Retail stores generate billions of dollars in revenue every year. These stores range from supermarkets to smaller boutiques that are owned and operated by individuals.
This post is focused on the latter of those two ventures.
Opening a retail store in today’s economy can present some challenges. We’re seeing people flock towards buying things online more than ever which is creating a strain on local shops and causing significant closures. With that said, many still learn how to start a boutique store and launch in a way that makes it so they find success.
If you’re interested in launching a successful retail operation read on as our team shares some tips that will enable you to boost your odds making money and better serving your community.
1. A Business Plan Is a Must
If you don’t have the patience to draft a business plan, you’re not going to have the patience to properly absorb how to start a boutique store and put into action everything you learn.
A good business plan will outline everything from how much money you plan on making to what your expenses will look like. It’ll also discuss local demography and how their needs align with what you’re offering.
There are ample online resources that can help you create your business plan.
2. Branding is Key
For somebody to shop your boutique store as opposed to a big box store that likely has better prices, they need a reason. Much of that reason will come from branding.
What does it feel like to walk through your store? What do customers get with you that they won’t get when they shop at a chain?
Having good answers to those questions will help set you apart in a way that’ll entice foot traffic.
3. Finding a Perfect Location Takes Time
Don’t make the mistake of assuming people will go out of their way to shop with you. You need to be proactive in creating an experience that enables people to shop at your store as easily as possible.
The best way to do that is by picking a convenient location.
What makes for a good location depends on factors pertaining to your core audience. Being positioned in a populated place where foot traffic is common is a good place to start.
4. Access to Cash Is Important
Everything from keeping your store’s lights on to meeting your payroll obligations costs money. Those expenses need to be paid whether or not you’ve made any sales.
Since it can be slow going when you first launch your retail venture, be sure you have access to cash that you can lean on until things heat up.
5. Smart Layouts Breed Significant Revenue
There’s a reason why supermarkets have items like candy at the checkout counter where customers are most likely to make impulse buys. You need to adopt that same mindset with what you sell.
Take time to reflect on what customers come into your store for, what else they might like and how you can influence them to buy more. By thinking through those questions, you can make adjustments to your store’s layout that could potentially increase your annual take by thousands.
6. Becoming a Community Staple Should Be a Goal
We find that boutiques that do the best are ones that are embraced by their community.
How can you earn that kind of affection? By getting involved.
Sponsor local sports teams. Hand out free items at charity events. Knock on doors and shake hands. Anything you can do to make people vested in your success can go a long way when it comes to keeping your doors open.
7. Selling Experiences Can Help Edge Online Competitors
It can be hard to compete with the prices that some retailers offer online. After all, their overhead expenses are likely much lower than yours.
A great way to drive foot traffic into your store despite not offering the best deals is to sell experiences.
For example, if your how to start a boutique aspirations are aimed at launching a handbag store, why not hold classes on how to make custom bags every other week? Similarly, if your boutique is focused on food, hold cooking classes.
When people show up to your events, you can give them coupons to entice them to make additional purchases.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Have an Online Presence
Just because your bread and butter is selling things at a physical location doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do some selling online. Add an eCommerce store to your boutique’s business plan and you’ll occasionally make fringe sales that could have a big impact on your overall success.
Platforms like Shopify or WordPress/WooCommerce offer great ways to get started selling online.
9. A Little Bit of Marketing Can Go a Long Way
Your willingness to print flyers, post on social media and send emails is going to have a significant impact on your boutique’s success. Learn as much about low-cost, DIY marketing as possible and bake a strategy into your business plan.
If you have a budget, consider looking into marketing agencies that can help you get the word about your business out.
10. Your Business Is Only As Good As Its People
At the end of the day, the people that help run your store are going to power its success or failure. So, if nothing else, ensure that everybody you have working with you is committed to your store’s success and your customer’s satisfaction!
Now That You Know How to Start a Boutique Store, Take Action
Our how to start a boutique store tips should give you the nudge you need to start making progress towards your goals. We implore you to take what you’ve learned and take action!
With some effort, your dreams of being a store owner could very well be your reality!
For more advice on all things retail, check out the newest content on our blog!