Complete Retail Guide for Beginners: How to Set Up a Store?

Complete Retail Guide for Beginners: How to Set Up a Store?

Maria Spark

Previously, we took a close look at what the retail market is, shared some offbeat ideas of products to sell, and delved into hot trends that can boost your startup growth. Check these article to make sure you`re aware of fundamentals. Now it`s time for practice — we`ll walk you step-by-step through building of your own retail project. In addition, we`ll disclose the most common mistakes of beginners and qualities a retail entrepreneur should possess!

8 Steps to Set Up an Online Retail Store

Once you`ve come up with an idea of a retail startup, you should prepare the ground and then get into practical nuts and bolts.. Take the following 8 steps to make your project work.

Determine a niche

First you need to understand what you want to sell. Choose those products or services you know well and like working with. If you sew vintage clothes, probably, it will be a good idea to set up a store with hand-made retro attires. You can also pay attention to trendy niches or those that are sufficiently presented in your region.

Study demand

To make your startup successful, a thorough market research is a must. Take advantage of online surveys, interviews, and questionnaires. You can also address social media your target audience is using. In addition, examine your competitors to create a unique value proposition and set competitive advantage.

Try to study the demand for goods or services on the market, as well as get to know the existing analogues. You can do this by searching for your offer in Google. This way you will find out who offers such goods and services and how much they cost today. Having learnt the market better, you can position your online store differently. For example, sell ready-made kits for school, rather than individual stationery, or offer customers more favorable delivery terms.

Make a business plan

When you have decided what you will offer customers and on what terms, it's time to write a business plan to prioritize and set goals for your online store. Here you can take advantage of ready-made templates on the net. They also help you prepare a business plan within the framework of various incubators and courses.

Choose a platform

It's no secret that the cost of building a website from scratch can reach several hundreds of dollars. While your business is just starting to develop, it will be very expensive to keep a team of developers, designers, and SEO optimizers.

Instead, you can simply select a ready-made template and make an online store yourself. This requires neither the programmer skills nor the designer talents. You can pick any platform to start. This way you can make your first sales and test your business model viability.

Learn experts`opinion

A constant feedback loop is the key to startup`s well-being. At early stages, when you`re just starting to get the hang of retail, expert assistance is particularly valuable. Address experienced people from the industry you`re going to operate in and ask them for some unbiased perspective on your startup.

Besides, you can find a mentor who will guide you through the development of your project. By the way, Idea Factory offers expert mentorship for their contestants so apply for the competition and get professional recommendations on your business.

Register your startup

When everything is ready to launch, you need to register with the tax office so that your business is legal. To do this, you can seek help of special services or lawyers. We also recommend studying the law of your region to minimize legal risks and avoid unexpected costs.

Open a bank account

Any business needs a bank account, and it is to this account that payments from your online store's website will be transferred. You can open it at the nearest bank or use the online registration services provided by many financial organizations. Please note that many banks today have tariffs for a startups with zero subscription fees.

Find early customers

Having gained some skills in retail, as well as getting acquainted with social network scanners, you can safely start searching for the first customers of your online store. The easiest way to do this is on social networks. You can conduct SMM at the initial stage on your own, creating groups, attracting subscribers, and launching various sweepstakes. This requires a minimum budget and help optimize risks associated with the team.

Common Mistakes Retail Beginners Make

After learning how to build a retail, don`t rush into its implementation. Beforehand, it`s necessary to get familiar with the mistakes many retailers make and fail as a result.

Poor market research

This is the major failure cause in every industry. Frequently, entrepreneurs neglect a careful study of a market which inevitably leads them to a setback. Without sound knowledge of your niche, competitors, and demand, you`re likely to fall short. Therefore, make sure to conduct a holistic market analysis, and the more insights you get, the better.

Inaccurate business plan

Entrepreneurship at the development stage is subject to great risks in the absence of a clear business plan. Calculate the rental costs, security payments, purchase of goods, salary, equipment, and necessary documentation as accurately as possible. Put down the dates by which you will be guided during the first year of work. Mention what results you expect to achieve and by what time. A sound business plan will also help you persuade investors and raise funds as a result.


In case you want your store to be offline, make sure to select the best location. If you are considering a shopping mall, take enough time to study it. Does this shopping center correspond to your area of activity and price category?

Independently assess the traffic capacity of the outlet. Are competitors presented in your segment? Where will your boutique be located? Keep in mind that landlords often offer startups not the most profitable places to rent, thus acting in their own interests.


A good entrepreneur should be able to set priorities wisely. While some points can be financially neglected, others require a lot of resources. Spare no expense when it comes to strategically important aspects like product development and support service.

Sometimes founders grudge money for their project which results in poor quality and dissatisfied customers. It doesn`t mean you have to spend all your savings on design, though. Just allocate your budget carefully.

Wrong team

One of the most common failure causes is a poor team. Entrepreneurs have to act quickly and therefore might hire wrong specialists in this hurry. Be sure to evaluate the people who work in your team.

Pay special attention to the strategic posts like executives as they have a lot of influence on the overall startup performance. Boost your employees`motivation, conduct trainings, and build an enabling corporate culture to avoid team-associated risks.

5 Skills Every Retailer Needs

You`re almost ready to launch your retail store! Finally, we`ll share the qualities and abilities a retail founder should possess to succeed.


Retail is one of the most fast-growing areas, which can change as swiftly as possible, adapting to all new external circumstances and requirements. All retailers are going through transformation processes, often the exchange rate changes in a day. So the ability to quickly respond to these changes is the most important skill in modern conditions.


In a highly competitive market, your aim is not just to hire a highly qualified specialist, but to build efficient cooperation between the team members. According to our observations, in the conditions of the pandemic, more advanced retailers began to establish project offices and employ strong experts from the market in order to maintain leadership positions.


Emotional intelligence is the ability to control your emotions, as well as be able to feel the emotions of other people, recognize their intentions and motivation. This is an indispensable skill that helps founders build both cross-functional and external relationships. Besides, empathetic entrepreneurs can better feel customers` needs and wants.

In the conditions of turbulence, retailers have to be more inventive and look for new opportunities for business development and partners. The number of negotiations both inside and outside the company has increased, and at the same time the importance of effective interaction skills among employees has increased.

Fast workability

Retailers have to work at super speeds. A competitive market and an ever-changing environment compels this. That is why it is vital for a modern professional working in retail to be able to make decisions quickly and implement them instantly so as not to be left behind by competitors.

Change management

This skill that allows you to implement changes quickly and efficiently. In order for all changes to achieve their goals, it is not enough just to develop them and make a decision on implementation. It is necessary to structure them correctly, ensure acceptance by employees, and then turn them into reality in such a way as to bring measureable and positive results.