5 Things To Consider Before Opening A Physical Store
If your online business has been relatively successful, then you’ve probably thought about opening a physical store somewhere. Most of the time, this means that you’ll get increased exposure, more foot traffic and you’ll end up with more business. But this isn’t always the case – especially if you consider the fact that opening a retail business comes with many challenges that are either overlooked or underestimated by budding entrepreneurs.
To help you combat the side effects of opening a physical store, we’ve put together a list of five things to consider before you open one.
- Understand the financial implications
Opening a store isn’t going to be cheap. It sounds obvious, but many eager business owners jump into the deep end when it comes to expanding their business and they quickly find that they’ll run out of capital before even being able to launch their store.
Speak with your financial advisor regarding your possible expansion so that you get a better understanding of the cost involved. Make sure you’re not skimping on any details and always have extra capital reserved for when you finally start your project. You’ll also want to speak with your accountant to get a rough estimate of how long it will take to gather enough capital in order to begin.
Aside from the obvious costs of opening a physical store, such as paying for construction, you’ll also need to consider the fact you may be hiring more employees. From store managers to employees or even a technical team, you will have extra salaries on your payroll. In addition, marketing costs won’t be cheap and you may need to spend extra money just to get enough exposure so people will actually pay attention to your store.
In short, there are many financial implications and they cannot be taken lightly if you want your store to be successful.
- Research the ideal location
Location is important when expanding to a physical store. You need to take certain things into consideration such as competitors in the local area and how much foot traffic you’ll get. It also depends on if you’ll be able to build more exposure in the area that you plan. Accessibility is also an issue. Being close to public transport is a major plus because it’s easier to reach and is exposed to more foot traffic.
To make things easier for yourself, it might be worth placing your store close to your current at-home work location or office. This will make it easier for you to travel to and from your office so you can check on your store’s progress. Being close to your current location also makes it more convenient for your current office staff to relocate, if needed.
- Decide what you’ll be selling
An online store can have an unlimited amount of stock, thanks to outside warehouses and easy-to-categorize web pages. However, a store is going to have a limited number of shelves and it will also have a limited storage room. If you have different products that you sell, then it’s worth double-checking what your most popular options are so that you can focus on selling those in your store.
On the other hand, what you sell will really depend on the items that you offer. For instance, clothing might not be a popular sale online because it’s hard to check on sizes and materials without experiencing them first-hand. Because of this, items that aren’t popular in your online store could be more popular in a physical location. It will take a bit of experimenting, but deciding what to sell is important to the success of your business.
- Learn how to attract foot traffic
Although online marketing shares similarities with attracting foot traffic, the tools you use to get exposure are completely different. Whether it’s using large banner flags to grab the attention of drivers and passing pedestrians or displaying large billboards, advertising to people around your store can be difficult to grasp at first. To make things a little easier, here are a couple of tips to help attract people to your store.
- Clean your store and don’t leave it a mess – An untidy store looks terrible and doesn’t attract people to your business. Make sure it’s cleaned up and tidy so that it looks inviting from the outside.
- Employ friendly staff that can keep busy – Rude or obnoxious staff should be removed as soon as possible. If you can, try and keep employees busy so that the inside of your store looks lively.
- Hand out samples or attract people inside – If you’re selling something like food or makeup that warrants samples, hand them out to people passing by and try to attract them to your store.
- Mix digital tools with your strategy – Even though you’ve opened a physical store that relies heavily on physical advertising methods, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use mapping services and online directories to expose your store.
- Let your existing customers know – Don’t forget to inform your existing customers about your new store opening.
With these five tips in mind, it should be much easier to attract foot traffic to your physical store.
- The risks vs the reward
Finally, make sure you consider the risks and rewards of opening up your own physical store. Between the extra work and complications, it’s important to remember that opening a store isn’t a one-way ticket to success.
If you believe that your current online business is struggling or not able to build up enough capital then pushing for a physical store is only going to make things worse. Make sure you have a stable business before even contemplating the possibility of opening a store as it could distract you from more important immediate matters.
With that said, opening up a physical location could be one of the smartest decisions you’ll make for your business, but it’s not something to take lightly and requires a lot of focus and attention to really make it work.