Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Would Opening A New Shop On The Highstreet Be A Financial Disaster?

from here
With many big retailers closing their doors for the last time, you would be forgiven for thinking that opening a new store on the high street would be financial suicide!  The face of the high street is changing rapidly, as many consumers now buy their products and services online rather than from an actual shop. With rentals of commercial premises being at an all time high, retailers need to pass on this cost to consumers in order to stay afloat. However financial uncertainty is at the forefront of consumers minds meaning that they have become much more savvy as to where they buy products from and what price they are prepared to pay. Online retailers don’t have the costs associated with property rentals, meaning that they are able to sell products at a cheaper price.

This paints a poor view of the future of our high street and there are more and more shop premises having closing down sales and boarded up empty shops are becoming commonplace.  However, that being said the outlook isn’t all doom and gloom, shoppers are buying products in a different way than before, but this just means that the high street needs to evolve in order to reflect current shopping habits. The demise of some of the major players on the high street has allowed space for small independent shops to setup and flourish. Although people are becoming more savvy when sourcing products at the best price, there is a place in the market for consumers who like to source local and eco friendly products. Customers like to know where their food and clothing originated, which in turn supports local producers, manufacturers, growers and ultimately shop keepers.

So if you have always fancied setting up shop in order to sell products on the high street, don’t give up on your dream just yet. Think out of the box a little in order to find your niche and fill a gap in the market. There is certainly a market for certain products which will enable your business to flourish.

Carve out a niche

To be a success on the high street you need to offer consumers something which cannot be found online. People love to buy things that are a little different and this is hard to find when shopping online. People also like to feel or taste the quality of the items they are purchasing and love the idea that the materials or ingredients have been sourced locally. Do some market research in your local area by assessing what services and shops are currently offered and where the gaps in the market are. Speak to consumers and ask them what type of shop they would like to see in the future, suggest ideas that you have and judge the feedback carefully. You will probably already have an idea where your passion lies, as to be a successful shopkeeper you need to enjoy the products and be interested in the products you sell. If you have dreams of opening a clothing shop, find your usp, perhaps a vintage clothing store is not currently available or children’s shoe shops are always popular. If food is your passion, where is the gaps in the market? Is your town inundated with coffee shops, are there any vegan restaurants or perhaps you would like to open a delicatessen stocking local produce.

Opening shop

Before you rush to sign on the dotted line of a shop premises it may be worth testing the market first. Opening a bricks and mortar shop premises is not to be taken lightly, as it’s a huge decision with a high level of financial commitment. Start small and expand as your brand grows and becomes recognised. If you choose to start small, funding options will be more readily available, you could secure a personal loan from Bonsai Finance, use savings, use your credit card or ask for help from friends and family. This will enable you to purchase materials, stock, equipment and marketing materials without the huge cost of rent.

Small outlets could include a market stall, pop up shop, fayres or you could perhaps persuade another shop to stock your products for a small fee. Once you are established you can then start to consider opening a shop. You will know the area as to where the best footfall is and you will have hopefully saved some money from your initial sales in order to cover some of the rent.

Careful branding

By opening a new shop you are creating a brand. Your branding needs to be carefully designed so that it reflects the type of products you are selling and it resonates with your target market. To do this effectively you need to know exactly who your target market is. What age are they, where do they shop, what is their income, what do they like doing at a weekend? Your brand needs to evoke an emotional response in your target market, so the colours, wording and design needs to reflect what your target customer wants. You need to be different and you need to find a reason why your customers should return to your shop time and time again.

Branding needs serious thought, care and attention and if you get it wrong it could have a major impact on the future of your shop. If you feel that you need expert advice there are many branding experts that can help, any financial investment is likely to be returned tenfold. Ensure that your branding features across all marketing material, you need to ensure the front of your shop is carefully designed with good signage and that it’s eye catching and welcoming.

Finally you need to tell everyone that you exist! Get the media involved on opening day and create a “buzz” on social media. Opening offers will get people through the door, then you need to focus on a reason for customers to return at a later date.



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