Opening a Retail Store? Here's What You Need to Know

Traditional retail stores have been having a hard time recently. Australian retailers have been failing in record numbers, thanks to increased competition from online e-commerce stores, weak consumer confidence, and a stalling economy. But just because there is a strong headwind, it doesn’t mean your dreams of opening a store must die.
Things may be challenging in Australian retail, but with the right preparation, your store will succeed. Still keen? If so, here are some of the things you need to know.
Pick the Right Location
The Australian tourism industry is huge, so if you open a retail store in a popular tourist location, you can anticipate a decent level of foot traffic. One way to test the water if you are new to retail is to open a pop-up store in an established location or try your hand at a market stall.
Savvy retailers in Canberra have tried this approach and enjoyed a lot of success.
Find the Right Niche
Australians love to shop and not everyone wants to purchase goods online. However, picking a good location won’t do you any good if you are trying to sell items in the wrong niche. For example, tourists generally want to buy authentic Australian arts and crafts, anything locally made, and items they can’t find anywhere else. But if you open a pop-up store in a large shopping precinct in the middle of Brisbane, you have many more options, from handbags and scarves to gadgets and more. It all depends on your target customers.
There is a huge market for ethically sourced, artisan goods, from coffee to crafts, but do your research before you pick a niche. Make sure the market you want to target is not already saturated. Otherwise, you could be facing an uphill battle to establish a strong brand.
The Financial Stuff
It is possible to open a retail store on a shoestring, but generally speaking, you will probably need some working capital to get things moving. Can your finances cover a store lease, buying stock, and operating expenses for at least six months? If you don’t have a bottomless savings account, now is a good time to go looking for funding.
Check out local start-up funding opportunities. See if there are any grants available in your area. This site is a useful place to start. If you elect to approach a local lender for money, make sure your business plan is watertight. Have a cash flow forecast ready, so they can see you have covered all angles.
Start Building a Brand
Just because you are not focusing on an online e-commerce store, it doesn’t mean you can ignore online marketing. Focus on getting the word out and building a buzz about your store. Be active on social media and send out press releases to local media outlets so that they can run a feature. The more publicity you have, the better.
Concentrate on fitting out your store to match your brand. There needs to be a strong connection between your brand and how your store looks. offer retail shop fitouts if you need any advice.

With the right approach, you can make this work. Good luck!

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