5 Important Things To Consider Before Opening A Retail Store
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many businesses to focus on their eCommerce offerings. And there’s been a massive rise in small start-ups online thanks to a loss of jobs. So in today’s digital age, it may seem crazy to consider opening up a real-life retail store.
But it could just be the stroke of genius that sets you apart from the crowd. Same-day deliveries offered by online retailers indeed give them an edge, but it doesn’t rule your little store out. Retail isn’t dying; it’s undergoing a transformation. It’s all about having the proper structure from the start, knowing your customer base like they’re an old family friend, and having powerful tools on hand to help.
Here, you’ll find 5 things to wrap your head around before venturing into retail life. And you’ll leave will all the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.
- The Location
Location is essential, no matter what building you’re looking at renting or buying. It’s particularly significant for a retail store because it’ll dictate what daily footfall you can achieve. So when you go searching for the right property, aim for a building on a busy street surrounded by well-established brands. That way, you know customers already make the journey to see them, and you can capitalize on their footfall. When you’ve chosen the perfect street, have a look at what you’re close to. If you’re near a sewer or septic system, you may have visits from vacuum trucks. I know what you’re thinking. What is a vacuum truck? Essentially they’re large vehicles used by environmental services to clean up large-scale liquid and sludge clean up.
You’ll also need to be sure the size of the property is suitable. Does it fit everything it needs to fit? And is there room for expansion? If it doesn’t grow with you, you’ll have to change premises, which isn’t always great for establishing long-standing customer relationships.
- Have A Clear Business Plan
Having a business plan is integral to any business. And having one for opening a retail store is no different. First stop; define your companies vision. You’ll want to know your core business values because this helps you determine your customer base because they’ll have the same values as you. Remember to study the competition. If there are businesses like yours, what sets you apart from them?
And most importantly, what’s your timeline for becoming profitable? Use data you’ve collected and don’t over anticipate your success. It’s great to be confident, but you want to be realistic too. It’s always better to undersell and bet targets than over anticipate and never hit your budget.
So your business plan is a roadmap. It’ll help you identify goals and what needs to happen for you to achieve them. Having that framework in place at the start will enable your business to grow into the future.
- Pick A Business Name
Your company name is the initial thing customers interact with. So it needs to give them an idea of what they can expect from you and reflect your brand identity. Then once you’ve got the perfect name, you need to check that it isn’t already in use or trademarked.
It’s also worth checking if the web domain and social media handles are available to use too. There’s nothing worse than selecting the perfect name, trademarking it, and putting it to use, only to find that you can’t have a matching Twitter handle. So if it’s available, claim it quickly online and on social media. Then you can sort out all the legal stuff without worrying whether it’ll be available when you’re done.
- Have The Right Permits
Always check the licensing and permit requirements you’ll need for your business. It’s not a fun job, but it’s absolutely essential. Opening up without all the proper paperwork and you could face some hefty fines.
- If you’re in the US, you’ll need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). This is essentially a social security number for your company, and they’re pretty easy to get.
- You may need a local license. And since every State has its own specifications for a business license, you’ll have to check with each local agency for which ones you’ll need.
- You’ll need a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) because you’re opening a physical store. It basically ensures that the building you’re in is up to code and is safe to have employees and customers in it.
- Don’t forget your seller’s permit. This means you’ll be able to sell products in your State and recognizes you as someone that collects sales tax.
- Have The Right Tools
Any business needs the right tools to get started. The first stop for a retail store is selecting a retail point of sale (POS) system. Thanks to modern technology, you can get state-of-the-art ones that are connected to the cloud. The system allows you to process transactions and collect data on footfall and buying trends to improve your business strategy. It also allows you to manage inventory, manage employees, and gives you advanced reporting capabilities.
To be able to take credit card payments at your register, you’ll need a payment processor. They’ll likely take a small fee for their services, so hunt around for one that works best for you long-term.
With COVID changing the way people shop and safety requirements, it’s worth thinking about equipment that will future-proof your store. So think screen-guards, sanitation stations, contactless payments, and even being able to process mobile payments. Having the right tools will stand you in good stead to succeed and have a long career in retail.
Categories: Outside Contributors