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Starting a Retail Business: Guide for Aspiring Entrepreneurs


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Starting your own brand can generally be considered a leap of faith. Due to the risks and uncertainty associated with creating one, the entrepreneurial life isn’t an ordeal many people are willing to take. But for the few that do, all will agree that nothing can compare to the feeling of becoming a successful business owner.

These days, the business landscape lacks exciting enterprises and innovative products. As consumer habits and market trends change, the ever-evolving demands of the market are providing plenty of opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs. Let the infographic below guide you if you want to start your own retail business.

What is a Retail Business: Types and Examples

Simply put, retail businesses refer to establishments that sell products. From general merchandise to medicines, retail brands may offer their products through brick-and-mortar stores or process transactions through digital channels. Here’s a list of some types of retail businesses

  1. Department stores

    Department stores are large establishments that offer a wide variety of products. Compared to smaller stores managed by a single company, they offer products from multiple brands and items at varying price levels. This store caters to all consumers.
  2. Convenience stores

    Convenience stores are strategically located establishments that are open 24/7. They stock all kinds of household products, but their product catalog is limited compared to other retail stores. 
  3. eCommerce stores

    As the name implies, eCommerce stores refer to websites that allow people to buy products online instead of a physical store. Once an order is placed through its designated portal, the items can be picked up or delivered to the buyer’s doorstep.
  4. Clothing shops

    Also known as fashion outlets, clothing shops are establishments that sell wearable items. Some stores can offer a variety of products or may specialize in a certain niche. Think of general fashion outlets, sports brands, and shoe stores for a better picture!  
  5. Specialty stores
    From its name, specialty stores offer a limited and very specific category of products. Unlike department stores with a wide selection and address all kinds of customers, these stores are meant to cater to a certain set of clients. Some common examples are gaming shops and office supply stores.
  6. Supermarkets

    Supermarkets are commonly established all over the country as they’re one of the most common retail outlets available today. Like a department store, supermarkets hold a wide variety of products available for your customers through a self-service strategy. The only difference is that supermarkets mostly focus on food and other consumable items.
  7. Discount stores

    From fashion to appliances, discount stores are shops that sell merchandise at a lower price range. Due to low prices and awesome promos, discount stores have an easy time building customer loyalty than most retail establishments.
  8. Drug stores

    Drug stores offer medicine and other health-related products to the public. These days, modern drug stores are starting to include other generic products in their shops that can help provide more convenience to customers.

How to Start a Retail Business: 7 Steps for Success

Starting a retail business can be a lot of work since there are many different factors you’ll need to consider. It includes everything like your basic finances, the strategies you’ll use, and the products you’ll specialize in. To help you build your business for success, here are the steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Start with a strong business plan

    A clear business plan can help you map your priorities and break your ideas into more manageable parts. It also serves as a great guide to help you stay on track with your goals as you handle the different aspects of your brand.
  2. Conduct market research and capitalize on trends

    Retail is one of the world's largest markets, meaning you’re up against steep competition the moment you set foot inside it. To help you on your journey, you’ll need to research how you’ll market your brand and face off against other companies. It can mean looking up current eCommerce trends and finding strategies that work for you.
  3. Pick your niche

    Establishing your business in a niche market gives you a way to stand out against other competitors more easily. It can help your brand become more recognizable and allow you to tap into a specific audience and develop industry authority!
  4. Establish your brand identity

    A strong and unique brand image is essential to build a good relationship with your target audience. Showing your customers that you’re approachable and care about them will make them more likely to shop with your brand than others.

    In addition to building a loyal customer base, a strong brand identity makes it easier for people to recall your brand.  
  5.  Acquire the necessary documents

    Before you open your business, you’ll need to deal with the formalities of establishing one. It includes complying with local laws and regulations by having the right documents required to get you settled. While it can be a tedious process, you’ll need this to avoid facing serious legal consequences.

    Here are some of the files and other requirements you’ll need to secure:

    Personal identification documents
    Certificate of incorporation
    Shareholder agreements
    Tax forms
    Operating agreement
  6. Recruit members for your team

    It isn't impossible, but there’s no denying that managing every aspect of your business can be tedious and overwhelming.

    While it’s understandable to want to stay on top of everything, wearing too many hats can cause delays in your operations and threaten your company’s productivity. To avoid burning yourself out, you’ll need to hire a reliable team of like-minded people to help you reach your goals.
  7. Set up your store

    Both physical and online stores take a lot of time to set up before it's ready to cater to your customers. Opening a physical location may require renting and reconstructing a space to your liking. Similarly, with an eStore, you’ll also need to build a domain and acquire reliable white-label solutions that will help you manage things accordingly.  

Practical Considerations for Your Startup

While you’re getting set up, it can be easy to forget the little factors contributing to your retail business. All the cogs in your system must be locked to ensure you lead a successful launch. Here are a few considerations you should think about before opening.

  1. How will you fund your business?

    Money is important when maintaining your business. Without it, you can't fund major aspects of your operations, like buying supplies, paying your workers, or settling bills. To ensure your business runs smoothly, pinpoint your funding options and save some extra cash for unexpected occurrences.
  2. Where will your physical store be located? Do you even require one?

    If you want to attract the right audience to your business, you’ll need to place your shop in an ideal location. Malls and other shopping districts are ideal locations no matter what you’re selling. Generally, an area that gets a lot of foot traffic is perfect since more people will grow curious about your brand and want to look inside.

    However, take some time to assess if you’ll really need a physical store. Considering the opportunities that online selling provides, you may choose not to build one instead and just double down on your digital marketing efforts.  
  3. How much space will you need?

    The space you need will depend on the equipment you'll be using and the amount of inventory you’ll be keeping at a time. If you plan on expanding your business in the future, you may need to consider setting up in a location where you can easily acquire more space.
  4. How many staff will you require?

    Your staffing needs will usually depend on the complexity of your operations. If you’re managing a big establishment like a grocery, you’ll need more people to handle shipments, payments, and inventory management. Take some time to review your processes to determine how many employees you’ll need.
  5. Are you set with your suppliers?

    Your chosen suppliers can greatly factor into the success of your business. If you’re the one making your products, your number one priority is to source quality materials at the best price possible. If you aren't making the products you sell, you'll need to arrange a clear agreement with your suppliers and ensure both sides don’t fall on the short end of the stick.

    Whether you’ve just started your search or have already found prospects, don’t rush things! Take some time to look around the market for different distributors to find the best products and materials possible. 
  6. Do you plan to deliver products? If yes, what are your shipping options?

    Providing delivery options can make it more convenient for your customers to shop with your brand. There are two ways to do this—use an in-house team or partner with a reliable freight forwarder in the Philippines. If logistics isn’t one of your company’s strong suits, outsourcing your delivery process will be your best bet.
  7. Will you be offering online shopping options?

    While many businesses offer their products and services online, hopping on this trend is entirely up to you and your current capabilities. While it can be tempting to reap different eCommerce advantages, there are also a lot of factors you need to consider. These include what platform you’ll be using and how your website design will look like.
  8. What will you name your store?
    To ensure that your business stands out, it's important to have a name that’s both authentic and memorable. It should also be distinctive enough to resonate with your customers and give them an idea of your brand. While you can always rebrand your company, the name you pick out will stick with your customers for a long time.

How to Start a Retail Business Online

Now that most of your brand’s consumers can be found online, going digital and acquiring eCommerce services will be crucial for your retail business. Not only will you be able to reach out to a bigger audience, but you’ll also make your operations easier in the process. Follow these tips to transition to the digital space smoothly.   

  1. Build a fast and appealing website

    Your customers will want a direct way to interact with your business. Building a website dedicated to your brand can give your audience an easy way to gain the latest information about your brand and its products.
  2. Invest in a proven eCommerce platform

    Not every business will have the resources or time to establish its own eCommerce portal. Instead, consider getting on an eCommerce platform that’s proven to have a good reputation in the market. For a successful investment, choose the best eCommerce platform for your business.
  3. Showcase your products through amazing photos and descriptions

    Listing your products on your website or eCommerce platform isn't enough. It would be best if you gave your customers a clear idea of what your items can do and how they can help them fulfill their needs. To help you close sales faster, always remember to show off your products with detailed photos and awesome product descriptions.
  4. Pinpoint your best marketing channels

    Being present on multiple marketing channels is good, but it’s important to pinpoint which ones are working best for you.

    Take some time to review your email marketing and social media strategies to identify which channel is driving the greatest number of conversions. It’ll help you optimize your marketing budget, leading to a better return on investment (ROI).
  5. Choose your niche

    Having a niche for your business can ensure you gain customers who want to do business with you in the long run. When paired with good branding and excellent products, it’ll make it much easier for your audience to recall you whenever they need your products.
  6. Deliver high-quality content

    Making informative blogs, infographics, and videos can help you build brand awareness, boost engagement, and create a better relationship with your audience. As you start creating a content plan, producing content for the different phases of the buyer’s journey will allow you to reach customers in various sales funnel stages.  

Enter the Market with an Advantage

Modern retail businesses have come a long way over the years as developing technology gives entrepreneurs more ways to leverage their own brands. But as the market and consumer habits evolve, business owners must adapt to trends to stay relevant.

As you build your retail business, creating a good foundation for your startup and taking note of the steps above will enable you to find success! Moreover, take some time to learn about the common mistakes that retail brands make. Being aware of common pitfalls before you experience them will allow you to achieve success much faster!

If you’re planning to set up an online store, you’ll need to ensure you have all the right tools and programs in your arsenal. To ensure a smooth shift to the web, partnering with a reliable eCommerce service provider such as Rush guarantees that. Get in touch with one of our sales champs to learn more about our all-in-one eCommerce solution!


Jeff Alejandrino

COO at RUSH Technologies

Jeff Alejandrino is the Chief Operating Officer at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. His past experiences include Business Development, Account Management and Partnership Management across different industries, from Banking, Service, and Food and Beverage. His pastime involves managing the family business. His interests vary from traveling and exploring new places to eat, to just staying at home watching series and movies.


Jeff Alejandrino

COO at RUSH Technologies

Jeff Alejandrino is the Chief Operating Officer at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. His past experiences include Business Development, Account Management and Partnership Management across different industries, from Banking, Service, and Food and Beverage. His pastime involves managing the family business. His interests vary from traveling and exploring new places to eat, to just staying at home watching series and movies.

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