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  • 5 Tips for Starting a Retail Store

    5 Tips for Starting a Retail Store

    Owning a successful retail store is a dream shared by many. The retail industry offers excellent business opportunities for those who want to be part of a huge segment of the economy. Almost a third of all businesses launched in U.S are retail operations, but if you’re considering starting a retail store, there are many things you need to know. Here are a few tips on how to start a retail store.

    Research the Retail Market and Competitors

    A vital step when starting a retail store involves sizing up your market, competitors, and ultimately knowing whether your vision has a place in your market. Many retailers now start out online and test their theories with a lot less risk, and eventually move into a physical location. If you can gather specific market data from research firms, websites, and other sources, it will help you answer these important questions:

    • How large is your local (brick and mortar) consumer market?
    • Have you identified a niche or growing trend?
    • Do you have a great location in mind?
    • Can you get people into your store?
       By identifying a strong customer base that needs a style like yours, you can quickly gain attraction and have a much better success rate. It’s not always about the style, but that’s the key component here outside of the store location. Know your competitors and how they operate, identify their weaknesses and capitalize on them. Visit a competitor’s store to check their merchandise, their staff, and marketing efforts as part of learning how to start a retail store and how to differentiate yourself. When starting a retail store, plan how you can improve and be unique from your competitors around you. Analyze your business plan and determine a course of action for your strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and potential business threats.

    Choose the Right Location

    Using the demographics you have, create a small list of potential towns, cities, or growing neighborhoods to setup your retail store. Use available tools like Storefront or Craigslist to find available space. Contact the agents or owners of business space you’ve identified and arrange viewing and inspection. Go over the lease, ask questions, and conduct negotiations if need be. Always ask for a TI (tenant improvement budget). Negotiations are key here. Being in a mall or minimall is not always the best choice. Use your instinct any local knowledge to find a location that will be a hot spot in the future. It may not look glamorous today, but if it’s an area that is becoming trendy, keep a keen eye on it. You might get a great deal and it will ease some of the financial stress, plus you will be right where you need to be and when you are ready to serious growth. If a brick-and-mortar retail space isn’t part of your business plan yet, launching a website through an eCommerce platform is very important. Finding the right domain name, choosing an appropriate platform, and optimizing your website for users and search engines is crucial.

    Plan your Finances

    Figure out the finances you need to start your retail store. Include all your startup and overhead expenses like:

    • Rent and retail operations
    • Property and retail store customizations or improvements
    • Technology and communication
    • Inventory
    • Branding and marketing
    • Licenses, business registration, taxes and permits
    You should also decide how you’re going to finance your retail store. You can tap into your personal savings, assets, get a bank loan, get funds from friends or family, use credit cards, or even submit a proposal to an investor for help. Financially, this can be a tough business, so don’t over extend if your aren’t prepared. Do what you can, to get tenant improvements worked into your lease. Also, don’t get trapped into buying everything new. Some of the coolest and most successful stores follow the keep it simple and cool method. You will be a target for many businesses trying to sell you on their ideas. The moment you sign a lease, they will start contacting you for security systems, payment processing, audio video systems and so much more. If you have a good plan, focus on your plan and don’t let other derail it. Prepare all documents needed for your chosen funding option and find ways to lower startup costs.

    Hire the Right Team

    From the people who set up the retail store for you to the people you decide to hire, you need to pick a professional team that you can count on. There are a few things you should do:

    • Have an assessment list of your own
    • Contact your professional or personal contacts for prospects
    • Evaluate applications/resumes and check their social media
    • Interview qualified candidates (phone and then physical meetings)
    • Pick a personality that you love, plus has good experience. Experience is NOT everything.
     Note: Personalities are what you will be managing, not experience. Working with the right team saves you a lot of stress when starting a retail store.

    Choosing Technology for Your Retail Store

    Learning how to start a retail store takes more than just learning the process itself. You need to choose the right technology for your brick and mortar store to ensure seamless operations. In today’s modern business world, efficiency is directly connected to the reliability of the technology that supports business. For instance, choosing a reliable POS system that focuses on your type of business will simplify your operations and relieve a lot of future stress. Quetzal POS offers a simple and modern cloud-based iPad POS system that’s designed for specialty retail stores. It comes with a wide range of unique features that work well for small business owners who want to take their retail business to the next level. Enjoy great features including:

    • Integrated eCommerce
    • Integration accounting (Quickbooks or Xero)
    • Online, offline and slow internet access
    • Customer and employee management
    • Inventory and sales management
    • Integrated payments with many processors
    • Reports and analytics
    • Simplicity like no other

    Get Started Today!

    Starting a retail store? Take our top five tips into consideration before diving in head first. At Quetzal POS, we’re familiar with how small and medium sized businesses operate, as we offer a dependable point of sale solution with the right tools needed to run and manage a retail store effectively.Reach out to us at 866-927-3304 for more information today!