Sunday, March 26, 2023

How to Succeed with Small Retail?

You might have this vision of running a small jewellery store or selling handicrafts that you make all by yourself; there’s a million things that you can bring to the table, but not everything works with traditional bricks and mortar retail. The rise of e-commerce has changed the retail landscape and while trying to compete with online stores, the pandemic arrived and shut down small stores for extended periods. Simply put, you need to have the right product/service to even stand a chance of surviving in this highly competitive arena.

Location is everything

You should already know that your store location is critical and anything less than ideal should not be considered. If you are going to be in a shopping mall, spend a day walking around; note the type of people who shop and what they are buying. Do you see other competing stores? If so, what are you offering that they are not? If, for example, you are selling stationery and art supplies, then you want to be close to schools, colleges and universities, while a hair salon should be in an area where people walk past. Whatever you are selling, check out and fully research your competition and make sure you have a much better package to offer the shopper.

Risk assessment

It is vital to do this at the planning stage; you can find tailored retail store insurance from an online insurer and that covers you for a wide range of scenarios:

  • General liability
  • Store cover 
  • Stock and inventory
  • Commercial vehicle

The last thing you want is an unhappy customer or to lose your stock in a fire; taking out tailored insurance protects the business and with online insurers, you have instant cover.

Store front & signage

You need to create a store front that catches the eye; neon is a great material for arty, handwritten signage and your window dressing needs to be top-notch. Of course, the front design needs to be in keeping with the in-store décor and be prepared to spend on this aspect of the business. First impressions do count and if you can create a warm and inviting ambience, you are halfway there.

In-store ambience

The shopping experience needs to be something special; talk to a shop fitout contractor about your vision; in-store décor is not something you can skimp, not if you want the shopper to feel good inside your store. If you don’t have a concept in mind, talk to the fitout crew, who can show you 100s of previous project images, which might give you the inspiration you need. Here are a few ways to enhance retail boxes, which might make all the difference.

Digital marketing

Don’t rely on passing traffic, you need a focused digital marketing plan that leads to a successful grand opening; social media is the perfect marketing platform for your store; hook up with a digital marketing agency who can create rich content and place it on all the right social media platforms. Forget about banning cameras in your store; encourage shoppers to take shots with features in the background, as these images are posted on FB pages, which all their friends will see. Come up with creative promotions and do a Facebook livestream; if you’re the outgoing type, feature in all the videos and write a script. Imagine what it would do for your store if a Tik-Tok video went viral!

Hold minimum stock

This should be your initial policy, at least until you find out what sells and what doesn’t; you might be able to stock your store on a 90-day credit basis, it depends on what you are selling. But don’t invest all your money in stock at the very outset, as this might come back and bite you.

The retail industry in the US is constantly changing and it is becoming tougher to carve out a market share; some would say bricks-and-mortar retail is not a good place to be in 2022, yet fortune favors the brave and if you think you have a winning formula, plan your launch and carry out the necessary market research.