Whether you create your own crafts and personalized items or would like to offer your local customers a unique shopping experience, starting up a retail business can be challenging. You will have a lot of competition from online companies and small businesses, and you have to try your hardest to stand out from the crowd. You could stand out by offering superior customer service and unique design, and below you can find a few tips on how to get started.
You must choose your location carefully. Whether you are selling upcycled items or personalized gifts, you need to get noticed by your ideal customer. Before choosing your location, you will have to study the demographics. It might be a good idea to settle down for a day with your laptop in a nearby cafe and watch the foot traffic. This will give you a good indication on whether your target market walks through your street, or you have to find another location for your shop.
Image via Nicola Fioravanti
Once you are sure that you can put your offers and products in front of your customers, you have to pay attention by arranging them in a way that they capture the interest of people passing by. Create a logical store design that lets people move around without having to worry about damaging anything. Make it easy to see what you have on offer, and decide on a unique way of displaying information and prices. You can have small neon signs, screens, or handmade craft price tags.
When running a small shop, it is important to create an atmosphere that is both professional and inviting. You need to give your customers a reason to return, even if it is just for a chat or asking questions about the products. Branding your small shop may involve choosing a unique color scheme, displaying your logo across the shop, or adding great quotes. Alternatively, you can have a small reading corner to engage with your customers and make them feel welcome and not under pressure to buy from you.
You will also want to make your customers’ buying experience as easy as possible. You don’t want them to wait in the queue or find out that you only take cash. It might be a good idea to invest in payment processors and get a credit card swiper so you can complete transactions much faster. There are great solutions that work with your accounting system and save you time and money, so you don’t have to manually add each transaction.
Image via Geograph.ie
You will also have to make sure that you market your small shop through the exterior. If you have a shop window, you might want to decorate it in a unique and inspiring way. Adding your logo is a must, but you can do more. Invest in stop signs and neon displays that show people walking by why they should stop and check out what you have to offer.
Chances are that you can always get more sales if you are present on the internet. Even if you don’t plan to have an online shop yet, you will have to be present on every platform. Create a small business marketing plan utilizing the most effective methods. Register your business on GoogleMyBusiness, directories, and review sites. Create a Facebook and Twitter account, so you can connect with your local community and display your offers. This will allow you to target people living in your area know about the existence of your shop and get more customers.
One of the things many small startups don’t consider is app development. Before you start a business, you will have to evaluate the different channels you can use to communicate with your target market. Apps are fun, and allow you to send direct messages, promotions, and even invite people to check out your store and give you a review on various platforms. Developing your simple app costs less than you would think and can benefit your online marketing as well as your customers.
If you would like to survive on the high street, it is important that you think your business plan through carefully. Make sure that you are able to connect with your local market in various ways. Implement online and offline marketing, brand your shop, and get your offers in front of your target customers. Pay attention to design, unique style, and offer added value in the form of customer service or personalization.