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5 tips for expanding your retail SME

There are unfortunately many reasons why SMEs fail or struggle to make an impact on their market, one of which is complacency and a lack of ambition. The SMEs guilty of this don’t capitalise on opportunities to expand and grow – and ultimately the retail industry is no exception.

So if you want to expand your retail SME then use some of the following tips to help make this a success.

#1 Carve out a new market

The first thing to do is carry out some thorough market research to help you find areas you could target with your growth. This might be through competitor analysis to see what audiences they are targeting, to simply examining the different trends and style preferences affecting the retail industry.

#2 Plan your expansion

With an idea of what your expansion could look like, you need to then plan this out and consider factors like:

  • Staffing
  • Increased supply and demand
  • Additional resources
  • Costings of these
  • Timeframes

#3 Physical or temporary?

When you think of ‘expansion’ this immediately suggests new buildings and locations and if that is what your aims are then you need to think beyond the shop floor.

On top of your new retail units you’ll probably need new office space, storage facilities and depots and potentially more delivery and supply vehicles.

There’s also the option to set up ‘pop ups’ as temporary locations. This can be good for improving awareness of your expansion and brand, and for saving on larger purchasing or rental costs.

#4 Tailor your products

Different demographics and locations (international ones in particular) will have different tastes and likings and you need to make sure your products are designed to meet these preferences. Your market research will help inform this, but also running consumer surveys and additional competitor analysis will also give you a better idea of what these audiences expect.

#5 Make your expansion known

What good is your expansion if your customers don’t know about it? The final part of your growth needs to be an awareness campaign and to do this you could roll out some of these approaches:

  • An email marketing campaign to your mailing lists.
  • Contacting the local press to create a launch event in your new area.
  • A leafleting campaign.
  • New branding on your website and social media platforms.

There will of course be costs involved when expanding your retail business, but the way to look at this is as an investment in the future and security of the company you’ve worked so hard to grow. An extra piece of advice here is to seek professional financial advice if you’re ever unsure about exact costings, this way you can feel more assured that your expenditure is justified.