet safe from acts of burglary.
3. The role of your target market
Understanding your target market is key to ensuring success for your business. You should assess your store’s location and its proximity to your desired target audience. If your store is located in an environment with a small target market, your business model simply won’t succeed.
Marketing and promotions will also play a role in determining how your target market interacts with your brand. Before opening your doors, engage in some strategic marketing initiatives to spread the word about your first retail store. There are all kinds of ways to market your brand, from social media to print advertisement.
Keep things simple and use your marketing initiatives to build a community from your target market. This will create loyal advocates for your brand, encouraging further broadcasting of your retail storefront.
4. The importance of retail space planning
Your store layout serves many purposes. It can influence consumer behavior, provoke additional sales, and foster a positive shopping experience. Even the placement of your CCTV security cameras are crucial to deterring potential shoplifters, so a lot of time and planning should go into the execution of your retail space.
Costco is a good example for highlighting strategic retail space planning. No signs or maps throughout Costco’s retail stores can be found. This is purposely done to encourage customers to wander around and discover new products they didn’t even know they needed or wanted before entering the store.
5. Security matters
No matter the business, retailers are always targeted for theft. As theft is one of the greatest risks that any retailer can face, it’s important that you protect your store from any perceived vulnerabilities.
Here are several ways to protect your business from potential theft:
- Improve store lighting
- Think about merchandise placement (more expensive items should be placed next to the cash registers were they can be actively monitored by staff)
- Install security mirrors
- Educate your staff (carefully train them to understand and enforce security protocols)
- Install a bell (an old-fashioned yet effective way of indicating when someone is coming in or out of the store)
Retailers do not need to spend a fortune on security, and commercial security solutions vary according to the size of the retailer and its business needs. Some careful consideration will go a long way in protecting your business from being a target for theft.
Opening your first retail store can be an overwhelming experience. It’s hard work, so it’s important you take your time to plan all the necessary details for your new retail business to take off and remain a successful enterprise for years to come.
Michael Dunne created Safecell Security Ltd in 2001 and acquired Authorized Access in 2013. Michael has spent over 20 years in the security industry and specialises in the Design, Installation, Maintenance and Commissioning of electrical security systems such as Intruder Alarms, Fire Alarms, CCTV, Warden Control and Access Control and all Physical security including Key Cutting, Safe & Lock Picking, Suited Key Systems, Automated Barriers & Gates and Shutters, throughout the North West of England.