Getting started in business is always a challenge for any budding entrepreneur. But starting up a retail store might be just that little bit trickier. A couple of decades ago, this was the preferred route for startups. A shop front somewhere with high visibility and footfall was ideal. From there you could sell your goods and services and expect to make a fair living.
Times have changed. Now retail is in crisis, and the shopping world has moved online. Here, the stores are open twenty-four hours a day. Every customer is treated with the same respect. There are no queues, and no need to change out of your pajamas! It’s convenient, and it’s easy. So why would a startup choose to start up in a retail outlet these days?
There is a lot to be said for that personal attention you can get in a store when you’re not sure of your options. And there is a lot to be said for the personable approach from staff when you’re a regular customer there. Human contact will always be important. And if your business is in the hospitality sector, fashion, or food sales, there will always be a customer base that prefers to come in to store.
There are a few financial and legal implications of having a physical store instead of just an online one. For a start, you need to make sure your premises are safe for you, your workers, and your customers. You will be bound by local trading hours restrictions. Returns for goods sold are governed by different laws and regulations too. You might find that these are easier to work with than the stricter distance selling rules for online stores.
Of course, your store must be staffed during opening hours. You might need a security guard too. You’ll definitely need a cleaning team to ensure your premises are safe and hygienic. Aside from recruitment costs, you’ll also have rent and utility bills to pay for your premises. There will be taxes and insurance to cover in excess of what you might experience with an online business. Some outlets can only be rented if you are a fully registered business instead of just self-employed.
You might find you are handling a lot of cash as a retailer. You will also need card readers to take plastic transactions. Have a look at blogs like merchants.services to see what your options are here. You might need a wireless device if you have a large store or restaurant.
Buying is thought to be easier when you have the product in front of you. Customer behaviors are often very different in store than online. Much more research is put into an online purchase. Part of that research is about your business as customers try to build up trust in you. Then there is the price research. Chances are a cheaper offer will win the sale. When the product is there in front of them, customers are less likely to walk away.
Startups often choose an online strategy for their business but don’t disregard a retail outlet completely. Customers will still choose to see a product before buying in many cases. Would you start up in retail?