When people talk about opening their own business nowadays, many of us automatically think of e-commerce. This is fine. There’s a good reason that a lot of people take this route. You gain the benefits of running your own company – whatever you may be selling – and don’t have to worry about commercial premises costs, overheads associated with operating an in-person business, staffing costs while you’re off shift and more. But that’s not to say that there isn’t any room for in-person transactions anymore. In fact, countless businesses are still thriving through face to face interaction with customers, generating profit and making a name for themselves. One type of business you may be considering opening is a convenience store. Here are some tips that will help you on this journey.
What Is a Convenience Store?
First, let’s focus on what a convenience store actually is. At the end of the day, while similar to stores such as grocery stores or supermarkets, it does differ. A convenience store, also known as a “convenience shop”, “corner store” or “corner shop” is a small business, often with extended opening hours, that stocks a range of everyday items. Most convenience stores will stock basic food items including bread, milk, butter, soft drinks, canned goods, dried foods (such as instant ramen), soft drinks, tea and coffee, snack foods, a limited range of fresh foods, confectionary, ice creams and more. Most convenience stores will also stock basic toiletries, over-the-counter drugs and a range of newspapers and magazines. Those with licencing will also sell tobacco products, lottery tickets and even alcoholic beverages.
Choosing a Location
Location is going to prove key to the success of your convenience store. To succeed, you need to place it somewhere that people find it convenient to get to, passing in and out as they require. Good spots tend to include busy, high footfall areas (such as city centres) or residential areas close to many homes. Of course, different commercial premises will come hand in hand with different price tags. It’s important that you choose something in budget, where the cost of maintaining and running the shop doesn’t eat up too much of your profits. Take a look around different areas. Weigh up footfall versus rental costs. See how other businesses in the area are doing. Consider whether there is much competition nearby and whether you’re able to tackle this. You may even be able to bargain and haggle the price down.
What You Will Need
Of course, even once you’ve found a commercial premises with the right location, you’re going to need to invest in a host of appliances and furnishings that will make the space functional. Here are a few considerations to take into account, as each can serve a huge role in your store when it eventually opens up.
You’re going to need a point of sale in your convenience store. Most opt for a basic till point. Here, your customers can bring their items to have them scanned, packed and to pay for them. You should make sure that you also have a card reader, as this can maximise sales. Some customers will leave their goods and walk away if they are unable to pay by card.
If you’re selling chilled drinks or foods, you need to make sure that you have a good quality, reliable refrigerated island display case. This should be large enough to house plenty of products and they may have special shelves that are designed to hold bottles or cans, for customers to grab easily and conveniently.
An increasing number of convenience stores are beginning to stock basic frozen goods, such as oven pizzas, fries and more. Make sure that you have a quality freezer to display and store these in at the right temperature. Most stores opt for a chest that customers can reach into.
Now for the dry goods. These are likely to take up the most space in your store. You should make sure that you have plenty of shelving systems to make sure that you can display your items clearly for customers. Order goods front to back, with those with the soonest expiry date at the front and those with longer expiry dates at the back. This will reduce stock wastage, as those that need to be consumed first will be sold first.
Magazine and Newspaper Racks
There are plenty of racks that are specialised for safely holding and displaying magazines and newspapers. They will display each cover for customers to see the headlines and determine which they want to pick up.
Compliant Tobacco or Alcohol Displays
Different locations have different rules regarding how you can display or advertise tobacco and alcohol in your store. It’s important that you look these up and comply with them, or you could find yourself shut down or facing big fines.
Of course, it’s important to make sure that your store has as much security as possible. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world has good intentions and any store is a potential subject to theft. If would be criminals can see that your store is well protected, they’re less likely to attack it. Having a CCTV system placed inside and outside your store, in key areas, will ensure that your store is surveilled through all hours of the day and night, warding off thieves, trespassers, arsonists and vandals. An alarm system also sets off an alarm if someone does go ahead and try to break in. This can cause them to scatter, rather than risking being seen now that attention has been drawn to the area. Some systems will also automatically trigger a police call out. Another great option is shutters. This can protect glass windows from damage.
Opening a convenience store does take time and effort, but hopefully, some of the guidance above will help you to make the journey as smooth as possible. Your store will be up and running before you know it!
Image Credits: Caio