Retail sales in Canada are increasing after a period of uncertainty, which is likely to give fresh hope to aspiring entrepreneurs. If you are thinking about setting up a retail business, it’s essential to try and give yourself the best shot at success. In this guide, we’ll discuss what it takes to launch a successful retail venture.
Understanding the process
TV shows can often present a rose-tinted vision of what it’s like to establish a business. In reality, it’s not possible to create a company overnight or start generating huge orders by designing a website and printing off business cards. There are legal processes involved and it takes a lot of planning to get a company off the ground and start trading. If you’re looking to launch a retail business, it’s essential to understand the processes involved and work through a checklist to make sure that you have covered everything. You can seek advice from a qualified company formation business such as 1st Formations and contact legal experts for assistance with copyrighting, patenting and employment contracts. Running a business of any kind is hard work, and it often involves long hours and juggling multiple balls at the same time. If you’re prepared for what’s ahead, you stand a better chance of beating the odds.
Researching and finding your niche
Research is essential for all aspiring entrepreneurs. Analyze the market, read articles about consumer trends and shopping and buying habits and think about what you want to sell, how you’re going to sell products and what kinds of customers you’re looking to attract. Define an ideal buyer, monitor your competitors and get to know your target customer. Use questionnaires and surveys, organize focus groups and take advantage of analytics and data to get an accurate insight into buying patterns and behavior. Use the findings of your research to shape your marketing campaigns, your pricing strategy and the ways you interact and engage with prospective customers. Look for gaps in the market and think about how you can set your business apart. If you can find a niche or you have a spectacular USP, this will help you distinguish your brand from others.
One of the most critical questions to answer when drawing up a business plan for a retail company is ‘How are you going to reach customers?’ Whether you have an online store, a physical shop or both, it’s crucial to consider how you’re going to attract attention and bring shoppers to you. Having an online presence is hugely beneficial, even if you don’t sell products via your website. You can target local customers looking for products that are similar to those you sell and provide more information about your brand, what you offer and why you’re different from others. Local searches now account for around half of online searches, and over 80% of smartphone users will either visit or contact a store within 24 hours of using a search engine to find a local business.
Building a client base
If you are ready to open, or you’re counting down the days until your website goes live, it’s time to utilize marketing techniques to drum up interest and build anticipation. Use social media to engage with new customers and encourage people to follow your pages by hosting competitions and offering incentives for people who share your posts and tag friends, use email lists to establish contact networks, invite the local press to cover the story and use SEO to drive traffic to your website. If you are opening a physical store, organizing an event is a great idea to create a buzz around your brand. You can stream the event live online or post photographs and videos after the event to connect with followers and shoppers who couldn’t attend and showcase your products.
If you’re not experienced in marketing, and you don’t have marketing experts on your staff team, it’s beneficial to consider outsourcing digital marketing. Working with an external agency will enable you to implement targeted campaigns, which will generate leads, enhance your brand profile, drive online traffic and increase sales. Look for companies that have experience in working with retail businesses and industry expertise and compare offers and view examples of work before you make a decision. It’s advisable to go with an agency that has an excellent track record and offers bespoke services and value for money.
The retail industry is recovering and this is likely to spark an increase in the number of new companies. If you dream of running your own store or e-commerce venture, it’s essential to understand what is required to launch a successful retail business.