If you’re an entrepreneur with goals of opening your own retail concept, finding the right location to reach and attract customers is crucial. The needs of retail are unique when it comes to real estate, and we’ve got a list of things you should discuss with your broker when searching for the ideal space.
What Type Of Goods Are You Selling?
Typically, the retail market is divided into two categories: commodity and specialty.
Commodity retail refers to goods and services that fall into the category of primary household purchases. This can include convenience stores, drugstores, grocery, and general merchandise for the everyday customer.
Specialty retail, on the other hand, is composed of businesses that focus on specific products or categories that are purchased with flexible household income. Some examples are home décor, toys, dress boutiques, electronic stores, and office supplies. (Although, that’s hardly an exhaustive list.)
While commodity retail represents the majority of brick-and-mortar retail, according to Emerging Trends In Real Estate 2018, specialty retail continues to evolve and grow in order to attract more clientele and stand out in the market.
In some cases, commodity retailers will thrive in locations that offer the most convenience, while specialty retail will need to deliver a unique experience for consumers that keeps them coming back. The types of goods you are offering will often determine the best location for your business.
Who Are Your Neighbors?
One of the biggest factors commercial real estate brokers look at when trying to develop a cohesive tenant mix is the exchange of foot traffic among tenants. And one of the most assured ways to generate more traffic is placing shops together that have a complementary customer base.
Think of a typical shopping center that is anchored by a major retailer. Complementary services and goods that encourage additional spending, like coffee shops, hair salons, pet supply stores, and more will likely surround them.
So, think ahead and consider what types of surrounding business would encourage additional foot traffic in your store. If you are a high-end women’s boutique, you will likely want to be surrounded by other retailers that appeal to women, such as other boutiques, salons, or even a spa.
Foot traffic is vital and finding a development that attracts your customer base with multiple services benefits everyone.
Where Are Your Customers Shopping?
Identifying your target buyer is, arguably, number one when choosing a space. Talk with your broker about the demographics of a location. Brokers spend time collecting information about neighborhood demographics that can help you answer important questions.
How far are your customers willing to travel for your goods? What are their shopping habits? How much are they looking to spend? Are competitors in your area? What brands and products are they selling?
One of the many benefits of working with a broker is direct access to much of this useful information. They can share with you data collected by the industry as well as personal knowledge of the location’s history and customer spending habits.
Is Your Location Convenient And Visible?
A calculated business plan, exceptional branding, and desirable products will do very little if your customers can’t find you. Visibility includes everything from acquiring proper signage to your physical location within a development or center.
If your shop is hidden or hard to find you will miss out on valuable traffic. In an age that values instant gratification, it’s more important than ever that customers are able to find your space with ease. Be sure to ask about the available signage options at your desired location and make sure customers are directed straight to your door.
Does Your Space Market Your Brand Appropriately?
When you find a space that appeals to your target customer, is convenient to clientele and has an appropriate commute time, you may be tempted to wrap up your search. However, there’s something else that you need to examine before signing. What message is your space sending to customers?
Your location can be a major asset when it comes to properly marketing your business. Enhanced exposure can save you advertising dollars in the long run.
Being located in a unique development that already has a reputation for successful business ventures, or one that offers an exclusive experience can do wonders for getting your name out there. And, many times, retail businesses can take advantage of quirky or non-traditional spaces to attract clientele.
Developers continue to seek out ways to introduce one-of-a-kind spaces to the market. The Garage at Clinton Row is an example of turning an unconventional space into an opportunity for retail. Once a 40-year-old city parking deck, The Garage is now a major shopping destination in Huntsville’s city center.
Other nearby examples include repurposed historic locations like the Stovehouse development in Huntsville. Many times, these types of developments attract customers on originality alone. And finding a location that matches your customer base and vibe can certainly enhance your marketing efforts.
Have questions about your own search for retail space? Give us a call at 256-536-8809! We’re always excited to talk to passionate business owners about their future.
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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP