In a world saturated with online businesses, it’s becoming a rare occurrence to take your business into physical premises and set up shop. However, if your business isn’t just to sell products; but you offer an in-person service, then it’s a necessity, and it’s vital you have everything in place before you open the doors on your new venture.
A physical store comes with its own challenges; however, you’ve totally got this, and with plenty of research and preparation, your store will create a buzz around town. Your aim is to be as inviting as possible so that you’ll have a steady stream of footfall, and attract plenty of customers who will return to your business.
The following are some ideas, advice, and inspiration for fresh entrepreneurs who are (almost) ready to open the doors to their first store, and are heading towards business success.
1. Targeted Audience
If your store offers excellent service, is a joy to be in, and has the ideal opening hours; then you’re already onto a winner. However, it’s important to focus on building and maintaining relationships with customers and the surrounding community of shops.
By getting to know who and what is available just outside the doors of your shop, you’ll be able to offer more help to people than just what you’re selling. In return, you’ll have loyal patrons, and other stores will be sending new ones your way.
It’s worth looking onto some unique and bespoke marketing ideas so that you can really target your chosen audience. Take a look here to discover some unusual and fun ways to get your brand and shop identity out into the public so that you can attract a crowd.
2. Physical Surroundings
Be careful when it comes to choosing your shop space, and think about how much room you’re going to need. If your business involves cooking and baking items, for example, you’ll need to consider if you want the kitchen space to be on view to the public or not.
Decide what you will need as a front of house area, and how much room you’ll need out the back for creation, services, and stock. An overly cramped space will be just as bad as an environment that feels vast, cold, and echoey.
Therefore, it’s worth considering your stock and visual merchandising ideas, before you’ve even gone to view a potential venue for your fledgling business.
3. Interior Design
Once you’re in your service space, walk in as a customer would; this will help you plan out where items should go, and where is best for a specific area. By carefully designing the store’s layout; you’ll be able to think about the customer experience, and also make every process, activity, and transaction as easy for yourself as possible.
It’s important to walk through and decide where visitors can sit and how they can best appreciate whatever service you’re provided them with. If you’re planning to run a beauty salon, you don’t want a patron who’s having a treatment to be sat next to the front door, where they’ll constantly be interrupted and disturbed.
For small retail interior design inspiration, have a look online and begin making your list of what steps to take next.
4. Tools And Equipment
Now you’ve planned your layout; you’ll want to source all your key equipment before you start to buy furniture or interior decorations. You’ll need to make the items that are imperative to your service a priority; therefore, investing in them is a smart choice.
If you need an industrial fridge for your culinary creations, or perhaps you’re running a repair shop and need machinery; it’s always worth researching into reputable manufacturers and being able to view their products before you buy. Stock-up on the little things that you’re going to use regularly; think about buying your bags and stationery in bulk.
And, only invest in larger items if you really need them; it’s not about showing off at this stage, it’s about creating a functional business that runs smoothly.
5. Easy Access
Aside from being simple to get through your front doors; you need to think about the opening hours of your business, and how accessible this makes you to your target customer.
Very often people tend to squeeze the treat of a service, like a manicure or a coffee and cake, into their evenings and weekends; so be mindful of when’s best to open to the public.
If you deal in bike or car repairs, a couple of late night or early morning opening hours would be of great use to those who need their mode of transport back as soon as possible to get to work.