Challenges When Opening a Retail Outlet
As with starting any type of business, shop and retail outlet owners will find that there are many different challenges to be faced when opening up a shop; from picking the right location to providing a desirable retail experience to employing the best members of staff for the business.
Retail is one of the largest industries in the UK, with studies showing a whopping 2.9 million people worked within the sector in 2018. Whilst the increasing popularity of online shopping has raised concerns over the future of retail and in particular, high street shops, campaigns such as Small Business Saturday are helping consumers become more aware of their role in promoting local, offline, traditional businesses.
Offline and high street shops and retailers are therefore still very much a valued sector within local communities and the wider economy and when run well and with some longevity, can provide customers with unique shopping experiences. Some of the main challenges people face when trying to open up their own shop:
- Finding the ideal location
- Ensuring all insurance and licenses are completed
- Developing an effective shop design/layout
- Hiring the correct members of staff
By taking the time to ensure that these factors are properly achieved, shop owners can help to make the process of opening their business as hassle-free as possible, making for an overall successful retailer.
Finding the Right Retail Location
The location of a retailer or other shop is vital to its success. When deciding upon the location of the shop, thorough research into potential areas should be conducted. Footfall should also be strongly considered, as a retail business on the high street by its very nature requires passing trade to entice.
One of the main things to factor in when finding a location should be the neighbourhood’s population. People looking to set up a shop should almost always try to set up in a busy location with lots of potential customers walking past.
Setting up in a busy location not only helps to boost the shop’s visibility, it also makes it more accessible to customers. For those wanting to set up a shop in a remote area, there will have to be a justifiable reason for this, making customers want to travel out of their way to visit the shop.
Is There Demand for the Retailer in the Area?
For those opening a shop will also have to consider whether the area has a wider demand, even a need for their business. For example, a shop selling surfboards would struggle to get business in a landlocked area. Researching the types of consumers that are usually within a given area can help people to determine whether setting up shop in a certain location would be successful.
Shop owners should also research competitors, and how well established they are within a given location. Regardless of whether an area has high demand for a certain shop, if there is already an established competitor catering to these demands, the area may not be a lucrative place to set up shop.
Ensuring Insurance and Licenses are Taken Care of
Another challenge that can come when opening a shop is ensuring that the business adheres to all relevant regulations, and holds all the necessary licenses. For example, shops will have to ensure that their business complies with acts such as:
- Sale of Goods Act
- Sale and Supply of Goods
- Supply of Goods and Services Act
These, along with other applicable laws and legislation, can and should be updated as the years go on and the retail business grows and develops. Therefore, as well as adhering to the current rules and regulations surrounding a shop, owners will also have to ensure the shop is always up to date, and abiding by the latest acts and regulations.
Developing an Effective Retail Design and Layout
The physical design and layout is always another major challenge faced when opening a shop of any nature. The design of a shop is vital for effectively showcasing the business’s products and services. Additionally, this design must also be aesthetically pleasing, and attractive to a shop’s target audience.
The design of a shop is a major contributor to the business’s identity, and the image it projects out to passing consumers, hence, hiring a retail design agency and experts is often one of the first ports of call for anyone starting a business on the high street. It is important to ensure that the layout of the shop is effective and the overall design is inviting to potential as well as existing customers.
Many shops have designs that become very much about the brand’s identity; bearing unique features that can help to boost visibility both online (via “insta-worthy” shops) and offline through word of mouth within the community.
Hiring the Best Retail Staff
Along with the design of the shop, the members of staff which work in the business and who will make the business tick are a key feature in the presentation and identity of the business. Hiring the right members of staff can be a challenge; trying to employ people who both understand and promote the ethos of the business.
When advertising for employees, it can be useful to provide a quick synopsis about the business, and the type of staff the business wants and needs as well as conducting trial runs with potential employees on probation periods to see how they fit in with the shop.
Ensuring that proper attention is paid to these issues can help to alleviate the challenges they pose to a business, ensuring a new shop is fully prepared for its opening.