10 marketing-related things you should consider
before opening a retail store

1. What is my customer target group?

Defining a target group is one the most important steps before opening a shop. Especially when you are not in the franchise business or part of a chain, it is vital for a shop owner to define the customers they would like to attract with their product(s). Once this step has been taken care off, a concept can be created around the target group. Our advice: create a „persona“ – a fictive customer that represents the typical target group. Then ask yourself how to best approach this persona by using tailored marketing activities.

2.Is the location going to attract the target group?

Imagine, you found a great spot to open your shop in: the rent is affordable and it is a highly frequented street – but sadly only by tourists. Your product, however, is targeted at local farmers. Then your shop will probably never run as well as it could. Therefore, choose your location wisely and double-check if it correlates with your target group.

3. How much budget do I allow to have available for marketing purposes and which channels do I want to use?

Choosing your marketing budget is a very important step in making your shop successful. Apart from the mentioned target audience, the budget plays a significant part in the choice of marketing channels. Depending on the amount of money you want to spend, you can either consider channels that will be for free, or, paid ones. For example, with a small budget you can decide to limit your marketing activities to social media. Most social media channels offer free ways to create a business page and charge small prices for advertising.

4.How can I successfully reach my target group? What kind of media does fit best?

Look at the persona you created beforehand and ask the most important question: what kind of media does he/she use most? Is it a business person who travels a lot by airplane? Then maybe digital signage at airports are a great place to start. Are you targeting a student interested in organic food and sustainability? Print your logo on some reusable bags and make it a giveaway in cooperation with a sustainability blogger with a big audience. As you can see, it all depends on the target group and the budget.

5. How will I retain the customers in the future?

Customer loyalty programs are very useful if you want to ensure that your customers return. The customer loyalty program gives your customers a reason to come back. The easiest way is to offer a bonus program where people can gather points and are able to trade them for discounts. Another commonly used customer loyalty program is to offer “10+1”, which is a popular solution in the service sector (the 11. manicure/coffee/haircut is for free/cheaper). Another great way is to offer them services that make your shop unique. Offer a special hairtreatment or your own coffee-mugs. Or simply have the best-trained employees who are outstanding with their buying recommendation. Once your customers have found out how your shop differs from others they will be eager to return.

6. How will I measure customer satisfaction?

Some people think that customer satisfaction can be measured by turnovers and units sold. However, these numbers do not really stand for customer satisfaction. To run a shop successfully, it is vital to understand why customers choose to buy or not buy products or services. Are they not happy with the outcome? Is the product overpriced? Were they satisfied with purchase advice? Would they prefer the products to be organized differently in the sales room?

All of the questions above can be easily answered by using short polls at the checkout and thank the customers with a discount. If your shop addresses customers 60+ they might appreciate a little chat way more than an electronic poll. Simply ask them for feedback and most of them will be happy to provie you with it.

7. Do I want to have my shop online?

Brick and mortar stores are back and not every shop needs an e-shop. But it is always nice to have an online appearance. No matter if you choose to limit your online appearance to a Facebook page or if you want to go all out and have a website, all kinds of social media channels and more; it is always advisable to ask your designer for your logo in a format you can use online too and to invest in some nice pictures of your shop. Creating customized websites is easier and cheaper than ever before. Simply let your prospective customers know that you exist, what you offer and sell and where to find you!

8. Do I want to keep in touch with my customers?

Make sure your customers are returning and are always informed about your latest offers, by offering them to sign up for your newsletter at the check-out! They will love to hear what’s new and be thrilled to be the first to know about a promotion. You just have to make it worth it for them! Let them know about your latest order, new products and trends.  They’ll love to be up to date and know about that!

9. Will I make an opening promotion to start the business well-known in the area?

Opening a new shop comes with another question: how to attract people and make it known. If you want to attract people in the area (which you have now chosen to be target group-compliant) give them a reason to come to your shop: an opening promotion limited to a certain time. Possible opening promotion ideas are: bring your friend for free (2 for 1), get a discount for your next visit, get a gift for the first 100 customers etc. This way you can convince them of your shop and they have a reason to return or recommend you.

10. How can I get free publicity?

Contact your local newspaper and host an opening event!

Indeed, the best way to start a new business is an opening event. You can invite everyone who helped you up to this point and celebrate the opening. Our advice: make the event attractive to the press and invite all local newspapers, maybe influencers, if that is suitable for our target group. They will love to take pictures and it is free publicity if they write about it! Especially local papers often have a special corner where they talk about new shop openings.

Of course, all of the listed things do not guarantee you a perfect business. But they will definitely make it easier for you to start off when paired with many other factors we are sure you have already considered. These 10 marketing-related tips and questions are supposed to help non-marketeers to find a way into the marketing world which is very important for every future shop owner in the retail world.