Want to boost your sales, drive traffic to your site and engage in a more meaningful way with your customers? The answer is no longer confined to the web. The smart companies are spreading their wings and heading back down to earth. Market leaders in retail such as Amazon, Warby Parker and Bonobos are investing in bricks and mortar and reaping the benefits. There is no reason why service industries, such as my own beloved freelance writing sector, could not follow suit by introducing some physical products into the mix.
The online virtual high street is crowded and hugely competitive, it is dominated by huge brands and it is so hard for newbies to get a foothold. Why not try to attract some local, loyal clients by opening up a brick-and-mortar business to support your online presence? Now all you have to do is buy or leases a premises. Here are some top tips for doing just that.
1. Choose the right type of property for you
Obviously this will depend on the type of business that you are in. Entrepreneurial schemes come in all shapes and have a lot of pitfalls to overcome. If you need to display and sell stock you will need to be realistic about how much storage you need. If you plan on knocking down a few walls you need to make sure that this is structurally possible.
2. Be clear about your budget
Time for a hefty dose of realism here! You will need to shelves so that you can display your wares, accept credit card payments and attract customers into the shop in the first place. Even if you are leasing or renting the shop, it is likely that you will have to pay for decoration and external signage. Make sure these are factored into your budget.
3. Secure the finance
In the absence of a very healthy savings account, you will need to secure a loan to get this scheme off the ground. To get a loan you will need a clear business plan so do your homework. Show the lender that you know what you are talking about and have the ability to turn this into a success. No-one wants to back a loser!
4. Location is what matters most
You know that you need to target your demographic with online marketing, right? Well, selling on the high street is no different. Draw up a profile of your ideal customer and then identify where they hang out. Do they favour a shopping mall, arcades or quirky streets? You need to be where they are loitering! Also think about deliveries, parking and noise and, of course, the competition!
5. Timing can make or break the deal
This is where you may need to be patient. Property markets fluctuate from season to season and from year to year. Buy at the wrong time and you could end up paying far more than you need to. Ideally, you should buy when demand is low and availability is high. That way you can secure a killer deal.