It’s a standard phrase in real estate. Location, location, location! Whether you’re buying a house or opening a store, a great retail location is paramount. In the world of retail, there are several items to consider when scouting for a place to hang your proverbial shingle.
After all, you want to provide your business with the most advantages possible, even if you’re just starting out and your budget is a bit lower than you might like.
Excellent Flow of Traffic
Being in a location where there’s lots of foot or automobile traffic is essential to the success of your business. That means being on a main street (or very close to it), selecting a spot in an outdoor shopping centre that’s already very busy, or choosing a space in the wing of a retail mall that is vibrant and includes other stores that already attract a lot of attention.
Sometimes it easy to tell if your location is in a spot with lots of traffic. Just watch the crowds. Other times, it might demand a bit of a feasibility study, but the money spent on such endeavours is generally well worth it. Getting shoppers in your front door is what it’s all about. Then, once you get them in, you have to do what it takes to keep them, like fitting out your shop or other retail environment in a way that’s pleasing to your customers.
It’s helpful to choose a location where you can use signage to your advantage. When you are considering a particular location, ask how you will be able to draw attention to your spot. Will it just be one large sign in front, or are there other options as well? If you’re in an outdoor shopping centre or mall, you may be able to post a sign elsewhere in the complex, like at the entrance.
The better and more visible your signage, the more customers you’ll attract. Ask your shop fitter to help you choose signs that match your branding and are visible and easy-to-read. Include your logo if you have one and select fonts that are clear and concise and colors that are pleasing and readable.
Access to Parking
If you own a restaurant or a shop that’s not connected to other stores or isn’t in a mall, make sure that you have your own parking lot, have close access to a municipal lot, or are in a location where there is ample on-street parking nearby. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to visit a store to make a purchase and having no place to park. It’s the perfect way to lose sales, so always keep the parking situation in mind when choosing a location.
If you are choosing a location in a shopping centre with other stores, make sure the centre – in general – is well maintained. Is the landscaping pretty and does it change with the seasons?
Are the storefronts painted and otherwise neat and clean? Are the lamps in the parking lot in good working condition? Is there good drainage during heavy rains? You may find a low-priced bargain in a so-so shopping area, but consider whether or not the overall appearance of the shopping centre will keep patrons away and if it’s really such a bargain.
Remember to consult your shopfitter on all of the above items. Often, those very familiar with the area in which you’re planning to open your shop might even be able to make some suggestions about possible locations.