Have you always dreamed of opening your own independent store, and now you’ve finally realized your goal? Running an independent store is a great way to scratch a creative and entrepreneurial itch since you have almost total control over the many elements involved in the conceptualization and manifestation of the business. It’s also a tangible satisfaction compared to solely online businesses and stores that don’t often interact with customers face to face. Here are some ways you can ensure greater success when running your new independent store.
Define Your Purpose
What is the overall ambition of your store? Do you want to provide the local neighborhood with the best pancakes in town? Are your clothes so unique that you simply must get them out into the world? Or do you have a passion for secondhand books and love the idea of meeting the people who might drop by? Whatever your reasons for opening an independent store, its purpose should be clear from the start. Don’t try to fill too many niches at once. Instead, focus on becoming known for an excellent specialty.
Clarify Your Brand
Your brand is the face of your business and must accurately and attractively communicate with your target market. Think about what your audience finds appealing and incorporate this into your own branding. You’ll need to consider a strong and recognizable logo, a unique tone of voice, and an ethos that customers can identify with. This goes all the way from how you structure the business itself to something as simple as your store’s signs. There are ways to improve your signage that can make a surprising difference to footfall at your store simply by reinforcing your brand more effectively.
Even though you’ve chosen to open a physical store that customers can visit in person, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your business’ online presence. Once you have a strong brand and a firm understanding of your target market, create cohesive and compelling social media profiles that spread the message of your store’s products and ethos. Get to know your customers through social media and maintain a consistent tone of voice across all platforms.
Hold an Event
If you’ve yet to officially open your store, a great way to grab people’s attention is to host an event to celebrate your grand opening. There are many ways you can do this, but whatever decisions you make must be congruent with your brand image. For example, if you are a high-end menswear seller, then a street party with bouncy castles and hired clowns won’t appeal to your target market.
Make connections with other local stores and occasionally work together. Maybe the salon next door could share free samples of your artisanal lemonade with customers and encourage them to visit you after a haircut. Maybe you could show off some of the artwork of the nearby gallery on your walls to promote them. This kind of local support can be invaluable.
Maintain Positive Relationships
Once you’ve got your business off the ground, the difficult part is maintaining the momentum. One of the most important ways to do this is to continually value your customers and develop lasting relationships with them. Part of the charm of independent stores is their unique personality, so let yours shine through.