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10 Tips for Opening a Shop

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If we wrote Location down ten times that would be ten excellent pieces of advice for potential shop owners. Location is everything in retail and unless your product is desirable or unique enough for you to become a destination shop then you need the right location.

1. Location: Consider who is your customer and how they are likely to get to you. Will they need a car to take your products away? If so you will need parking. Are your products an impulse buy? If so you will need footfall. Location is everything but remember you will pay a premium for the best locations.

2. The Lease: Make sure you have an expert look at your lease. You don't want to be on the ground floor of a four storey building with a full repairing clause in your lease which means you will need to replace the roof after the winter storms take their toll. Make sure you have tenant only get our clauses so that if the shop doesn't do well you aren't stuck with a 21 year lease.

3. Interior Design: Make sure the inside of the shop is well designed and suited to your products. Customers should enjoy the experience. They will expect a rich looking interior if they are buying jewellery but would want places to sit if they are buying and trying on shoes. If you need to spend some time working on the interior ask for a three month rent free period while you carry out the work.

4. Shop Front: This is your window to the world. Keep it fresh and seasonal. Make it interesting and visual – people should be stopping outside your window to see what you have on display. Your window is the way you attract people into the shop. Dead flies and wasps next to the cakes is not a good way to encourage people to come in.

5. Buying and Selling: The art of being successful in retail is not the selling, it is the buying. If you can buy well and get good quality items which are up to date and are what people want they will sell. Attend trade shows, read the trade magazines and get a feel for what are the latest trends and fads in your field and supply what the people want. You should also offer a delivery service for people, especially if your products are quite large.

6. Website and Social Media: Make sure you have a vibrant website. This is your second shop window and this one is open to the world. Have an online presence – every shop should have an online presence. If you can't beat the internet, join it. Be on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Tell people when you have special offers, sales and the like. Let them know when you are working on a special promotion.

7. Vouchers: Sell gift vouchers. People don't always know what they want to get when buying for others so a gift voucher for your shop is always a nice gift for someone to give and will encourage another customer to come through the door. Date stamp them because those that go outdated will give you the best profit ever!!

8. Music: If you play music or stream video in the shop, even if it is just for your staff – get a PRS licence. It is not worth the risk of being taken to court, they do come and inspect premises so get the sticker on the door.

9. Insurance: Don't open the doors to paying customers until you have adequate Public Liability cover. Just one person tripping and falling in your shop could cost you a fortune so make sure you are well covered and be aware of health and Safety requirements and look out for hazards in the public areas.

10. Get CCTV: Sadly it is a fact of life that there are bad people out there and not everyone pays for the goods you are selling. You don't want to make the place look like Fort Knox with items chained to the table tops but people should know they are being watched and that thieves will be prosecuted.

And as a bonus tip remember to smile. If you want to do well, smile at the customers. A smile will work wonders on even the most horrible day. You may be having difficult times elsewhere but the shop must be a happy place. If you want to relieve people of their money they deserve a smile and a thank you in return.

For more information and advice on opening a shop, please Contact Us.

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