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Retail Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs

Conal Yarwood-Frost
2 Nov 2022

Opening your own business is the dream of many entrepreneurs around the world. There are thousands, if not millions, of small-town business ideas floating around out there just waiting for their chance. While it takes time, money, and a lot of elbow grease, running a retail business can be a deeply rewarding experience.

Coming up with profitable retail business ideas is an important part of creating profitable retail business ideas. The retail industry is full of exciting ideas that you can use to find success. No matter what you're interested in, you'll be able to find a retail business idea that suits you and build a detailed business plan around it.

In this blog, we'll be talking about retail businesses in-depth. We'll explain what sets the retail industry apart from other industries, the basics of running your own business, and give you a helpful list of profitable retail business ideas that you could consider for yourself.

What is a retail business?

A retail business is a company that sells goods and services directly to consumers. A traditional retail business would sell its products from a brick and mortar location. If the shop was successful enough, the company would often open a franchise and have multiple brick and mortar stores. This is how big supermarkets and department store brands spread from town to town and city to city.

With the advent of the internet, many retail businesses now have online stores. These online stores have led to greater globalization in the retail space and allow customers to buy products from all over the world. Occasionally, a retail business will choose to operate solely as an online store. There are pros and cons to this and some businesses require a physical store to serve their customers properly.

Why should you get involved in the retail industry?

There are many different reasons an entrepreneur may have for starting a retail business. The retail industry is a vibrant and profitable market, full of like-minded businesspeople. Here are just a few of the benefits of starting a retail business:

  • Many opportunities - In the retail business, there are ample opportunities to express your interests while still making a profit. There are profitable retail business ideas that cover just about every interest, hobby, and consumer need.
  • Community building - We all know stores and businesses that serve as a focal point within a community. A convenience store may become an integral part of a neighborhood while a hobby shop can become a meeting place for hobbyists.
  • Understandable business model - Compared to the thousands of decisions hospitality businesses and manufacturers must make every day, running a retail business is relatively simple. All retail businesses have to worry about is sourcing their products and then using retail pricing optimization to sell them to their customers at a profit. Of course, you do have to consider your retail pricing strategies to do this.
  • Customer relationships - In a physical store location, retail business owners can interact with local customers. This means that they can build professional relationships and improve their customer loyalty.

Variable costs - While starting a new company requires some capital investment, many profitable retail business ideas can be realized with a smaller budget. On the other side of the spectrum, entrepreneurs with substantial capital investment can open luxury businesses to serve more affluent markets.

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Profitable retail business ideas

As we mentioned above, there are small business ideas for every interest and need. If you think of a product or service, it's more than likely that there will be a profitable retail business already selling it. To help you develop your retail venture, we've compiled a list of proven retail business ideas you could open yourself.

Running a retail business takes a lot of hard work and there's no guarantee that you'll be successful. If one of our retail business ideas interests you, make sure you have a solid business plan to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

A barber shop and beauty salon business

If you have a passion for hairstyling, opening a barber shop could be your best option. This retail business idea allows you to express your creative flair while providing a useful service to your community. Some barber businesses employ their stylists full-time while some rent their chairs to them.

Depending on whether you have adequate retail space, you could also offer beauty salon treatments. This can open up an entirely new revenue stream and is one of the best retail business ideas for barber shops and salons.

A flower shop

Flower shops, or florists, sell flowers and various horticultural-related tools and items. This is a great retail business idea for entrepreneurs that enjoy nature and floral design. Flower shops operate on a tight profit margin as their stock needs to sell as quickly as possible before the plants die. Most flower shops get their stock from wholesalers though some will source their flowers themselves.

Some flower shops will also operate as plant nurseries. A plant nursery shop business takes a bigger time investment as you grow the plants, but it can pay off in a big way. If you conduct market research, you'll find a huge market for interesting succulents and houseplants. As long as you balance your profit margin against the time it takes to grow and care for the plants, youโ€™ll be able to come out on top. 

Pet store

The experience of operating a pet store differs wildly from business to business. If your pet store sells live animals, you will be responsible for the happiness and health of your creatures. This makes a pet store one of the more involved retail business ideas on this list. If you don't have the time or knowledge to care for a shop full of animals, you can still sell pet food and pet-related items such as leashes, bowls, and beds.

You could open a specialty pet store if you are interested in exotic animals such as reptiles or insects. If you live in an area without a specialist store, you can become the one-stop pet store for local exotic pet owners in the local market.

Some animals, such as poisonous snakes and spiders, require special permits in some areas and are outright illegal in others. If you plan to sell animals like these, take the time to ensure that you and your customers have the relevant permissions.

Organic food store

Since the 1990s, the organic food movement has grown and broken into the mainstream consumer consciousness. Many customers will travel a little further and spend more money than they usually would to reach an organic food store. This is one of the more profitable retail business ideas on this list.

While a regular grocery store would source its products directly from big food brands and wholesalers, an organic food store often builds relationships with local producers with a few big organic brands sprinkled in. Organic food can be marked up significantly compared to products found in the average grocery store, making it a very profitable business idea.

Organic food stores can often have a lot of crossover with products sold in a health food store. A successful health food store will have a dedicated customer base, so it's worth conducting market research and targeting health food aficionados.

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Auto parts shop business

Working on and around cards is a true pleasure for mechanics. 

An auto parts shop can be a rewarding and very lucrative business for the mechanically-minded that want their own store. Most auto shops either sell a general set of car parts or specialize in a specific brand. Securing the first stock of car parts will take a moderate capital investment, but those parts can then be marked up.

Some car parts businesses will attach themselves to an automobile service station. This completely changes the business model and opens up more revenues. Automobile service stations sell fuel, food, and other items in addition to car parts. Not only can service station retail businesses be very lucrative for their owners, they can also be very useful for local customers.

Electronics store

The electronics market is full of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking for a profitable business. 

In an electronic retail shop business, you can sell everything from TVs to blenders to washing machines. If you're planning to sell high-end electronics and don't have a prior relationship with suppliers, there can be a substantial capital investment when starting out. Many electronics businesses operate via an online store which can help keep overhead costs low.

You can also offer repair services to help your electronics store become a profitable business. Customers in your local market will often prefer to bring their broken electronics into a retail shop rather than send them off to a repair service. You can capitalize on this by offering repair services in your retail location.

The best POS for your retail stores

Now that you have some inspiration thanks to our top retail business ideas, you can start making your dream a reality. One of the first things you should do is use a solid POS system like the Epos Now Complete Solution.

Epos Now developed our hospitality POS and retail POS systems with business owners in mind. With the Complete Solution, you'll be able to take all payment methods, serve customers quickly, and take advantage of our payment processing service.

If you'd like to know more about Epos Now, Get in touch with our expert team below.

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