Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all doom and gloom on the high street and there is still money to be made – if you do it right. The success stories standing proud on the high street are proof of this, and by learning from their blueprints your business can succeed too.
Lesson one: understand your target market
Understanding your customer is crucial and the products you stock must be relevant. There’s no point in trying to sell surround-sound systems to a town made up predominantly of pensioners, and there’s no point selling organic baby food in a student town. Once you know who you’re trying to target, you can think about location.
Lesson two: location, location, location
One of the most important things about setting up a retail business is the location of your store. By now you should have a good idea of the age range of your customer base, their lifestyle preferences and even gender. This should help you pick out a suitable location for your shop. Ensure you do your research and take note of the other stores in the area – these will be your competition.
Lesson three: retain your customers
Large retailers know all too well how important is to keep customers loyal (after all, it is far less expensive than attracting new ones) so once you have your customers, work hard to keep them. This needn’t be through an expensive loyalty card scheme, start off by sending them a free branded canvas bag, or invite loyal customers to a discount evening where stock is 10-20% off.
Lesson four: keep your brand consistent
Strong branding can make all the difference in retail. The more recognisable you are, the more consumers will invest. A good example of this is Ben & Jerry’s – their quirky, humorous underpinning and support of good causes is instantly recognisable and attractive to their target market. Keep your brand consistent by ensuring your logos and pantones are the same across all channels.
Lesson five: go online
Even if you aren’t planning to sell your stock online, setting up a website is an easy way to increase your presence and could increase custom. It is also worth exploring social media – it is essentially PR that doesn’t cost a thing. Look up some bigger brands in a similar area and see what they post/talk about.
If you are in the planning stages of launching a new business, it is worth getting your finances in order. Find out how an accountant could help by visiting our Starting a Business page.
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