The high street has been on its knees for some time now, and as time moves on, it shows little sign of recovery. Several factors have caused the massive downturn that we have witnessed in high street retail over the last decade or so. The banking crisis had a significant effect on the global economy, causing a drop in consumer spending and problems for the property industry. Added to that, there is constant competition with the internet. In recent years, the political climate has also impacted consumer spending too.
All of this has left many high streets baron wastelands. Many units remain empty, while the only success stories are betting shops and discount retailers. This has led to a lack of retail diversity and has taken away a great deal of footfall from towns and cities.
Is It A Good Idea To Open Up In This Climate?
It’s not impossible to create a successful business given the situation. There are a real need and a want from shoppers to create a point of interest on the high street. So opening up stores against a backdrop of closures may work if you have the right product, and passion.
There is scope for independent retailers who can offer a point of difference against the large brands that still manage to succeed in every town.
Getting The Right Premises
With empty units on most high streets, finding somewhere to open should not be too much of a problem. If a unit has been vacant for a while, you can look for a substantial decrease in the rent, or strike a deal over business rates. Landlords may be liable for rates when the units are void, so having any tenant is better than the expense of paying out themselves. Play hardball and negotiate hard.
Drawing In The Crowds
There will be obvious reasons why a unit may have been empty for a while, and you will need to work hard to ensure you can draw people through your front door. Having a strong social media presence can really help you draw the crowd.
Creating The Right Store
To minimize the financial risks involved in setting up a new retail business, you should look at trying to utilize as much of the existing features of the property that you are renting as possible. Use basic decorative items such as product images in black frames to help give your store some brand identity.
Getting The Right Products
Finding something that people are not selling elsewhere might be hard, but it is certainly not impossible. Try to look for items that beg the question where they were bought, and avoid going for the same product choices as everyone else.
The real strength when opening up as an independent retailer is finding a strong point of difference between yourself and everyone else. If you can maintain a sense of difference, you can be a success against a backdrop of failure.