4 simple steps to open a winning physical store

You’ve been thinking about opening a shop for years, but horror stories about the failing high street and seemingly unstoppable consumer slowdown have been making you hit the pause button on turning your entrepreneurial fantasy into a reality.

Now there might finally be some positive news to brighten your day and push you into getting your dream startup going – and it’s all thanks to Amazon.

Amazon’s surprise retail move

Over the past year, the online retailer has been experimenting with bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences, trialling Amazon Go groceries and launching physical bookstores around the US (most recent in New York).

These ventures are an inspiring sign that the high street isn’t quite as dead as we feared, and we think it’s time to channel Amazon’s optimistic spirit into your business plan.

To give you even more of a push, we’ve put together a simple guide detailing all the important steps you’ll need to take as you open the doors to your first shop. Check it out.

#1: get the location right

Before you can do anything else, do some research to identify the perfect location for your new shop. Ideally, it’ll be conveniently situated for your customers (with nearby car parks and bus stops) and not be surrounded by too many competitors.

Whether you’re looking at shops to let in London or Glasgow, our top tip for ensuring you win the location lottery is to start the search using an online database like Shop Property.

You’ll be able to quickly browse available premises in a variety of places without having to waste time travelling to viewings.

#2: fit it out properly

Once you’ve signed a lease, you can get started with the fun part – putting your stamp on your new premises.

But before you fire in with a paintbrush, take a quick pause to really think about the atmosphere you’re trying to achieve. Whether you’re aiming for a luxury boutique shop or a vintage shabby chic café, identify the best colours and textures to help you create that vision.

To save money, do the basic decorating tasks (like freshening up the paintwork and hanging shelves) yourself and source used fixtures and fittings online (Gumtree always has a few bargains waiting to be snapped up).

#3: invest in the right technology

One of your biggest startups costs will undoubtedly be kitting out your new shop and giving your future staff all the tech they’ll need to provide stellar customer service.

From beacon technology to Apple Pay, there are lots of fancy tools designed to help you create a seamless in-store shopping experience for consumers, but don’t get ahead of yourself and attempt to buy it all at the same time.

Focus on the most important parts first (namely, the till and payment methods you’ll need to make sales) and then add new equipment as your profits increase.

#4: get loud about your grand opening

Finally, after those years of worrying, dithering and procrastinating, and the past few months of hard work, you’re ready to open the doors to your brand new shop.

But don’t just keep the good news to yourself.

Channel your excitement into a comprehensive marketing strategy (including social media posts and ads) and make sure everyone knows where you are, what time you’ll be opening and all about the amazing goods you’ve got on offer.

What do you make of Amazon’s high street adventures of late? Are you going to join them and open up your own store? Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts.

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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