Advice for Retailers

How to Create a Retail Enterprise

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

The success stories of retail empires like Walmart and JC Penney are all too familiar -- everyone is appreciative of the fact that the founders of these retailing giants invested lots of effort and sacrifice to create these household names from scratch. You may have the ambition and passion to create a successful retail enterprise of your own -- what are the factors for success that you should be keen on?

In creating a successful retail enterprise you first must appreciate the innate twin-nature of retailing.

Retailing can be seen as being an art and a science. The art perspective of retailing is what forms the visible part of a retail brand. It is this aspect that covers all the creative and artistic inputs that are invested in enhancing the customer experience. Here we are talking about the store layout and overall ambience and the intangible incentives like superior customer service and promotions that all combine to create customer loyalty.

The scientific aspect of retailing basically covers all the analysis that the management must conduct on a continuous basis so as to stay ahead of the competing pack. The business must always be aware of the ever-changing market conditions and customer behavior and in this way be able to respond proactively to these parameters for continued profitability. To create a successful retail enterprise you must take full advantage of the art and scientific aspects to keep your customers fully satisfied i.e. identifying their needs and then providing quality products and value-added services to secure their loyalty.

Creating a successful retail enterprise is not a task that can be achieved single-handedly - you will need the help of a workforce that is skilled in the different aspects of running the business. Your workforce is ideally the greatest asset and appreciating this from the get-go will greatly enhance your effort and vision. Moving forward, you should always seek to develop the skills of your workforce through investing in their relevant training at different levels. Treat your workers right and they will 'own' your vision and help you achieve it.

There is no way you can create a successful modern-day retail enterprise without investing in technology. Technology has permeated all aspects of retailing and it is impossible to efficiently tackle many business practices without a cutting-edge solution or two. Technology will help you manage inventory, purchases and sales, supply chains etc.

You also cannot afford to be ignorant of the global standards that have been set by the industry giants so far. Creating a successful retail enterprise will involve lots of learning from the best and adopting and incorporating what is applicable into your own context. All this should be done for the customer's added satisfaction. Aim to grow one store at a time, learning all the time.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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