The retail business is hard. One third of new companies close within two years of opening; 50% of new companies fail within five years. Retailers know it: it takes a lot of work to keep a company alive and thriving. Sometimes, though, hard work is not enough. We have analyzed successful retail companies, and drawn some valuable lessons. Read on to find out what you need to do to create a successful retail concept:
Have a unique value proposition
Study the strategies of existing retail companies. Identify a target group whose needs are not being met, and connect to this segment by creating a clear offering that fills the void. Remember to keep the quality high: even if you are the only one providing a given service, customers will not stick by you if they feel your product or your service are not on par.
Create a business plan
A great idea does not guarantee profit. Before launching a new business venture, make sure that it is feasible. Analyze all possible costs and draw up revenue scenarios. Remember that the first few months you will have little to no income; plan accordingly. Draw up a business plan, and practice your pitch even if you don’t (yet) need external investors. A good business pitch will help you by making you aware of possible pitfalls, and by increasing your confidence about the business.
Track your performance
Once your business has taken off, keep a close watch on your key data. Monitor and understand the information and product flow; set key performance indicators (KPIs), and make sure your performance is always on track. With the help of your management system’s reporting features you can keep a close eye on the live pulse of your business.
Create a dynamic retail concept that can easily evolve with time. Encourage feedback from your staff and customers, and be open to suggestions. Remember that successful retail concepts are a work in progress, and require constant tweaks. Experiment and innovate: this is the secret to staying fresh, and popular. Retail is always evolving, and so should you.
Invest in your staff
Your staff members are the faces of your brand. They shape the retail experience for your customers, and can drive customers through the door – or, in the worst cases, out of them. Create a strong work culture, and make sure your staff feels part of it. Beware staff’s disengagement – it can have a strong impact on store standards. Make sure you provide constant training to ensure that your employees are always knowledgeable about products and offers. Empower them with essential tech, like mobile POS which can be used to offer better service in-store by looking up customer and product data.
Integrate your channels
Create a seamless shopping environment across the channels, so that your customers can have a consistent brand experience - no matter if they choose to interact with you online, via mobile or offline. Incorporate the online experience into the brick-and-mortar store through digitization and by offering features such as click and collect.
Even at the beginning of your retail adventure, think big: will you be able to reproduce your retail concept in other locations? Is your business easily scalable? Ensure reproducibility: make sure your design does not limit you, and that the brand can be easily adapted to different geographies. What do you think? Anything that you would like to add to this list?