Starting a new retail business means learning your industry inside out. Some factors are essential for your store to succeed, such as building a good marketing plan, knowing your target audience and deciding on whether you want to open a brick and mortar store versus an online shop.
Traditional vs. Online
Modern retail businesses are not just stores that you find on maps. The last decade has led to increases in online eCommerce stores on various platforms and individual websites. When you make the decision to set up a retail business, it’s your responsibility to decide if it’s more profitable to sell in a store or online. Overall, there are both pros and cons to each type of business.
An online business is more affordable because you avoid paying commercial rent for a store building, warehouse and all of the equipment needed to run the store. However, an online business can cost more to market because you have more competition since the internet is far-reaching. There are thousands of retail brands that operate online, and they’re all competing for the same audiences.
A traditional business can be profitable, but it can also be slow at times. There are some days that customers may not visit your store, and no customers means no money coming in. Where online, you may not have visitors, but an effective marketing plan can drive them to your site in droves.
Managers should learn how to ship retail goods effectively, especially if you’re shipping out large wholesale orders. Using the wrong company can lead to increased frustration and expenses that you don’t have available.
Freight shipping in particular can be very expensive. Getting instant freight quotes is necessary to compare different services. It takes only a few minutes to obtain a handful of quotes from a comparison site, but it could take hours to look through individual company websites.
Drop shipping allows a retailer to ship goods through a third party. This is recommended for a business that does not rent or own a place to store their inventory. A manufacturer, wholesaler or another seller ships the items to customers, relieving the retailer of the obligation.
Freight shipping is the movement of goods by land, air or sea. Use this method to accommodate your international customers. Many retail businesses use intermodal freight companies that combine one or more shipping methods.
Less than truckload (LTL) shipping involves the movement of small, lightweight freight. LTL shipping is used to make many local, daily shipments by truck. Similarly, parcel carriers ship items that weigh less than 150 pounds. They are trained to pack, transport and deliver small packages in delivery cars or trucks.
Invest In People or Software
If you work in a mortar store, really, you need to acquire great people and then great software. Your store won’t succeed without a team working for success. Benefits you offer them like insurance, flexible hours, or full on retirement plans and portfolio allocation help for your most important managers can help your store swim, not sink. Once you have the right leaders in place empower them with software to manage their inventory, employees, and sales. Once managers and workers start understanding the power of data and software the possibilities are endless.
The same goes for online, you’ll want to take advantage of having a decent website that users can benefit from. Have live chat in case customers have questions and an interactive site that’s easy to navigate as well as a complete checkout program for shoppers. User interface and design is critical for online sales conversions so be sure to do your homework or hire the right web development company to help you out.
Many businesses fail within the first five years of their operations. This is partly due to the owner’s lack of knowledge of starting the business. Prevent your retail store from failing before you even write the business plan. Know exactly what it takes to start a traditional or e-commerce retail store and succeed in the 21st century.