Things to Consider When Opening a Store

The success of your store depends on a number of factors, including location, presentation and merchandise quality. Before you open a dollar store, ask yourself the following questions:

Are there other successful non-competing businesses nearby?

* It would be nice if your one dollar store was a destination, but it’s important to attract impulse buyers as well. It’s easiest to do this if there are many people already shopping at other types of stores in the area. Look for successful restaurants, laundromats, coffee shops, movie theaters, and higher price retail stores near your location.  One of the most successful dollar stores we know of is right next to a busy movie theater, where people come out after the movie and ask each other “what do we do now?”  If the store has a low price point and interesting displays in the window, people are likely to say, “Let’s go to the dollar store.”  In this situation, the dollar store would do well to stock a lot of snack foods, which people would buy and bring into the theater with them.

Is there ample parking nearby?

Is there a lot of foot traffic in front of your store?

How much will the rent be?

* It may be worth it to pay more money for a more visible location. When considering a specific location to open a store, find out what type of business was there before you, and why they aren’t there anymore. If they went bankrupt because there were no customers in the neighborhood, you should look for another location. If they moved to a bigger location because their store was too small to handle all the customers that were coming through the door, it may be the perfect location for you. Of course, when considering how well the last tenant did, you must also look at what type of store they had and what merchandise they were selling.  If they had a wig shop and didn’t attract enough business, that doesn’t mean you will fail if you are selling something more universally popular than wigs.

Is your store clean and inviting?

* This is important.  A dirty, messy store gives people an overall negative impression. Even if people like the merchandise, they may not want to come back.

Is the store well organized?

* Make sure customers can easily find what they’re looking for. If they can’t find it, they won’t buy it. Consider hanging signs from the ceiling at the head of each aisle, listing what the aisle contains.

If your store is not a dollar store, but you have a dollar section, is it obvious to the customer that everything in the section is a one dollar item?

Do you have a new items section?

* It’s good to have a big, easy-to-see display near the cash register of your store saying “New This Month” displaying recent additions. For maximum impact, you’ll want to show high-perceived-value items that are unique and value priced. Customers are more likely to revisit stores if they know they will find something new there every time.

Do you have displays or signs in the windows offering great deals?

Can people driving by, in either direction, clearly see what kind of store you have?

* Make signs as big and visible as possible. They might not stop today, but they’ll remember you are there.

Are there items in the store that make people say, “I can’t believe how cheap this is.”?

* Everyone loves finding a bargain, and they will brag about it to their friends, which will bring you more business. Look for wholesalers who carry closeout merchandise, and ask them for prices on their best items.

Will you carry seasonal merchandise?

* If so, make sure you have enough, and make sure you have room to store any extra stock until next year.

What types of items do the people in your neighborhood like to buy?

* Study the neighborhood and understand what the residents need and want. If you’re near a school, you’ll want to carry stationery and age-appropriate toys. Near a lake, you’ll want to have fishing items and water toys.

Are you planning a grand-opening event with prizes?

* It’s a good way to let the neighborhood know you’ve arrived. Just make sure you get the word out about when the grand opening is and what will happen there.

How will you let people know about your store?

* Will you put up a big Coming Soon sign before you open your store, post flyers, or advertise in local papers? When you open a store, people have to know where it’s located in order for you to be successful.

How many days per week will your store be open, and what hours?

Do you plan to be in the store all the time it is open, or will you hire employees to help you run the store?

Are you prepared for busy times?

* Do you have enough back stock, and do you have enough employees to help the customers?

Are you prepared for slow times?

* Do you have enough money in the bank to handle temporary lulls in business?

Do you have reliable suppliers of wholesale merchandise and closeouts?

* Make sure you select the right wholesale company. Whenever possible, you should see the merchandise before you buy it. You can go to trade shows, have distributors send you print catalogs, or order a company’s merchandise online.

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