Do you own a retail shop? Do you know you can run your shop profitably than you are doing? If you have low sales, you can change that today. Because 80 per cent of customers still patronise retail shop owners and not buy online. That is a huge percentage of customers to help grow your business. But do you know how best to attract those foot customers into your shop?
It may surprise you that over 100 million Nigerians are not online. That means they can’t shop online either. Even though we promote internet businesses that much, it doesn’t imply that everyone is now online. Ndubuisi Ekekwe’s analysis on Tekedia blog will explain it better.
You can make money running a retail shop. The advantage the internet has it the ability to reach customers faster. And you can learn how to tap into that to also drive foot traffic to your shop.
If you are running a shop, don’t you think it’s better to do it profitably? I know you pay shop rent annually. You also pay local government levies, plus electricity bill, etcetera. You need to learn ways to maximise your shop profitability. And if you plan to start a retail shop of your own, this guide will help you as well.
According to the Business Dictionary, a retail shop is a store that sells smaller quantities of products or services to the public. A business that operates as a retail outlet will typically buy goods directly from manufacturers or wholesale suppliers at a volume discount and will then mark them up in price for sale to end consumers.
The retail shop is the actual sales environment. If you don’t enjoy sales, then the reason for having one is defeated. Your shop should be optimised for sales. And you should take advantage of opportunities in your industry to also maximise your sales.
The most significant advantage of a retail shop is the direct interaction with the end users. It gives you insight into what customers want, how they want it and how much they are willing to pay for it. This information is what makes companies fail or succeed. That means your retail shop should be successful if you take advantage of your positioning in the marketplace.
Steps to Open a Retail Shop
To make your shop stand out and give the best services to earn you more profit, you have to set out with a good plan from the start. Don’t make the mistake of starting like the ‘Alaba boys’. Unless you don’t have the required capital, you can jumpstart. But if you have the money to start, don’t cut corners, it doesn’t always work out well.
Here are some ideas you can work with to start your retail shop profitably.
1. Register your retail shop
2. Find a proper shop name.
3. File for a TIN number with FIRS
4. Choose your products or services.
5. Determine your channels to reach customers, like online.
6. Obtain necessary retail permits.
7. Define what Customer Experience to offer
8. Write a Business Plan.
9. Find the best shop location
10. Buy into product dealership
11. Define your store policy
12. Have a marketing plan
13. Employ and train your workers
How does Retail Work?
Having an understanding of retail shop already gives you an idea of how retail works. The manufacturer sells products to the wholesaler or directly to the retailer, who in turn sells to the last consumer in small quantities.
A retail shop is not the same as a supermarket. In most retail shops the customers don’t pick up things by themselves. The retailers find what the customer asks for and the buyer pays.
There are various ways a consumer can buy goods from the retailer. Let’s just look at only counter service which is helpful to Nigerian retail shop idea.
Retail Counter Service
The buyer does not have easy access to the merchandise of the store, and he can’t pick up things on his own. In such a method the buyer walks up to the counter and ask for his requirements. Examples include Jewelry Store and chemist shop. And in Nigeria, several shops fall into this category.
One needs to walk up to the counter, ask for a product from the retailer and it will be given to you. This system works mostly in all retail shops, excerpt supermarkets.
How to Improve Retail Shop
No matter what the size of your retail business, know the keys to running it successfully. You have to understand what’s vital to retail shop success. There are little things that would make so much difference between your failure and success,
Research: Always do the research first to make sure you have a market for what you have to offer. That a product is selling elsewhere doesn’t mean it will sell at your location. Find out what the product is used for and why customers are buying it. If it applies to your area or customers, then go for it.
Advertise: You can’t succeed in any business without advertising. The best way to understand advertising is to relate it with traffic. Adverts bring traffic of customers to your shop. If you want to enjoy customer traffic, you must learn the best ways to advertise your retail shop. And because you need-walk-in customers, only apply marketing that drives foot customers to your shop.
Repeat Business: A retail shop needs customers coming back again and again. This should be your focus from day one. Seek to make customers and not just sell products. If possible, collect your customer’s phone numbers and birthdays. And you can ask for birthdays of every member of the family and celebrate with them each time. Sharing the most important days of their lives will win their hearts and keep them as your customers.
Employees Welfare: And don’t neglect your employees. Treat them like family. They are the most critical part of your business growth and security. Find ways to make them feel important and needed. And remember to appreciate them in any little way you can. And also hire only the kind of employee you love to have around.
Cost of Running Retail Shop
You have to look at it from the following areas:
1. Shop rental and utilities
2. Renovation and fixtures
4. Store equipment and administrative costs
5. Marketing and customer relations
The average estimate of starting a standard retail shop is between N700,000 to N18 million, depending on the capacity and location. However, you have to put several of the above-listed factors into consideration. It can be lower or higher than these estimates. But you also have to research your shop requirements when starting a retail shop It’s from those findings you can make startup budget and understand your operating cost requirements.
Retail Shop Near Me
Most customers would easily make choice of shopping at the retail shop near them. You have to prepare to tap into those near me shoppers. You might ask how does that help me sell more?
By optimising as a retail shop near me, you give online customers who live around you the opportunity to discover your shop on Google local search. When people search for a product online, Google is likely to show them an offline shop if there is anyone around them optimised on Google.
You can beat your competitors by optimising your products on Google local search. And it doesn’t need you to have a website. But when people find you in Google search, it will direct them to your shop. And Google also helps you keep track of customers who visit your shop from Google search.
Action Points On Retail Shop
Do you know what you should do? I have outlined four steps you should take if you have not already done that. However, you should only do what suits your location or kind of retail shop. And don’t be in a hurry to adopt strategies without testing it out on a small scale first.
Step One: Locate Where There is Foot Traffic
Your first most important retail shop decision is to site your shop around significant foot traffic. Businesses don’t succeed because they exist. Instead, it’s because customers patronise them. If you are located where fewer people pass-by, your sales will also be few.
People traffic is always the secret of business success. The only reason businesses advertise it to drive people traffic to themselves. If you locate on connecting bus stops and transit routes you stand a better chance of making good sales.
It may cost a bit more to rent a shop in such a location. But it will be worth it. It should be the first and most important decision you make. And if you noticed now that your retail business is wrongly located in a less traffic area, relocate immediately. Don’t make an excuse for failure.
Step Two: Stock the Right Products Customers Buy
There are vital aspects of retail shop you must understand, and that includes knowing products to stock. Your shop can only sell as good as your product. Sometimes, it might be a simple thing like stocking genuine products.
But most times, the idea of knowing what customers in your location want is essential to your store success. It’s what customers want that they will buy. And that means that if you stock what they don’t wish to purchase, your sales will tank.
Step Three: Get Product Dealership Right
Another thing you must consider is dealership of some of the products you sell if not all. Being a dealer of a product gives you some advantage in your location. For example, if you have a dealership right on a product in an area, that means you will be the leading retail shop of that product there.
There is no better way to increase sales and fight competition than being an exclusive dealer of any product within a specified location. Even if you can’t afford it now, have it as your plan to get a dealership of any of the major products you retail.
Step Four: Optimize for Google Local Search
And finally, on action points, optimise for local search. A lot of people don’t know the importance of the internet or google search. The same way you located your retail shop around significant foot traffic, the internet has online traffic that you can also send to your shop.
Google has made it easy with local search to help you direct people online to your retail shop offline. It doesn’t even need you to have a website. It’s not online retail. It merely helps customers find you online and get directions to your physical shop address.
You can equally hire an SEO expert to help optimise your retail shop for all the products you sell. Most customers online find it easier to search on Google for any product before buying. And if they know you sell it and they are close to you, you might be their best choice.
A retail shop remains the closest to consumers. The potential of retail shops cannot be overemphasised. The advantages range from selling products consumers want to buy, to building close ties with consumers in a way that influences their buying choices.
But you cannot ignore the competitive nature of a retail shop. You need to be strategic to attract frequent buyers to your shop. I have explained several factors that can influence your retail shop success. And one of them is Google local search.
As simple as this may sound, it’s a powerful tool that can help you beat the competition and drive more foot traffic to your store.
Local SEO optimisation for retail shop may not be cost-effective on a short run but if you want to enjoy high customer traffic in the long term, don’t fail to optimise your shop on Google search. You will need an experienced local SEO partner. I recommend Fastweb local SEO package to you.