The retail industry has always been an ever-changing landscape, constantly evolving and growing to meet the needs of consumers. And it’s not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, according to recent projections, global retail sales are expected to grow by 4.5% and exceed $30.3 trillion by the end of 2023.

With such promising figures, it’s no wonder that starting a retail business can be an exciting venture for many entrepreneurs. However, it’s important to approach this venture with caution, as many new business owners fall into common pitfalls that can hinder their success.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the nine most common pitfalls that new business owners make when starting their retail business. From neglecting digital presence to not adapting to change, we’ll offer practical advice to help you avoid these mistakes and set your business up for long-term success.

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9 Pitfalls to Avoid When Starting a Retail Business.

1. Not conducting enough research

Not conducting enough research is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when starting a retail business. It’s essential to conduct thorough research to understand the market you’re about to enter and whether your business idea is viable.

This can help you determine if there is a demand for your product, who your target audience is, and how you can differentiate your business from the competition.

The downfall of any business is selling a product no one wants or needs. This is why you need to do your research on your potential market.

Market research can be conducted in various ways. One common method is to use online resources to gather information about the market, competition, and customer demand. This includes searching industry reports, statistics, and news articles that provide insight into the retail industry. Google can be a great starting point for basic research.

However, relying solely on online research can be limiting. To truly understand your customers’ needs and preferences, it’s important to conduct surveys and focus groups to gather feedback directly from potential customers. This can help you understand your customers’ pain points, what they are looking for in a product or service, and how you can meet those needs.

By conducting thorough research, including surveys and focus groups, and staying up to date on industry trends and regulations, you can increase your chances of success and avoid costly mistakes.

2. Underestimating startup cost

It costs big bucks to start and run a business. Many business owners don’t realize, or many underestimate, the amount of money it costs to start a retail business.

There are several expenses that are incurred when you launch your retail business, and if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store, the expenses can be even higher.  

From leasing to legal fees, inventory to marketing, and more, the expenses can add up quickly. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed business plan and budget to ensure that you have enough funds to cover all of your expenses.

Again, this is where an in-depth research on budget comes in handy. Conducting research helps you prepare for any unforeseen hiccups along the way and ensures that you have a solid understanding of the financial obligation when starting a retail business.

When it comes to finding funds for your business, there are various ways to go about it. One option is to seek funding from friends or family through loans. Crowdfunding can also be a great way to raise capital and build a community of supporters. Additionally, traditional bank loans are a common option for funding a business.

These are the things we go into depth in our Founders Community. There we offer resources, like funding options,  and support for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow their businesses.

Would you like to join our community of like-minded business owners?

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3. Choosing the wrong location

This is the most common mistake many new retailers make. Choosing a location that doesn’t have the potential for customers to find you will hurt your business in the long run.

I have realized that most new retailers believe that if they put all their energy into having/making the best products customers will automatically come. And that couldn’t be more wrong.

Look, you might have the best pastries in town or sell the best designer clothes, if you are not where your customers can find you, you will end up closing down your business much sooner than you think.

When looking for a location for your retail business consider factors such as foot traffic, competition, accessibility, and rent prices.

Choose areas that are easily accessible from your residence. Spend time in each area to become familiar with specific neighborhood demographics and preferences and to scope out other local businesses. While doing this, it is also important to take note of the market saturation in that area.

Market saturation refers to the degree to which a market has been covered by competitors offering similar products or services.

Consider this: If you’re planning to open a hairdressing salon, it’s important to take note how many hairdressing salons there are already in that area. If there are already numerous hairdressers in the area, it might not be a good idea to open your salon there.

As market is already saturated with competition, making it difficult to attract and retain customers who are already loyal to the other businesses. It would be advisable to consider looking for an area with less competition or finding a unique selling proposition that will differentiate your business from others in the area.

4. Neglecting your digital presence

It is best to start prioritizing your place in today’s digital economy as soon as you can. With the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, having an online presence has become a necessity for businesses to thrive. Retail businesses that neglect the digital economy risk falling behind the competition and missing out on opportunities for growth.

It could be having a visually appealing and easy website to attract potential customers or having well-managed social media accounts that can attract and engage new customers, build brand awareness, promote your products or services, and increase sales.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to be aware of the massive opportunities for your business in today’s digital economy.

5. Ineffective marketing strategies

Ineffective marketing is another mistake that can limit the success of your retail business. Even if you are in the perfect location, if you don’t get the word out about what you are selling and where you are, people won’t know you are there or an option.

It’s crucial to have a marketing plan that targets your ideal customer and reaches them through the right channels.

You don’t want to launch a business for the first time and have no one show up. Gather your friends and family and then get them to tell their friends and family that you are open for business and you are ready to sell.

A combination of online and offline marketing strategies can be effective. It helps you reach a much wider audience and set the buzz around your business. You can also collaborate with other businesses in order to get the word out about your business.

If you are someone who struggles with making a good marketing strategy or have no clue on how to make digital marketing strategies for your business, you can book a one-on-one consultation with one of our experts to get expert advice.

6. Not adapting to change

Change is the one that is forever constant in life and in your business. As time passes, your customers will evolve, and their needs and preferences may shift. Thus, it’s important to keep up with the ever-evolving retail industry by adapting to new trends, technologies, and consumer behaviors.

To stay competitive and relevant to your customers, you need to embrace innovation and stay current. This means continuously assessing your products or services and finding ways to improve them.

To ensure that you’re always up-to-date with the latest business trends and tips, consider signing up for our newsletter. Our newsletter is packed with valuable insights and expert advice that can help you grow your business and stay ahead of the curve.

7. Poor pricing strategies

Having a poor pricing strategy can also impact the success of your business. While it’s important to price your products or services in a way that reflects their value, setting prices that are significantly higher than those of competitors can deter customers from making purchases.

This can be especially true in markets that are highly competitive or where customers have many options to choose from.

Consider this: you are selling your pastries for $20, but Sweet n’ Treats down the road sells theirs for $10. It is already obvious which one your potential customers would likely go for.

Even if you are selling high-quality products, setting prices too high or too low can affect your profit margins and customer perception.

This is why it is important to not leave out your competition when researching for your market. You have to deeply and vastly understand your costs and pricing strategies and how they compare to your competition.

8. Overestimating your products demand

When starting a retail business, it’s important for you to avoid overestimating the demand for your products or services. While it’s easy to get excited about your new business, it’s crucial to be realistic about the level of demand you can expect. This means adjusting your inventory and pricing strategies accordingly.

Overestimating demand can lead to inventory management problems, such as purchasing too much inventory that takes up valuable space in your store and ties up capital that could be used for other purposes. It can also lead to pricing problems, where you set a high price for your products or services but find it difficult to sell them at that price point if demand is lower than expected.

To avoid overestimating demand, you should conduct thorough market research before launching your business.

This can involve studying your target market and understanding customer needs, preferences, and buying habits. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights into how much demand there is likely to be for your products or services, and adjust your inventory and pricing strategies accordingly.

9. Not enough passion or commitment

Starting a business requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and persistence.

As there will be ups and downs and days when you just want to close it all up and move to another town, change your name, and live with your two cats in peace, it is important to have a genuine passion for your business idea that will keep you going when your motivation runs a little low.

Consider joining a community where you can connect with people who have similar goals or challenges as you do.

Would you like to join our community of like-minded business owners?

Register Here!

Our Founders Community is a home where you can build your goals, benefit from a society of like-minded entrepreneurs and gain professional guidance on how to grow your business.

Remember to take breaks when you need them. Prioritizing your mental health is just as important as working hard on your business. In fact, studies have shown that our brains work better when we’re relaxed.

So, embrace a relaxed state of mind—it’s what your brain needs to pump out amazing ideas that can take your business to the next level.

Bottom Line

Starting a retail business can be a daunting and stressful process, but by avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls such as inadequate research, ineffective marketing, and poor location, you can minimize the setbacks you may face along the way.

Want to learn more on how to maximize your business growth? Sign up for our ONE MONTH BUSINESS SCHOOL PROGRAM  aimed at providing a step-by-step walkthrough on creating and implementing innovative and strategic plans you can apply to your business immediately!

Find out more about the program here.


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