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Retail Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Retail Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your retail business plan.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their retail companies.

Retail Business Plan Template & Sample

Below is a retail business plan template to help you create each section of your retail store business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Artisan Home & Decor is a startup retail shop located in Pasadena, California. The company is founded by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing a store and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor. Joyce is confident that her ability to effectively manage employees, customer relationships, and retail operations will help her establish a profitable retail store. Joyce plans on recruiting a team of highly qualified sales associates, accountants, and buyers to help manage the day to day complexities of retail – marketing, sales, budgeting, sourcing, and purchasing.

Artisan Home & Decor will provide uniquely curated home decor products created by local artisans. The home decor shop will be the ultimate choice for customers in Pasadena who value one-of-a-kind pieces for their homes. Artisan Home & Decor will provide its customers with a refreshingly personalized shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else. The shop’s sales associates will be able to help customers find the perfect pieces to suit their individual preferences and styles.

Product Offering

The following are the products that Artisan Home & Decor will provide:

  • Lamps & Lighting
  • Throw Blankets
  • Photo Frames
  • Cookware Sets
  • Kitchen Gadgets
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Fixtures
  • Waste Baskets
  • Soap Dispensers

Customer Focus

Artisan Home & Decor will target home decor shoppers looking for a personalized experience and unique pieces in Pasadena. The company will target boomer, millennial, and gen z  consumers looking for unique decor for their homes, apartments, or condos. They will also target businesses looking for special pieces to furnish their corporate offices, waiting rooms, and lobbies. No matter the client, Artisan Home & Decor will deliver the best communication, service, and high quality products.

Management Team

Artisan Home & Decor will be owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing retail stores and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor.

Joyce Hernandez has recruited her former assistant manager, Melissa Jacobs to come on board to help her manage Artisan Home & Decor. While Joyce will oversee the employees, day-to-day operations, and client relationships, Melissa will be the Inventory Manager. She will be in charge of sourcing, purchasing, and pricing all inventory. Melissa will work directly with suppliers to stock the retail shop with unique artisan pieces.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of California with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She has been working at a local retail home decor company for over a decade as an assistant manager. Melissa has an eye for design and keen organizational skills that will allow her to effectively manage Artisan Home & Decor’s one-of-a-kind inventory. Her communication skills will enable her to establish and maintain working relationships with artisans and suppliers.

Success Factors

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified team of sales associates and interior design experts that are able to provide a personalized customer experience and help each client find the right home decor pieces to suit their preferences.
  • Artisan Home & Decor will bring fresh inventory into their retail store on a regular basis so there will always be something new for customers to check out. In addition to in-store sales, the company will sell pieces online through its website.
  • Artisan Home & Decor offers one-of-kind pieces created by local artisans to suit a wide variety of home decor styles and tastes. By purchasing from the shop, customers are supporting these local artisans and getting fresh decor that no one else will have.

Financial Highlights

Artisan Home & Decor is seeking $210,000 in debt financing to launch its retail business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing and building out the retail space and purchasing the initial inventory. Funds will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs for print ads, website and SEO marketing initiatives, and association memberships. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Retail space build-out: $25,000
  • Retail store shelving, displays, equipment, supplies, and materials: $40,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $120,000
  • Marketing costs: $15,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Artisan Home & Decor.

retail store business development plan

Company Overview

Who is artisan home & decor.

Artisan Home & Decor is a newly established retail company in Pasadena, California. The new home decor shop will be the ultimate choice for people looking for uniquely curated one-of-a-kind furniture and other home products crafted by local artisans. Artisan Home & Decor will provide its customers with a refreshingly personalized shopping experience they can’t get anywhere else. The shop’s sales associates and experienced interior designers will be able to help customers find the right pieces to suit their preferences and styles.

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to provide a personalized shopping experience for serving customers in-store and online. The team of professionals and sales associates are highly qualified and experienced in interior design, home decor, and the customer experience. Artisan Home & Decor removes all headaches and issues of the home decor shopper and ensures all issues are taken care off expeditiously while delivering the best customer service.

Artisan Home & Decor History

Artisan Home & Decor is owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing retail stores and the education on how to run a retail business, she is ready to start her own company. Joyce is confident that her ability to effectively manage employees, customer relationships, and retail operations will help her establish a profitable retail store. Joyce has begun recruiting a team of highly qualified sales associates, accountants, and buyers to help manage the day to day complexities of retail – marketing, sales, budgeting, sourcing, and purchasing.

Since incorporation, Artisan Home & Decor has achieved the following milestones:

  • Registered Artisan Home & Decor, LLC to transact business in the state of California.
  • Has a contract in place to lease the retail space.
  • Reached out to numerous local artisans to advise them on the upcoming retail shop in order to start getting supplier contracts.
  • Began recruiting a staff of sales associates, interior designers, an accountant/bookkeeper, marketing director, and assistant manager to work at Artisan Home & Decor.

Artisan Home & Decor Services

Industry analysis.

The retail industry in the United States is valued at over $4T currently and is forecasted to reach $4.9T by the end of 2022. This is up from $3.8T in 2019. After a decade of retail decline between 2010 and 2020, the market is rebounding at a surprising rate. There were twice as many store openings as closings in 2021 alone. The number of brick-and-mortar retail establishments is increasing even as ecommerce shopping has grown by 70% in the last three years.

The role of retail stores is evolving and industry operators are discovering in-store experiences are still vital from the customer perspective. Successful brick-and-mortar industry operators are incorporating ecommerce into their business models. Trends include providing ship-from-store and buy online, pickup in store options to give customers more flexibility in the way they can shop. Key success factors include the level of customer satisfaction, product selection, prices, and convenience.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

The precise demographics for Pasadena, California are:

Customer Segmentation

Artisan Home & Decor will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Millennial customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Boomer customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Gen z customers looking for one-of-a-kind home decor
  • Businesses looking for unique decor for their offices, waiting rooms, or lobbies

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Artisan Home & Decor will face competition from other retailers with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Pasadena Home Decor

Pasadena Home Decor provides high-end home decor for the conscientious consumer. Located in Pasadena, California, the home decor retailer is able to provide a tailored shopping experience for its customers. The store’s list of products includes tables, chairs, wall hangings, rugs, vases, photo frames, candles, office decor, and paintings by local artists. Pasadena Home Decor sells online and in-store to give customers flexibility.

Pasadena Home Decor’s promise is to deliver high quality pieces that will stand out. Customers who purchase furniture and home decor from Pasadena Home Decor will be delighted with the customer service, cleanliness of the store, and personalized design services the company offers.

Home Shoppe

Home Shoppe is a California-based home decor retail store that provides outstanding pieces for discerning clientele. Home Shoppe stocks unique furniture and other decor items that are 100% hand-crafted. The owners of Home Shoppe are experienced craftsmen themselves, so they know how quality furniture and home decor pieces should be made. Clients can depend on their selection of products for durability, style, and eco-friendly materials. Choose Home Shoppe for your next home decor project and let the sales team take the stress out of the redecorating process by helping you select the best products for your home.

Redecorating For You

Redecorating For You is a trusted Pasadena retail company that provides superior home decor products for shoppers in Pasadena and the surrounding areas. The shop offers an extensive inventory of home decor items in a variety of styles so there is something for every taste. Redecorating For You is able to provide premium pieces that fill every space with elegance and style. The shop also eases the stress of redecorating by providing in-store pickup and delivery options for busy customers.

Competitive Advantage

Artisan Home & Decor will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Artisan Home & Decor will bring fresh inventory into the store on a regular basis so there will always be something new for customers to check out. In addition to in-store sales, the company will sell pieces online through its website.
  • Artisan Home & Decor offers one-of-kind pieces created by local artisans to suit a wide variety of home decor styles and tastes.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Artisan Home & Decor will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Artisan Home & Decor will make redecorating easy for customers by providing in-store shopping, pickup, delivery, online shopping, ship-from-store, and buy online-pickup in store options.
  • By purchasing from the shop, customers are supporting local artisans and getting fresh decor that no one else will have.

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Artisan Home & Decor is as follows:

Social Media Marketing

The company will use various social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat to promote the shop, feature artisans, and show off new pieces. The marketing director will oversee the social media marketing activities to grow the customer base.

Professional Associations and Networking

Artisan Home & Decor will become a member of professional associations such as the National Retail Federation, California Retailers Association, and the Home Furnishings Association. The company will focus its networking efforts on expanding its network of clients, designers, and artisans.

Print Advertising

Artisan Home & Decor will invest in professionally designed print ads to display in programs or flyers at industry networking events, in home decor publications, and direct mailers.

Website/SEO Marketing

Artisan Home & Decor’s marketing director will be responsible for creating and maintaining the company website. The website will be well organized, informative, and list all of the products currently available for purchase online.

The marketing director will also manage Artisan Home & Decor’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that any time someone types in the Google or Bing search engine “Pasadena home decor retailer” or “home decor store near me”, Artisan Home & Decor will be listed at the top of the search results.

The pricing of Artisan Home & Decor will be premium and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive value when purchasing the one-of-a-kind products.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Artisan Home & Decor.

Operation Functions:

  • Joyce Hernandez will be the Owner and Manager of the store. She will oversee all staff and manage day-to-day operations. Joyce has spent the past year recruiting the following staff:
  • Melissa Jacobs – Inventory Manager who will be responsible for sourcing, purchasing, pricing, and maintaining the inventory.
  • Robert Brown – Staff Accountant/bookkeeper who will provide all store accounting, tax payments, and monthly financial reporting.
  • Bill Johnson – Marketing Director who will provide all marketing and sales activities for Artisan Home & Decor including maintaining the website, social media, print advertising, and promotions.
  • Julia Smith – Lead Sales Associate & Designer who will manage all sales associates and provide design services for customers.


Artisan Home & Decor will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.

9/1/2022 – Finalize contract to lease the retail space.

9/15/2022 – Finalize personnel and staff employment contracts for the management team.

10/1/2022 – Finalize contracts for suppliers.

10/15/2022 – Begin networking at industry events and implement the marketing plan.

10/22/2022 – Begin moving into the Artisan Home & Decor shop.

11/1/2022 – Artisan Home & Decor opens for business.

Artisan Home & Decor will be owned and operated by Joyce Hernandez, a retailer who has worked as a store manager of a local home decor store for nearly a decade. Joyce has recently graduated from California University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Now that she has gained real-world experience managing a store and the education on how to run a retail business, she is inspired to start her own company, Artisan Home & Decor.

Melissa is a graduate of the University of California with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. She has been working at a local retail home decor company for over a decade as an assistant manager. Melissa has an eye for design and keen organizational skills that will allow her to effectively manage Artisan Home & Decor’s one-of-a-kind inventory. Her communication skills will enable her to establish and maintain working relationships with suppliers.

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Artisan Home & Decor are the retail fees they will charge to the customers in exchange for their products. The shop will charge a healthy margin to make sure artisans are paid well for their products while ensuring a solid profit for the business.

The cost drivers will be the overhead costs required in order to staff a retail store. The expenses will be the payroll cost, rent, utilities, store supplies, and marketing materials.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

  • Store shelving, displays, equipment, supplies, and materials: $40,000

Key Assumptions

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Average number of items sold per month: 300
  • Average sales per month: $90,000
  • Retail space lease per year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, retail business plan template faqs, what is a retail business plan.

A retail business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your retail business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target market, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your retail business plan using our Retail Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Retail Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of retail businesses, some examples include: Specialty Store, Off-Priced/Used Goods Store, Department Store, Convenience Store, Drug Store/Pharmacy, Discount Store, Hypermarket, and E-commerce.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Retail Business Plan?

Retail businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

A solid retail business plan with comprehensive financial statements will help show investors your are well-prepared to start your own business.  A retail business plan template will help you quickly and easily get started.

What are the Steps To Start a Retail Business?

Starting a retail business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Retail Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed retail store business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include supporting market research, your potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, marketing strategy, your competitive advantages and detailed financial projections.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your retail business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your retail business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Retail Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your retail business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your retail business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Retail Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your retail business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your retail business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Where Can I Get a Retail Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free retail business plan template PDF here . This is a sample retail business plan template you can use in PDF format.

Other Helpful Business Plan Templates

Ecommerce Business Plan Template Clothing Store Business Plan Template Beauty Supply Store Business Plan Template T-Shirt Business Plan Template


Strategic Retail Planning Process: The Right Way To Do It

Download our free Retail Strategy Template Download this template

Get ready to chart a new course in the retail industry! The waters are rough, with economic uncertainty, consumer expectations shifting, and game-changing megatrends like e-commerce, sustainability, and digitalization shaking up established business models.

The traditional approach to strategic planning is no longer enough to steer you to success. But don’t get discouraged just yet! 

In this article, we'll explore why the usual approach is falling short and reveal a proven, highly effective 6-step retail strategic planning process. We’ll show you a real-world example of a strategic plan from one of the largest global retailers. 

We'll also arm you with a comprehensive retail strategic plan template to help you create and execute a winning strategy that will gain your organization a competitive advantage and unlock growth potential. 

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

Why the Traditional Approach to Strategic Planning in Retail Falls Short

  • 6 Steps of Highly Effective Strategic Retail Planning  
  • Retail Strategic Plan Example + Template 
  • The Key to Retail Success in 2023: An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan

Free Template Download our free Retail Strategy Template Download this template

Today's retail market demands a different approach to strategic planning, as long-term planning cycles and spreadsheets are no longer effective. This traditional approach is disconnected from day-to-day operations and business leaders focus too much on planning and perfecting their strategies instead of executing them. As a result, their strategies are bound to fail before they even hit the ground.

Here’s why:

  • Dynamic market conditions and global supply chain disruptions: The retail industry is constantly changing, making it hard to stick to a long-term plan.
  • Digitalization and technology disruptions: Digital transformation requires quick action and rapid adaptation across all levels of the organization, but the traditional approach can’t break through organizational siloes and keep up with the pace of change. 
  • Increased consumer expectations: With customers' expectations constantly shifting, relying on the slow and rigid approach to strategic planning can result in a market share loss. 

These factors highlight the need for a more flexible, adaptable approach to the strategic retail planning process and retail operating model. By adopting an execution-first mindset, data-driven, and flexible approach to retail strategy, retailers can accelerate their digital transformation , stay ahead of the competition and deliver profitable growth. 

📚 Recommended read: Strategy study: How Costco's Unique Business Model Resulted In Global Success

6 Steps of Highly Effective Strategic Retail Planning   

In the steps below, you’ll discover how to develop a retail strategy on a corporate level, connect the dots between strategy and day-to-day execution, and integrate fast adaptability into your retail operations. 

Let's unpack how you can get it right:

1. Start with a situational analysis

The first step of effective strategic retail planning is conducting a thorough situational analysis. This strategic analysis involves evaluating both internal and external factors that may impact your retail business.

One useful tool in this process is a SWOT analysis , which evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your retail business. 

The internal analysis should look closely at your company's strengths and weaknesses, while the external analysis should examine the opportunities and threats in the competitive landscape , economic conditions, industry trends, and broader market forces.

You can also take advantage of other analysis tools for a more in-depth analysis of the external environment, such as PESTLE analysis or Porter’s 5 Forces . 

💡Here's a pro tip: Even if you’re planning at a corporate level, you shouldn’t neglect your key stakeholders in this step. These people will be responsible for bringing your retail business strategy to life, so it's important to get their input. Here are some examples: 

  • Your retail marketing team will tell you more about your competitors, market segmentation, and target market demographics. Plus, they should give you insight into which growth and marketing strategies are best for different target markets. 
  • Your merchandise management team can give you insights into merchandise planning and pricing strategies that work best to maximize turnovers. 

On top of that, when they're a part of the process, they'll feel more invested in making your strategy a success.

📚 Recommended read: How To Effectively Co-create Strategy At Your Organization (Recap of the workshop led by Ilana Rosen, Director of Strategy at Old Navy)

2. Get insights from your consumers

Consumer-centric strategies are one of the key factors in securing a successful retail business. Did you know that companies can reduce operational costs by 10 to 25 percent as a result of improved customer experience and digital transformation? That's why it's important to get insights from your consumers.

Your goal needs to be to have a complete, 360 view of your consumer. You can start by looking at demographics. What’s your target audience? What are their backgrounds, habits, and motivations? What does their typical customer journey look like? 

By informing your retail strategy with consumer insights, you’ll be able to ground your strategy in data and set your business up for success. Let’s look at Nike , for example. They realized that a large portion of their customers were young athletes who wanted more from their gear to enhance their performance. This insight led to the creation of Nike's innovative "Dri-Fit" line, which has become a staple for athletes around the world.

By conducting a comprehensive consumer behavior analysis, you will gain a better understanding of consumer behavior and their needs. With these insights, you can then identify areas for improvement, innovation, and strategic opportunities for growth. 

📚 Recommended read: How Nike Runs The Sportswear Game

3. Develop an overarching retail strategy, set objectives, and build a roadmap

In the second step of effective strategic retail planning, you'll want to outline general business intent, formulate your overarching retail strategy and build a strategic roadmap. This includes defining your strategic priorities and key retail objectives, and determining the measures of success. 

To help you with this process, you may find it helpful to use a strategic plan template, such as this one → Retail Strategy Template by Cascade . 

To create a robust strategy and roadmap, there are several key elements that you should include:

🔎Focus areas: Outline the specific areas of the business that your strategy will focus on. For example, a focus area for a retail business might be boosting digital growth, improving customer experience in-store, expanding into new markets, elevating customer omnichannel experience, or enhancing inventory management. 

📌Key Retail Objectives: Define specific, measurable, time-bound, and achievable objectives for each strategic focus area. For example, increasing customer satisfaction by 10% in the next 12 months, or launching a new e-commerce platform within the next six months.

📈Measures of Success: This defines how the success of your strategies will be evaluated. For example, a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for a retail business might be customer satisfaction scores, the number of active loyalty customers, market share, or online sales growth. 

📤Action Plan: Break the overall strategic plan down into smaller, short-term, and specific actions or projects you need to take to achieve your long-term objectives and prioritize the most critical initiatives. This might include launching a new mobile app, investing in a new CRM system, hiring additional staff, improving on-shelf availability, or training employees on customer service.

📅Timelines: Establish deadlines for key milestones and deliverables to ensure you stay on track and meet your objectives.

😎Owners: Identify who will be responsible for executing each aspect of the strategy. This could include anyone from your senior management or division managers. 

💰 Budget: Allocate financial resources that will be required to implement strategies and keep track of the budget spent. 

By including these key elements in your retail planning strategy and roadmap, you'll have a clear understanding of where you want to take your business and how you'll get there. The roadmap will serve as a guiding principle as you move forward with the rest of your strategic planning process and strategy execution.  

👉 Here’s how Cascade can help you in this step: 

With Cascade’s strategic planning feature , you'll have a clear, visual representation of your strategic plan and roadmap, making it easy to see how each aspect of your strategy fits together and how you're progressing toward your goals.

timeline feature roadmap plan in cascade

Say goodbye to confusing and complex spreadsheets - with Cascade, you'll have all the information you need in one place. And, the best part? It's not just a pretty picture - Cascade helps you track progress and measure success, ensuring that you're always on the right track to achieving your retail objectives.

4. Align retail operations with the overarching business strategy

Step three is all about getting your people on board! Sharing the company strategy with your teams is crucial. Not only does it give them a clear understanding of what the big picture looks like, but it also helps ensure their daily efforts are connected to corporate goals.

However, one of the key problems in the goal-setting process , especially in larger, complex, and multinational organizations, is that it can become "opaque — with clarity diminishing" as goals are passed down through the hierarchy, according to the report Reimagining Performance Management from AICPA & CIMA and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

With Cascade, it's easy to cascade corporate goals and make sure everyone's focused on the right strategic initiatives to keep the business moving forward and delivering on the corporate strategy. 

👉 Here’s how Cascade can help you: 

With Cascade, you can easily link strategic objectives to individual business unit plans or departmental plans, so you and your teams can see the direct connection between their initiatives and their impact on corporate goals.

strategic alignment in cascade

Plus, it makes communication and cross-collaboration between teams a breeze, so everyone is always in sync. Say goodbye to misaligned efforts and hello to a seamless, aligned strategy execution with Cascade.

5. Time to execute your retail strategic plan!

The fifth step is all about putting your plan into action! It's time to stop just talking the talk, and start walking the walk. You've developed a fantastic retail strategy, now it's time to share it with the world (or at least, your organization). Make sure everyone understands your overarching retail business strategy and how it fits into the bigger picture. Here are some tips to help you communicate it effectively:

  • Make it accessible: Don't hide your strategy in a dusty PowerPoint presentation; make sure it's available in one easily accessible place for everyone in the organization. This will help you to keep strategy relevant and alive throughout the execution phase. 
  • Lead by example: As a leader, you should set the tone and lead by example. Encourage everyone to take ownership of the strategy and be proactive in its execution.
  • Use different communication channels: Different people prefer different communication styles, so make sure to use a variety of channels. Ankur Gupta, Principal of the Strategic Planning Office at FedEx, suggests regular town halls and announcements from the senior leadership. Try intranet sites, regular meetings, and daily standups. Or personally visit the company’s retail stores. This will help you to build trust with store managers and frontline workers and get buy-in into what needs to be done to successfully execute your strategy.  

By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to executing your retail strategy and achieving your goals!

Cascade creates a centralized place for your strategy and is easily accessible to everyone who needs to be involved in strategy execution. Plus, you can manage your organization's strategy in a secure hub, allowing only those with permission to access sensitive information.

6. Monitor and adapt as you go

In this final step of the strategic retail planning process, it's crucial to have an effective performance management system in place to monitor progress, analyze performance, and make data-driven decisions. The goal is to make sure the retail business stays on track to achieve its objectives and to make quick adjustments along the way. 

Here’s what you should do in this step to ensure successful strategy execution: 

  • Move beyond manual reporting: Many retailers rely on manual methods of compiling reports, which can be time-consuming and result in missed opportunities. To access sales performance, cost, and profitability information in real-time, it's essential to embrace automation and end-to-end visibility in the strategic retail planning process and its execution.
  • Establish an effective performance management system: Regular quarterly reviews, scheduled progress reports, a rewarding system, and one-on-one syncs with key team leaders can help ensure the retail business stays on track to achieve its objectives. Cascade provides a single source of truth that reveals in real-time if goals have drifted, making it easier to make any necessary adjustments.
  • Connected data sources: Connect multiple disconnected business tools in one place with Cascade’s integrations , reducing context switching and maximizing efficiency.
  • Live dashboards: Get real-time visibility into your business's performance with Cascade's live dashboards . Stay ahead of the game by monitoring critical metrics regularly and making data-driven decisions with ease.

dashboard in cascade

  • Progress reports: Get regular updates on how your retail strategy is performing with Cascade's progress reports. Track progress, identify areas for improvement, and stay on track to achieve your objectives.

Tired of spending hours and hours putting together reports for the management board? Tedious! Let's face it, manual reporting can be a real drag.

But with Cascade, you can focus on what really matters - analyzing business performance and making data-driven decisions. So, you can impress the management board with spot-on, accurate strategy reports that show how their business is doing. 

Retail Strategic Plan Example + Template

Ready to start crafting your own execution-ready plan? To make your strategic planning process easier, we’ve created a real-world inspired strategic plan based on Costco’s, the world’s third-largest retailer, annual report. 

Here’s what Costco’s strategic plan would look like following the strategic planning model we outlined in step 2 above: 

Focus area: Efficiency 

Objective: Reduce our costs without sacrificing quality

Actions: Expanding the in-country sourcing options / Acquire and develop cloud-based software to manage logistics of big and bulky items / Decrease the Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) by 18%

Measures: Net sales, COGS, delivery time  

Here’s a preview of Costco’s strategic plan template:

costco strategy plan template

When you sign up, you'll get instant access to a template pre-filled with Costco's examples. Now, keep in mind that this template is meant to be an inspiration. We encourage you to customize the template, fill in the elements, and align it with your retail strategy.

👉 Click here to get instant access to the strategic plan template pre-filled with Costco’s examples.

The Key to Retail Success in 2023: An Execution-Ready Strategic Plan 🚀

In the fast-paced retail world, having a solid strategic plan is crucial, but it's just the first step. The real game-changer is executing that plan flawlessly. That's where Cascade comes in to revolutionize the traditional approach to strategic retail management and strategic planning. With Cascade, you can turn your vision into a tangible and actionable plan that's ready to be executed.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to soar to new heights and connect the dots between planning and execution with Cascade.

Start today with a free forever plan or book a guided 1:1 tour with one of our Cascade in-house strategy execution experts.

Retail Strategic Planning FAQs

What is the retail mix .

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The Essential Guide to Retail Store Layouts that Shape the Customer Experience

By Kate Eby | October 26, 2017 (updated June 28, 2023)

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Although the retail industry is transforming as technology continues to shape the consumer landscape, the primary goals of a sound retail strategy have not changed: Deliver value in the supply chain and create a unique customer experience. The rebirth of retail stores — after years of digital disruption and economic challenges — is possible if retailers can successfully contend for their consumers’ attention, and in return, earn their business. One way to do this is to design a digital and physical retail environment that captures the overtaxed attention of consumers today.

In this article, you’ll learn about how retail customers predictably behave, why this behavior matters, and how you can influence it with a thought out store layout design. Use the navigation guide on the left to find a collection of essential retail floor plans and discover the pros and cons of each. If you’re ready to plan and design your store, jump ahead to the tips and best practices from professional retail designers, and browse through the design resources to help you imagine and create a new environment that captures your customer’s attention. 

What Is a Retail Store Layout?

A retail store layout (whether physical or digital) is the strategic use of space to influence the customer experience. How customers interact with your merchandise affects their purchase behavior. This retail principle is one of the many from Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, keynote speaker, and founder of Envirosell. 

The interior retail store layout has two important components:

  • Store Design: The use of strategic floor plans and space management, including furniture, displays, fixtures, lighting, and signage. Website designers and user experience (UX) researchers use space management techniques and web design principles to optimize e-commerce websites. We’ll further discuss a variety of popular retail floor plans later in this article.
  • Customer Flow: This is the pattern of behavior and way that a customer navigates through a store. Understanding customer flow and the common patterns that emerge when customers interact with merchandise based on the store layout is critical to retail management strategy. Physical retailers are able to track this using analytics software and data from in-store video and the wifi signal from smartphones. For example, solution providers like RetailNext provide shopper analytics software for retailers to understand flow and optimize the customer experience based on in-store video recordings. The technology also exists to track the digital customer flow and online shopping behavior. Using “cookies” and other software, online retailers can track customer behavior, including how customers interact with their website.  

While the exterior retail store layout includes exterior store design and customer flow, it also includes the following factors:

  • Geographic location of the retail store (real estate)
  • Size of the building and length of the walkways accessible from the entrance and exit
  • Use of furniture and exterior space for people to gather and interact
  • Style of architecture of the retail building
  • Color of paint and choice of exterior building materials 
  • Design of the physical entrance and exterior window displays

The objective of retail store design is to positively impact customer experience and create value, which is the primary goal of retailers in the supply chain. For more information on retail strategy and management read the article “ How to Survive and Thrive in Retail Management .” 

What Is Store Planning?

Store planning is the designing and optimizing of physical retail stores to upgrade customer experience and maximize sales. It involves determining the ideal store size, layout, fixture placement, signage, and product placement to create a visually appealing and engaging shopping environment.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning Store Layouts that Maximize Your Space

It is essential to understand your customer flow and the general patterns of navigation in your specific retail environment before you can optimize customer experience and plan a strategic store layout. Retailers, consultants, store planners, interior designers, and architects all use a variety of retail floor plans and concepts to influence customer flow and behavior. Retail giants along with small, independent retailers can improve customer experience, and in return, long-term profitability with efficient store layouts. In Store Design and Visual Merchandising: Creating Store Space That Encourages Buying, author Claus Ebster offers valuable insight into maximizing your retail space. 

Step One: Target The First Floor

The first step to maximize your profitable retail space might be the most unavoidable, however the principle and knowledge behind the customer behavior is crucial for understanding your overall design strategy. Ebster’s research indicates that customers prefer to navigate the floor of a retail store they initially entered. Walking up and down stairs or using elevators and escalators to navigate a store hurts customer flow. When possible, planning for a single floor store design will optimize the customer experience. Exceptions exist, such as downtown locations where real estate is at a premium or large department stores with multiple categories of merchandise. Further, Ebster points out that retailers should consider customer perception if they are a luxury retailer, as shoppers often associate multi-level stores as “elite.” Conversely, if a discount retailer is planning store layouts, as customers associate single floor layouts with “less high-end” merchandise. Consider your overall retail strategy and store layout design prior to selecting your store location. If you have multiple floors, account for the preferences of first floor shoppers by using this space for the feature or high-margin merchandise in your retail mix. 

Step Two: Identify Customer Flow

Ebster presents some general rules for customer traffic. Customer flow patterns vary depending on the type of retailer, the size of the store, and the target customer. Ebster encourages retailers to use their observations to discover the problems and opportunities unique to their environment. The next step in maximizing your space for profitability is identifying your customer flow. The most effective method for understanding your existing customer flow and identifying areas of opportunity is video recording and heat mapping analysis. This service is available via solution providers such as Prism (you can also do a quick online search for heat mapping consultant services in your area). However, setting aside different times of the day to make in-store observations in person and recording your notes is a step in the right direction for identifying customer flow patterns. 

Step Three: Avoid The Transition Zone

After you identify how your customers navigate your entire retail space, turn your attention back to the entrance. The transition zone area, coined the “decompression zone” by Underhill, refers to the space just beyond the entrance to a retail store. The average customer needs this space to transition so they can familiarize with the new environment. Underhill is adamant that nothing of value to the retailer, not high-margin merchandise, prominent signage, or brand information goes inside this zone. Customers need time, however brief, to adjust to new lighting, smells, the music, and the visual stimulation in the store. 

Step Four: Design for Clockwork Navigation

The next step moves beyond the transition zone and shifts the focus on how to leverage a customer’s tendency to navigate the retail environment. The area just outside of the transition zone is where most retailers make a first impression. Customers consistently turn right after entering the store and continue to navigate the store in a counterclockwise direction. Ebster points out that this customer behavior repeats itself time and again in consumer research. Although researchers and design professionals have different explanations for the reaction, in general, many recommend displaying high-margin merchandise and valuable information just to the right of the entrance (outside of the transition zone). Underhill popularized the “invariant right” and proved the effectiveness of the technique with thousands of hours of video. 

Step Five: Remove Narrow Aisles 

Finally, follow your customer flow through the transition zone and around the retail space in a counterclockwise pattern. Search for tight spaces or bottlenecks along aisles or around fixtures and displays. Repeated analysis of Underhill’s video research demonstrates that customers in the US — women in particular — value their personal space when shopping. If a customer is touched, bumped, or otherwise interrupted when interacting with merchandise, they are likely to move on from the items or exit the store altogether. Ebster uses customer behavior research from one study of a supermarket to further advocate for broader aisle design. Video analysis showed fewer customers entering narrow aisles in the store compared to the more expansive, accessible walkways. These aisles send positive signals to shoppers and positively impact customer flow and merchandise interaction. Avoid narrow aisles and corridors when planning your store layout and strive to protect customers from what Underhill coined as the “butt-brush effect.” 

Essential Retail Store Layouts

Once you research and understand how customers navigate your store, you can start influencing how they interact with the merchandise. The foundation for this strategy is the design of your store floor plan. To create an environment that strategically emphasizes the desired purchasing behavior, it is essential to use all of the floor space you have allotted for merchandise, base your layout on the principles of customer behavior, and not sacrifice customer flow for artistic taste. With these factors in mind, the following are common store layouts for your consideration.

Forced-Path Store Layout

Forced Path Store Layout

This layout directs the customer on a predetermined route through the retail store. As an example, Ebster uses furniture retailer IKEA to demonstrate the use of the forced-path store design. Research shows that, with this type of store layout , IKEA achieves a uniform and efficient customer flow that promotes higher sales. 

Ebster discusses the advantage of a forced-path layout: Every aisle in the store is maximized. With customers exposed to all of the merchandise offered, this design might entice the customer to make an unplanned purchase. However, he points out that using this store layout risks irritating shoppers that have a specific task and desired location, and could also overwhelm shoppers by hurrying them through an experience of customers all moving in one direction together, quickly.

Grid Store Layout

Grid Store Layout

The grid store layout design is a familiar, repetitive pattern favored by retail drugstores like Walgreens and hardware stores like Ace Hardware. According to Ebster, there are multiple advantages to the grid layout, including the following: 

  • Customers can move quickly through an efficient floor space using standard fixtures and displays. 
  • The presentation is uniform and comfortable due to its popularity, creating a seamless customer experience. 
  • Design simplifies inventory control for the retailer - a key to retail strategy that leverages store design to maximize profitability. 

However, the downside of this layout is the lack of aesthetics and the “sterile and uninspiring” environment often associated with its use. To counter this, Ebster recommends effective signage to guide customers and create a “cognitive map” of the store. 

Loop Store Layout

Loop Store Layout

Also known as the “racetrack” layout, think of the loop design as the “yellow brick road” of retail store layouts. Ebster uses this analogy to describe the way a loop store layout uses a path to lead customers from the entrance of the store to the checkout area. This is a versatile choice for store design when implemented with another layout style or used as a prominent feature of the retail store. Ebster recommends this layout for a larger retail space (over 5,000 square feet) and encourages a clear and visible loop for customer flow. 

Designers accomplish the loop effect by making the floor path a standout color, lighting the loop to guide the customer, or using a different floor material to mark the loop. Lines are not recommended, as they can be a psychological barrier to some customers, potentially discouraging them from stepping away from the loop and interacting with merchandise. Ebster encourages a loop design that rewards the customer with interesting visual displays and focal points on the way to the checkout area. 

Straight Store Layout 

Straight Store Layout

The straight store layout is efficient, simple to plan, and capable of creating individual spaces for the customer. Plus, a basic straight design helps pull customers towards featured merchandise in the back of the store. Merchandise displays and signage is used to keep customers moving and interested. 

Liquor stores, convenience stores, and small markets use the straight design efficiently. However, the drawback is the simplicity: Depending on how a customer enters the store and moves past the transition zone, it may be more difficult to highlight merchandise or draw them to a specific location. 

Diagonal Store Layout

Diagonal Store Layout

Just as the name implies, the diagonal store layout uses aisles placed at angles to increase customer sightlines and expose new merchandise as customers navigate through the space. A variation of the grid layout, the design helps guide customers to the checkout area. Small stores can benefit from this space management option, and it is excellent for self-service retailers because it invites more movement and better customer circulation. 

When the checkout is located in the center and possibly raised up, the diagonal layout offers better security and loss prevention due to the extra sightline effect. The downside of this layout is that it doesn’t enable the customer to shortcut toward specific merchandise, and the risk of narrow aisles is higher.  

Angular Store Layout

Angular Store Layout

The name of this design is deceptive, as the “angular” store layout relies on curved walls and corners, rounded merchandise displays, and other curved fixtures to manage the customer flow. Luxury stores use this layout effectively because, according to Herb Sorenson’s research from Inside the Mind of the Shopper: The Science of Retailing, customers notice free-standing product displays 100 percent of the time (end cap displays - those at the end of aisles - also get noticed 100 percent of the time). 

There is a perception of higher quality merchandise that the angular layout leverages to target the appropriate customer behavior in that environment. And although this design sacrifices efficient space use, because of the rounded displays and limited shelf space, if a retailer has sufficient inventory storage away from the sales floor, this layout is useful in creating a unique perception. 

Geometric Store Layout  

Geometric Store Layout

Popular with retailers targeting trendy millennials and Generation Z demographics, a geometric layout offers artistic expression and function when combined with the appropriate displays and fixtures. The unique architecture of some retail stores, including wall angles, support columns, and different ceiling styles mix well with the uniqueness of a geometric layout. 

Merchandise displays and fixtures of various geometric shapes and sizes combine to make a statement, often as an extension of the retailer's overall brand identity. Clothing and apparel stores use a variety of environmental merchandising strategies (for example, music, scents, and artwork) with the geometric layout to enhance the customer experience.  

Mixed Store Layout

Mixed Store Layout

The mixed store layout uses design elements from multiple layouts to create a flexible option for retailers. Department stores use a compelling mix of straight, diagonal, and angular concepts, among other design elements, to create a dynamic flow through a range of departments featuring a variety of merchandise. 

Large grocery store chains also successfully combine mixed store layout elements. For example, customers have the flexibility to navigate through a grid layout for their basic groceries but feel compelled to search the angular displays featuring high-margin wine, beer, and imported cheeses. The advantages of combining different store layouts seems apparent, but the space and resource requirements to maintain this design can pose difficulties to retailers. 

What Is a Free Flow Store Layout?

Free Flow Store Layout

A free flow layout rejects typical design patterns and styles commonly used to influence customer behavior. In a free flow layout, the intent is not to lead the customer using predictable design patterns, displays, or signage. There are no specific design rules followed for this retail store design, and customers have more liberty to interact with merchandise and navigate on their own. For this reason, the free flow layout is sophisticated in its simplicity.

Ebster points out that customers feel less rushed in this creative environment. Retail stores look less sterile in the free flow design, and merchandise may seem more intriguing. The only limitation for retailers using this layout is the overall space available, but that doesn’t mean that the research on customer navigation behavior and tendencies shouldn’t be accounted for as well. The main disadvantage to this experimental design layout is the risk of confusing customers past the point of their preferred behavior and disrupting customer flow. 

What Is a Boutique Store Layout?

Boutique Store Layout

According to Ebster, the boutique layout (also called shop-in-the-shop or alcove layout) is  the most widely used type of free flow layout. Merchandise is separated by category, and customers are encouraged to interact more intimately with like items in semi-separate areas created by walls, merchandise displays, and fixtures. Typically used by boutique clothing retailers, wine merchants, and gourmet markets, this layout stimulates customer curiosity in different brands or themes of merchandise within the overall category. 

  • The downsides of the boutique layout include the following factors:
  • Reducing the total display space for merchandise with inefficient space management 
  • Encouraging too much exploration of separate areas within the store 
  • Confusing customers past the point of purchasing behavior. 

Ultimately, the exploration can distract from customer interaction with the merchandise.    

Retail Store Design Tips From The Pros

Jaina Rodriguez

Jaina Rodriguez is a Creative Director of the Integrated Design-Retail Design Studio at Microsoft. She is adamant that store design is important and should not be overlooked when designing the customer experience. 

“It is everything! The look, feel, and sounds evoke feelings in consumers and the more it resonates, engages, comforts, or surprises them, the more likely they are to purchase or become a fan, which leads to [more] fans,” says Rodriguez. “If [the design] is too loud, has obstructed or confusing pathways, which some retailers use as a sales tactic, no rhyme or reason [...], it is not conducive to customers spending more time [in store] or converting sales.” 

A store’s layout design is not an isolated advantage for retailers. Rodriguez points out that the customer experience is influenced by more than the overall layout. “It’s a mix of thoughtful moments — placement of product stories and unassisted digital experiences throughout the [store] footprint — mixed with sales people that help consumers make decisions quickly and effectively.”

“I think alongside [customer] flow is understanding the sales data to help better inform where you want to [attract] the customer and what the overall experience is from the front to the back of the store,” says Rodriguez. “For a store footprint [design] within a mall, a commercial shopping area, or [inside] a third party retailer (for example Best Buy or Target), understanding the key players around your area and their sales tactics should be a priority. Many companies make the mistake of copying what others are doing, which creates more confusion. People have brand loyalty and want to see differentiation and a reason to move from their comfort zone.”   “Best Buy does this well,” says Rodriguez. “They do a great job with a mix of digital innovations, retail pros and the Geek Squad. They can entice the customer via emails, push alerts via their app, digital experiences throughout the store, assisted and unassisted sales, and tech help to ensure your product is ready to use or installed properly. Basically, they cover all the bases from start to finish and while they don’t always hit the mark, they are open to innovation and trying and measuring new ways to reach the customer base and beyond.” 

Rodriguez does not agree with all of the store layout design and “storytelling” that Best Buy uses throughout some of their locations. For example, she believes the video game section could be designed to be more cohesive and less scattered in different spaces. 

Authenticity Creates Real Customer Experiences

When it comes to designing the retail store and customer experience, Rodriguez has a specific message. “Be authentic and real,” she says. “Create memorable moments to build and keep fans.” 

“So many companies are obsessed with going viral, ROI (which is important), and creating something they think is cool, that they forget why they are doing it. Building fans and purveyors of quality takes time and not every campaign or interactive experience you install will hit the mark,” adds Rodriguez. 

“Sometimes it hits the mark but the reaction is delayed. There is no way to measure whether someone saw a great campaign or experienced a digital innovation you created and if that led them to buy months down the road. But the reality is those authentic and real moments stick with people and it takes time [...] The focus should be continuing to be authentic and real — negotiating and editing with successes and failures, but never wavering on those two things.” 

Rodriguez points to Nordstrom and Tesla as examples of retailers that understand the importance of authentic, real customer experiences that are easy and memorable.

“Retailers should remember that not every product or outcome is tangible,” shes says. “Interactive experiences at Tesla showrooms in malls allow consumers, who would otherwise not be able to afford the car or wouldn’t go out of their way to visit a dealership, to build and interact [with a virtual vehicle]. They provide a boutique experience which draws in consumers based on emotion, feelings of nostalgia, and even sex. It puts something out of reach directly into their hands.”

Rodriguez appreciates how Nordstrom varies store design elements and floor plan layouts for different customers and how important balanced design is to the customer experience. “They aren’t afraid to experiment and try new things to see how it affects their broad range of target markets,” she says. “Nordstrom understands the importance of providing varying experiences for many types of consumers, creating pop-ups that change out quarterly (sometimes more frequently), curb-side service, personal shoppers, and even a bar just beyond the most shopped area to loosen up shoppers’ inhibitions and their wallets.” 

Data Drives Design

To know your customer is to know your retail business. The correlation between a retailer's profitability and the customer experience is closer than ever in retail history. For physical retail stores, this experience is connected to the customer’s surroundings — how they navigate the store’s environment, and the flow of attention they spend on your merchandise and messaging. 

The digital, online retail experience follows a similar principle. The design of a website or mobile application, and the user experience the layout creates, is critical to creating value for a customer and in return, has a positive impact on the retailer’s profitability. 

For Rodriguez, data emphasizes the importance of design in the overall customer experience and is a core part of any successful retail design playbook. “Data is essential to creating a memorable and effective experience,” she says. “For online experiences, there must be a mix of testing and best practices.” 

According to Rodriguez, at Microsoft the data collected from customers interacting with digital screens might include the following:

  • Tracking time spent in experience
  • Hot spots (how the customer interacts with the device’s screen)
  • Click Through Rates (CTRs)
  • Impact to sales (ROI)
  • Analysis of other sales/promos during that time to influence

Rodriguez further explains that once data is collected and analyzed and an update is needed, it should happen quickly. If the tests are successful, the formula should be documented and repeated. Using data to design and plan physical or digital retail layouts with the overall experience in mind creates value for customers.  

“Retailers should not make assumptions about their clientele or only make decisions based on their personal experiences, wants, and needs,” says Rodriguez. She adds a reminder to retailers about the importance of aligning the desired experience of the target customer with retail management and the overall retail strategy. She recommends looking to market research and customer data to make the most impact, remembering that executive leadership, for example, may have a store design strategy that data shows is not aligned with the target customer experience. 

“People want their experience to be individualized. [Customers] have become fickle and often are annoyed by an overabundance of help, even if they need it,” she adds. “Algorithms and data are scary to most consumers, but when they realize how it can help to filter and tailor their experience to exactly what they need and want, even before they know they need or want it, the retailer then becomes priceless.” 

The Multi-Channel Mindset

Connecting the customer experience with a mobile friendly retail strategy is important, as people are increasingly dependent on their mobile devices and interacting with the digital world throughout the day. Retail customers use their mobile devices to stay connected throughout their shopping experience. This might include checking prices and inventory availability, or using their device to find physical store location and hours.  

“As a mobile-first world, we sometimes must forgo the shiny experiences and provide a user with a friendly, value proposition-focused customer journey with fewer clicks to get consumers where they need to be,” says Rodriguez. Part of a sound mobile-first retail design strategy, when considering your ecommerce site or mobile application, is simplicity. Mobile design strategy means impacting the customer experience by making shopping easier. 

“From an online perspective, the customer journey should be straightforward, user friendly, and require as few clicks as possible to get the customer where they want to go,” says Rodriguez. “Many consumers stick with what they know until they see the value. Often, this is due to habit or lack of energy to create a new account, enter information, etc.” 

Rodriguez believes that the more a retailer does to simplify purchasing, the more value they add to the customer experience. She uses Amazon’s strategy for linking new services and products based on the customer’s purchasing habits as an example of the “ease of purchase” experience retailers should strive for. 

“Amazon Go and provide ease of shopping at your fingertips without the hardship of dealing with, well, anyone,” says Rodriguez. “This footprint is a great example of how to bring a digital experience into a brick and mortar reality. While they continue to test, their key to success is measuring, monitoring, and reacting quickly to individual consumer needs.”

Mobile applications provide an opportunity for retailers looking to make purchasing simple and easy, whether the customer chooses the brick-and-mortar or digital shopper journey. “Stores with robust mobile apps can add on everything from triggering [...] a mobile push alert when [the customer’s] within a certain distance from a store location,” says Rodriguez. This alert might notify customers of an in-store event or send a specific deal on seasonal merchandise based on the geo-location of the customer. 

“Retailers willing to push the limits of their applications (and spend development dollars) can also use apps to track [in-store] customers and remind [them] of sales or products currently in their cart, request service on the floor with their mobile device, or forgo any interaction with sales reps by ordering everything on their device via scanning barcodes or shopping available stock to have it ready for them at the register,” she adds.   

Video Is a Game Changer

Using video to enhance the digital experience and create customer interaction is a game changer. “Video is key,” says Rodriguez. “Studies show that video on home or product pages have conversion rates between 80-100 percent.” Rodriguez recommends using video in “short, snackable bites.” In addition to online advertising and store branding opportunities on social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, the reduced cost of digital displays and user friendly digital video tools provides retailers with creative, affordable ways to design their stores to leverage video. A couple examples of leveraging interactive video display include the following:

  • Touchscreens: Customers spend an increasing amount of their day interacting with their mobile devices and retailers can leverage this habitual behavior. “Consumers will try to interact with any type of screen out of habit,” says Rodriguez. “This is an opportunity to quickly educate consumers, update content remotely, compare products, and share ratings, reviews, or tech specs.” Rodriguez claims most retailers and businesses using touchscreen presentations or video displays are not taking full advantage of their power. “Most are basically PowerPoint [presentations], or the screens aren’t cared for, or they are turned off, or broken.” She cautions that “customers are too smart and tech savvy” and using this technology in the wrong way can quickly turn a positive effort into a negative customer experience.
  • Streaming Content: Rodriguez highlights a unique in-store content marketing trend for retailers to engage customers. Combining store design and digital technology, retail stores can use strategically placed screens to connect customers to their overall brand message or targeted marketing campaigns. “[...] the online journey should be done first (or in tandem with) the [digital] campaigns and store footprint,” says Rodriguez. “[Digital] experiences are often seen as separate, but the goal should be to create a seamless experience whether the customer is on their desktop at home, their mobile phone, or physically in the store.” 

Sensor Technology

Specialized sensors provide data and interactive customer experiences using video and internet of things (IoT) technology. Sensors benefit retailer and customer, as the data gathered from their use provides insight into customer flow and purchasing behavior. Rodriguez highlights Disney’s use of wristbands to provide visitors with a personalized experience. The device can unlock the hotel room door and change imagery on digital screens to match the visitor’s experience of choice. “This isn’t a tangible thing, but provides a sense of belonging, delight, and memories that will build and keep fans coming back for more for generations to come,” she says. The following are examples of different types of sensor technology that are relevant to retail store design:

  • Heat Maps : A heat map is a visual representation of data. In retail, this data displays how customers interact with merchandise and navigate the retail environment in physical stores using video surveillance to map movement. Heat map technology provides data for online retailers as well, plotting data, and visualizing how a customer navigates and interacts with a website using their mouse for example. 
  • Phidgets : Phidgets are sensors, often used in robotics, that manage different environmental elements. There are many uses for phidget technology, according to Rodriguez. “These are basically sensors that come in a wide array of options such as distance, heat/cold sensing, and seismic,” she says. “There are fun ways these can create interactive experiences, triggering an event when the product is handled and even changing content on the screens when a person approaches the display.”
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Sensors: According to Rodriguez, RFID technology is becoming more popular as retailers experiment with more uses for the sensors including inventory management. “With [RFID] gates installed, supply chain management becomes easier. A retailer can use the tags to sense when a product has moved from the back room to the floor, activate an experience on a screen once a product is picked up or moved, and can take the place of the old barcode system,” she says.  

Top Store Layout Design Strategies that Impact the Customer Experience

Moving merchandise from the end of the supply chain to the customer is a retailer's primary function. Successful retailers do so by creating value and delivering a differentiated customer experience. How customers experience your merchandise is determined by how your store is designed to guide them to interact with it. A retail management strategy that successfully leverages store design to drive customer flow and create unique experiences is a big part of your overall retail brand. It is a proven method for producing the kind of value that keeps retailers competitive and profitable.

Allison Walze

Allison Walzer , Sr. Retail Channel Marketing Manager at Microsoft, believes store design is a direct reflection of your brand and a vital part of staying competitive with e-commerce trends.

“One of the main challenges for stores is how they will stand out from competitors and a busy [retail] marketplace,” says Walzer. “How do they create the convenience and experience to drive customers to come into the store?”

“Store design really has to stand out from the pack right now,” she says. “It’s crucial for brick-and-mortar stores to create experiences that encourage people to visit stores.”

Visual Merchandising Strategy

Visual merchandising is a core retail strategy. It is the “language of the store,” writes Ebster — the way retailers communicate with the customer through visual imagery and the presentation of merchandise. Part art and part science, visual merchandising involves everything that helps create a unique customer experience. The well-lit entryway, the strategically placed furniture, fixtures, and promotional displays combine with the store layout to influence customer behavior and make the customer’s journey efficient, unique, and memorable. 

“[We] are noticing a turn to lifestyle- and experience-driven retail experiences,” says Walzer. “Stores are integrating materials from home or outdoors to create a comfortable, beautiful shopping space that leads to longer dwell time in stores.” She describes a visual merchandising strategy that luxury brand retailers use to promote health and beauty by placing living plants inside their stores. 

Visual merchandising brings together the overall environment of the retail store. It is a strategic element in retail management that distinguishes a retailer from the competition. The type of merchandise offered is a crucial consideration in the how the retailer influences uses visual merchandising elements to target customers. As Malcolm Gladwell writes in his feature article, “The Science of Shopping,” “the clothes have to match the environment.” 

Walzer recommends that retailers deciding how to plan for visual merchandising elements that work for their concept consider their customer flow in a way that guides the customer through “the path to purchase.” 

“Aesop is killing it right now,” says Walzer, when asked about retailers that highlight the importance of store design. “Their stores are beautiful and each one is different and contextual while still keeping in step with their brand. They concentrate on materials and even acoustics to create a personal environment. Each shop is individual and takes the environment and city into account when building a new store. It’s the right approach to make a memorable shopping experience and delights customers with its idiosyncratic design-led principles.”

The visual merchandising techniques that a retailer chooses can alter the customer’s perception of the retailer’s value. Ebster recommends looking at visual merchandising from the customer’s perspective. For more retail merchandising tips and best practices from experts and researchers, check out “ The Art and Science of Retail Merchandising .” 

Zone Merchandising Strategy 

Customers also respond to where products are placed. A zone merchandising strategy combines visual merchandising with your store layout design to highlight high-margin merchandise or merchandise you want featured. Creating zones using walls, merchandise displays, and signage develops semi-separate areas. Merchandise displays are set up as speed bumps to keep the customer in the zone and slow them from leaving the area. 

“Stores need to be thoughtful in their layout, and have clear zones so navigation is easy. Not everyone likes to ask sales assistants for directions,” says Walzer. She recommends creating “instagrammable” moments in-store. “Make it fun and easy for people to share their stories on social media,” she says. This includes using hashtags in messaging, or on merchandise displays, creating “set-designing” zones, and favoring natural light with “unique designs that make for cool backdrops or host events.”

Lighting Strategy

Proper lighting is more than just making sure the customer can see and interact with the merchandise. When done well, light can help structure and influence the customer’s mood while shopping. 

Store planners and designers use lighting solutions to highlight or downplay specific areas of the store to draw in customers and create an environment that works in sync with the retail brand and the merchandise offered. Lighting specialists provide expertise in the appropriate types of lighting for specific store layouts, based on natural light exposure, and can recommend solutions that suit budgets and environmentally conscious business models.

Signage Strategy

Signs serve multiple purposes for retailers. They are the graphic representation of the retailer's brand and merchandise. Signs provide product information for specific merchandise, help customers navigate the store layout efficiently, and create the desired price perception. Retailers should keep signs fresh and updated based on the merchandise offered, the season, or specific promotions. Keep in-store signs and messaging consistent with the brand voice and use standard fonts and colors that are easy to identify and read with your lighting. 

“From a strictly visual perspective, it’s key to have clear readable signage from the outside that leads customers in the store. From there, plan the customer journey from [a] high level,” says Walzer. She recommends using signage that encourages overall shopping (for example, placing old and iconic imagery - specifically for tech stores - towards the front of the store). When the customer arrives at specific merchandise, or the “buy level,” use signage that builds the buy messaging. 

Display Strategy 

The word “display” comes from the French word “deployer”, which means “to unfold.” Far from being exclusive to clothing, however, promotional displays help “unfold” the merchandise you offer to the customer. Along with your store layout design, displays set the stage for your customer’s overall experience when navigating the store. In general, displays come in all shapes and sizes, and refer to the movable units in the store that feature merchandise such as tables, racks, or gondolas. 

Careful selection of the type and placement of displays is crucial to the overall retail strategy of using space management and store design to influence customer flow and in-store behavior. Also, treat displays as flexible, cost-effective investments and ask your product manufacturers and suppliers about providing low-cost options specific to their products and brands.

Fixture Strategy

If displays are the flexible, freestanding, and modular units used to present merchandise, then fixtures refer to the more permanent units in the store. Counters, wall mounted shelving units, support columns, and bench seating are examples of fixtures. The purpose of fixtures is to coordinate your store layout and influence customer flow and interactions. In other words, they are designed to impact the customer flow and bring attention to merchandise in a consistent, familiar environment. 

In general, fixtures are less versatile than displays and in-store design layouts, but when planned carefully, they become a defining part of a retail space. Walzer recommends minimal, clean, and uncluttered fixtures, and modular signage areas to promote offers. Fixtures need to drive a premium look and feel. Materials that are “authentic and have some warmth to them” work best (real wood versus laminate, stone or marble versus coated plastic, glass versus acrylic).    

“Fixtures should be made from premium authentic materials that are durable and uplevel the experience,” says Walzer. “If the table is shoddy and falling apart, why would you want to buy what is merchandised on it?” 

Window Strategy

Windows welcome customers from the outside and draw them into the store where layout design and the various elements of visual merchandising go to work. The window display requires careful attention to lighting, size of display units, type of merchandise featured, props (like mannequins), and signage. Because the customer has yet to enter the store, a window display must combine all of the visual merchandising elements to successfully pique the customer’s interest and promote the retailer’s brand and personality. 

Communal Design Strategy 

Concentrate on how to create community and engagement with store design. “What makes a consumer want to come and repeatedly spend time in a retail store in the digital age will be based on the feeling you get when you are shopping,” says Walzer. “Create a rapport with the customer, pull in elements from the community as part of the design inspiration. If there is a local artist or ceramist or musician, use those pieces in the stores.” Walzer mentions the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport showcasing Sub Pop artists and Pearl Jam artwork as an example. “[They] are currently doing a great job. It’s creating pride for residents and a sense of joy for travelers, who are also customers that purchase Sub Pop gear at the store.”  

Other Space Management Considerations

As discussed, the visual presentation of merchandise and the influence of store layout design is vital to retail strategy. There are also functional considerations involved in the overall store layout that impacts the customer experience. One example is to keep design functional with the overall space. 

“It’s not so much about the space as how the space is designed,” says Walzer. “If it’s a crowded or awkward space, build in open walkways, keep merchandising elegant. If it’s a large space, don’t let it look too cavernous. Create walkways to guide the purchase journey with easy wayfinding.” 

The following is a list of additional space management factors to consider:

  • Legal Requirements: Review the standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to understand the legal requirements for retailers in the United States. For example, the ADA requires a minimum of three feet of aisle width for customer accessibility. Consult with qualified professionals if you’re planning changes to your store layout design that may impact customer accessibility. 
  • Seating: Provide customers with comfortable seating to enhance the overall customer experience and slow customers down. Clothing stores with dressing rooms are the primary example of this strategy in use. According to Ebster, an extended store visit increases the likelihood that customers make a purchase.
  • Checkout: The checkout area of a retail store is critical to more than cash handling and payment processing. This space accommodates all customers and a variety of interactions, and is typically the last area to make an impression on customers. Depending on the store layout, the checkout area provides additional visual merchandising opportunities. Retailers use this space to encourage impulse purchases of complementary merchandise while customers wait to pay.
  • Back-of-the-House Operations: The retail store layout should factor for store operations and activity like shipping and receiving, inventory storage and retrieval, and the employee’s overall workspace and break area. Storage options are essential to the overall store layout design because it impacts how much merchandise you will feature on the sales floor where customers navigate. Ebster recommends keeping the customer in a flow state and focused on shopping. Therefore, maintaining back-of-the-house operations concealed from customers is a visual merchandising strategy.

Retail Store Layout Design and Planning Resources

Store layout planning and design is a profession all its own. The design knowledge and planning skills required to develop an entirely new retail store, modify an existing floor plan, or even remodel a specific area of your store is a daunting task for retailers focused on attracting customers and earning revenue. The good news is that an entire network of design professionals, store planners, project managers, architects, contractors, and more operate and serve in the largest private sector employment category of the U.S. economy. The following resources are available to retailers looking to explore store layout design and planning: 

  • National Retail Federation (NRF) : The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association. Operating in the U.S. and in 45 countries, their mission is “to advance the interests of the retail industry through advocacy, communications, and education.”
  • Retail Design Blog: Architects, designers, visual merchandisers, retailers, brand managers, and fans submit pictures and projects about retail design. It includes store and exhibit design, fashion merchandising, visual merchandising content, and more.
  • Store Design and Visual Merchandising: The website design:retail covers retail trends, products, and projects, and publishes an aggregate list of products and services. 
  • Retail Design Institute: The Retail Design Institute is the largest and oldest not-for-profit store planning and design organization. Founded in 1961, members include architects, graphic designers, lighting designers, interior designers, store planners, visual merchandisers, resource designers, brand strategists, educators, trade partners, trade media, and students of design. The website publishes a list of design resources .
  • American Society of Interior Designers (ASID): ASID is a multi-disciplinary professional organization for interior designers, students, and retail manufacturers and suppliers that satisfy the organization's acceptance standards for accreditation. Members receive access to services by industry experts in legal assistance, human resources, liability and disability insurance, and more.
  • NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer: NCIDQ Certification tests for industry design standards, and for public health, safety, and welfare. More than 30,000 people are NCIDQ certified, an international standard for interior design professionals by The Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ).
  • VMSD (Visual Marketing and Store Design) : The VMSD magazine and website provides retail professionals with “innovative retail design ideas, visual presentations, new products, merchandising strategies, and industry news and events.” VMSD hosts the annual International Retail Design Conference (IRDC)   
  • Pinterest : Explore store design concepts and ideas through photography and project images posted by a variety of sources. 

Retail Store Layout Software

One application you can use to create diagrams of store layouts is Google Drawing, a free software application available in the Chrome Web Store . For store planners, retail consultants, design professionals, or the aspiring DIY retailer, there is a market for drawing and floor planning software to help you create professional retail store layouts. 

The following list of solutions offers diagramming tools that let you customize existing store layout templates and explore different design ideas. Drawing software provides libraries of design elements for architecture, furniture, fixtures, and floor plan specific symbols. Like most SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions today, some of the solutions listed below offer customer support and tutorials, cloud hosting features, and software integration with your existing store management software and standard operating systems. 

  • Microsoft Visio
  • EDrawSoft Floor Plan Maker
  • ConceptDraw PRO 
  • FloorPlanner
  • Lucidchart Floor Plan Software

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How to Start a Retail Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

If you’re thinking about starting a business in the retail industry, you’re in good company. Although local retailers don’t get the same level of attention as nationwide brands do, small retail businesses actually make up the vast majority of all U.S. retail businesses.

In fact, researchers found that small retailers (with 50 or fewer employees) made up 98.6% of all retail businesses in 2019. To break into this vibrant industry and open a store of your own, therefore, you first need to understand how to start a retail business.

To help you through the process, we’ll guide you through all the steps required to start a retail business, as well as offer additional resources to assist you on your startup journey.

retail store business development plan

How to start a retail business in 10 steps

These steps will have you running your retail business in no time. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Find your niche.

The first decision you'll need to make in order to learn how to start a retail business is figuring out your company's niche. You may already have an idea of the type of company you want to form, or you may still be grappling to figure out where to focus your retail company. To determine your niche market, we recommend:

Explore your interests and passions: Determine what you love doing or what you'll enjoy selling.

Brainstorm potential conflicts: No industry is perfect, but figuring out what obstacles or issues you could encounter in your niche will help you plan ahead and determine if an industry is a good fit for your business.

Consider profitability: At the end of the day, you want to make money from your retail business, so you'll need to find a niche that has the potential for profitability. Generally, if your niche has absolutely no competitors, it's usually a sign there's no demand, and therefore, your focus will not be profitable. Use our guide to learn more about the most profitable business ideas.

Research competitors: Once you've found a niche market using the above three steps, it's time to research your competition. Figure out how they're marketing and selling and determine what you can learn from them and how you can improve upon what they have to offer.

Retail business examples

Deciding on your niche can take a long time. It requires significant research and the passion to work within a particular market. To help you get started in identifying your niche market, here are a few retail business examples worth exploring:

Coffee shops

Apparel shops (eyewear, sports apparel, undergarments, outerwear)

Restaurants and bars (determine a theme, whether that's the cuisine, small plates, a canteen, etc.)

Game centers (board games, video games, etc.)

Monthly box subscriptions

Pet supply shop

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Step 2: Write a business plan.

We don’t doubt that you have an amazing idea for a retail store, but an idea alone isn’t enough to turn a dream into a reality. By writing a business plan, you’re providing yourself (and, potentially, future lenders and other stakeholders) a physical roadmap detailing every step you’ll take to open and run your retail business.

Therefore, when you're crafting your business plan for opening a retail store, you can start by answering essential questions about your business model:

What kinds of products are you selling?

Will you open a brick-and-mortar location, an e-commerce website , or will you take an omnichannel selling approach?

Who is your target market, and how will you market to them?

How will you set your store apart from your competition?

You’ll also need to dig into details related to your processes, answering questions such as:

Who are your vendors? How will you store your inventory?

How much staff will you need?

What will your hiring process look like?

What will your startup costs be?

How much money will you need to launch?

How long will it take for you to break even?

How long will it take for you to make a profit?

Keep in mind, however, that your preliminary business plan is exactly that—preliminary. You can always return to your retail store business plan to make changes, updates, and additions as you gain experience with starting and running your business.

Create a business budget

Along the same lines, you should also create a business budget, to the best of your ability, well before you’ve opened your doors. At this stage, you should be paying especially close attention to your startup costs.

Unfortunately, if you're wondering how to start a retail business with no money, you're going to find it's extremely difficult. Although there a variety of ways to cut costs—selling online instead of opting for a physical location, for example—there will always be a handful of costs associated with starting and launching your retail store.

This being said, in addition to standard startup costs like equipment, business insurance, and payroll, if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar retail store, you’ll have to cover some specific costs, like a down payment, potential renovations, and monthly rent and utilities for your store. You’ll also be responsible for purchasing your merchandise, shipping and delivery costs, and storing excess inventory.

And don’t forget about the other tools and software you’ll need to run your business, including a POS system, retail accounting software, and a security system to monitor shoplifting and theft.

Step 3: Register your business.

With your business plan and budget in hand, you can now move onto the next step involved in learning how to start a retail business—making it official.

Come up with a business name

If you haven’t already, you’ll first need to come up with a business name. Choose a name that reflects your business’s purpose and brand identity, allows you room to grow, and, perhaps most importantly, is actually available for use.

Once you’ve landed on your dream business name, run your moniker through a Google search to make sure another entrepreneur isn’t already doing business under that name. Then, check for trademark filings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and conduct a Secretary of State business search to make sure there isn’t another business in your area with your potential name.

Once you’ve established that your name is free and clear, you'll want to buy your domain name and create social media accounts with your name. That way, you can build a business website and launch your marketing strategy ASAP.

Determine your legal structure and register your business

Next, in order to register your business, you’ll first need to decide on your business’s legal structure. Your business structure determines how you’re taxed, the degree of legal protection you’re afforded, your business’s ownership structure, and your ability to receive business funding (in addition to allowing you to register your business in the first place).

There are lots of business entities to choose from—all of which we overview in detail in our guide to types of business entities. Additionally, we’d highly recommend consulting a business attorney or accountant to guide you through this crucial step.

Once you’ve landed on a business entity type, you can go ahead and register your business through your state’s Secretary of State website. After that, head over to the IRS' website to apply for an EIN (employer identification number) online. Your EIN is a bit like your business’s social security number, and it’ll help the government identify you for tax purposes. You might also need an EIN to apply for a business loan down the line.

Step 4: Obtain licenses, permits, and business insurance.

Some states require a general business license, while others require licenses and permits at an industry level. You may also need to acquire local permits and licenses, so consult your county or city clerk’s website for their particular requirements, too. The SBA is an excellent resource for licensing and permitting information at both the federal and local levels.

For those learning how to start a retail business, you’ll likely need to obtain multiple retail licenses related to your field, including a resale certificate, seller’s permit, and a certificate of occupancy. We also recommend partnering with a trusted business attorney during this step.

Additionally, you won't want to forget about business insurance. As a retailer, you should consider general liability insurance, a business owner’s policy, and business crime insurance; and as an employer, you’re likely required by law to carry workers comp insurance, health insurance, and unemployment insurance for your staff.

Take a look at our guide to small business insurance for more information on the types of coverage you need.

Step 5: Find a physical location and build an online store.

If your retail business will include a physical store, finding the right location is arguably the most important aspect of this process. Your location can make or break the success of your business: If you’re located in a heavily trafficked area, then your marketing efforts are practically built-in. If it’s in a tough-to-find location, or if parking is limited, then your bottom line might suffer.

The right location for your business depends largely upon who your target market is and where they hang out. If you’re opening an upscale boutique, for example, you probably want to choose a neighborhood that skews less toward students and cash-strapped millennials, and more toward people with some discretionary income to burn.

Of course, you’ll also have to keep in mind how much space you need for display areas, a back-office and break room for your staff, dressing rooms, and an inventory storage area. Your location will also depend largely upon how much room you have in your budget for renovations, store design, remodels, updates, a down payment, and your monthly rent and utility bills. That may mean opting for your second or third choice location to protect your budget.

Build an e-commerce store

Even if you always dreamed of a brick-and-mortar store with in-person transactions, we also recommend opening an online store to give your retail business as much exposure as possible.

Luckily, building and managing an online store is incredibly easy with an e-commerce platform. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Shopify: This platform provides an infinitely customizable, standalone store that you build and manage entirely on your own.

Squarespace or Wix: These business website platforms are simple to use and offer e-commerce functionalities.

Etsy, Amazon, or eBay: These popular marketplaces will provide you with plenty of built-in traffic and handy seller tools. On the downside, you won’t have as much control over your branding, customer relationships, or fulfillment process as you would with your own e-commerce store.

The combination of e-commerce and in-person retail is sometimes referred to as "bricks and clicks." You can use our guide to learn more about the bricks and clicks business model.

» MORE: How to start an online boutique

Step 6: Establish relationships with vendors and suppliers.

This is the next step to learning how to start a retail business—and beyond your store’s location, arguably one of the most crucial aspects of your potential success—is finding trustworthy vendors and suppliers. Your vendors might become your most valuable partners and a great vendor can present you with new merchandise, determine which products will sell best, and cut costs for you.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind as you’re searching for vendors.

Budget: Your vendors need to work within the supplier budget you’ve established.

Quality: The quality of their merchandise is crucial.

Reputation: You want to work with a supplier who is guaranteed to deliver your agreed-upon items on time and in good condition—every time you place an order.

Customer service: Remember that you’ll be working closely with your vendors, so their service team must be reliable, personable, and easy to contact in case you run into any issues.

We recommend establishing relationships with several vendors. Even if your vendor of choice is stable, reliable, and cost-efficient, you need to have a contingency plan in place—without merchandise to sell, you won’t have a business to run.

Step 7: Hire staff.

If you’ve never hired an employee before, take a look at our guide on how to hire great employees who’ll stick with you for the long run. When hiring for a retail position, make sure to interview as much for their attitude as you are for their experience. While you can train your employees to use your POS system and manage your inventory, you can’t teach them to be kinder, friendlier, or more trustworthy than they innately are.

In advance of hiring your first team member, make sure you understand your state-regulated employer requirements. Your state might require that you buy certain types of insurance for your staff. Additionally, you’ll probably need to complete some other steps, like creating a state withholding account for payroll, reporting new hires, and verifying your potential new hire’s employment eligibility as well.

Step 8: Find the right POS system.

Your POS system just might become your retail business’s best friend. It’ll certainly become your employees’ best friend—assuming you choose an intuitive, easy-to-use model, of which there are tons on the market right now.

A point of sale system combines hardware and software that enables your business to accept and process all kinds of payments. Most POS software is loaded with valuable back-end capabilities, like inventory management, employee management, CRM tools, sales reports, and vendor tracking.

If you’re opening a brick-and-mortar location, you’ll need a POS system that can accept cash, checks, contactless payments, and both chip and swipe cards. In addition, you’ll need a barcode scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer.

For more flexibility, you might want to look into a POS system that allows on-the-go payments, too. For example, Square (and most other POS systems) has mobile card readers that plug into your phone or tablet so you can accept payments from virtually anywhere, whether that’s at a pop-up shop, craft fair, or trunk show.

Similarly, Clover also has a fully equipped, handheld POS device so you or your staff can ring up your customers from anywhere in your store.

Ultimately, you have options—a lot of them. To help you navigate the selection process, consult our guide on the best retail POS systems.

Step 9: Organize your finances.

As we mentioned earlier, it's nearly impossible to figure out how to start a retail business with no money—so, whether you have a large amount of startup capital or are operating on a tight budget, it's extremely important to organize your finances.

First, you'll want to open a business checking account . If you’re happy with your current bank, you may want to open a business bank account there. It’s logistically easier for you to maintain all your finances with the same institution. In addition, many banks offer discounts and other incentives when consumer clients open business accounts. If you want to compare your options, we recommend looking into our best business bank accounts guide.

Next, you'll want to get a business credit card . Most credit card companies allow business customers to apply for a business credit card online—which makes this step even easier than opening a business bank account.

If your business is too new to have any financial data, you can provide your personal financial information on your application. If you’re approved, you’ll receive your card in the mail in about a week or two. Use it for your business’s smaller, daily expenses, and be mindful of only using it for business-related purchases to maintain personal and business financial separation.

Get funding

Most entrepreneurs need a little (or a lot of) financial help to get their businesses off the ground. That may be especially true of retailers and brick-and-mortar business owners, who have a few extra startup costs to contend with.

Although it can be difficult to get a business loan as a startup, there are a variety of alternative options you can consider, especially as you start to run your retail store and become more established.

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for a good business accounting software solution, which will streamline, automate, and organize your business’s finances.

Step 10: Market your retail business.

At this point, you've learned the most important pieces of how to start a retail business, and now, you're ready to open your doors and get to work.

Of course, to get the word out about your business, you need to develop a small business marketing strategy, which provides you with an opportunity to get a little creative. The best marketing strategies, especially for brick-and-mortar stores, use a combination of SEO, social media, email marketing, paid online marketing strategies (if their budget allows for it), and analog marketing efforts.

At the very start of your venture, your time is best spent building a business website and creating social media accounts. Squarespace and Wix provide users with tons of customizable, professionally designed templates and built-in SEO tools. For social media, focus on creating diverse, high-quality content, posting regularly, and responding promptly to your followers’ comments and DMs—both the positive and the negative.

As a brick-and-mortar store owner, in-person marketing tactics are also important. We recommend:

Getting active in your local retailer community, networking with your fellow business owners, and participating in craft fairs and other events showcasing local businesses.

Partnering up with a local business whose target market is similar to yours and putting on an event together, or hosting pop-up shops or trunk shows in each other’s locations.

Using good sales incentives—like BOGO deals, giveaways, and free trial periods—to draw even more customers into your store.

To boost your marketing strategy, it's important to take some time to develop your brand identity. Establish your messaging, market positioning, and how your unique business can provide your customers with what they’re looking for—then create the materials to reflect those core values.


Start Your Dream Business

The bottom line

As you navigate the business formation steps, be careful not to lose sight of why you’re opening your retail business in the first place. If you remember the passion that inspired you to launch your business, you might even enjoy the finer points involved in the process—who knew finding a POS system could be so fun?

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.

How to Develop a Strategic Plan for Business Development [Free Template]

Meg Prater (she/her)

Published: May 01, 2023

Business development is usually confused with sales , often overlooked, and only sometimes given the strategic focus it deserves. Having a business development strategy, however, is crucial to long-term success. It ensures that everyone in your company is working toward a common goal.

business development professionals looking over strategic plan

But how do you develop a business development plan? Pull up a chair and stay awhile, I’m diving into that and more below.

retail store business development plan

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Business development.

Business development is the practice of identifying, attracting, and acquiring new business to further your company’s revenue and growth goals. How you achieve these goals is sometimes referred to as a business development strategy — and it applies to and benefits everyone at your company.

Business Development framework

It’s not unusual to mistake business development with sales, but there’s an important distinction between the two. Business development refers to many activities and functions inside and outside the traditional sales team structure. In some companies, business development is part of the larger sales operations team. In others, it’s part of the marketing team or sits on its own team altogether.

Because business development can look so different among industries and businesses, the strategy behind this function is expansive. Below, we outline each step in the strategy and how to apply it to your business development plan.

Business Development Strategy

  • Understand your competitive landscape.
  • Choose effective KPIs.
  • Develop long-term customer relationships.
  • Implement customer feedback.
  • Keep your website content and user interface fresh.
  • Speed up your response time.
  • Leverage a sales plan to identify areas of growth.
  • Implement a social listening strategy.
  • Sponsor industry organizations, conferences, and events.

1. Understand your competitive landscape.

Before you can develop a strategic plan to drive business growth, you must have a solid understanding of the competitive landscape in your industry. When you know who your ideal customer is and what problem they are looking to solve with your product or service, research who else is providing a viable solution in your industry.

Identify other companies operating in your space. What features do their products have? How competitive is their pricing? Do their systems integrate with other third-party solutions? Get crystal-clear on what the competition is offering so you know how to differentiate your product to your customers.

Featured Resource: 10 Competitive Analysis Templates

10 Competitive Analysis Templates

2. Choose effective KPIs.

How will you know if your business development efforts are successful? Ensure you can measure your goals with relevant, meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the health of your business. The result of these metrics should give you a strong indication of how effective your business development efforts are.

Featured Resource: Sales Metrics Calculator Dashboard

Sales Metrics Calculator Dashboard

3. Develop long-term customer relationships.

Do you engage with your customers even after the deal has been closed? If not, it’s time to develop a plan to keep your buyers engaged. Building long-term relationships with your customers pays off. A grand majority of a company's business comes from repeat customers, and returning customers are cheaper to convert. Indeed, it’s famously known that it costs five times more to convert new customers than it does to sell to returning customers.

Not only are repeat customers easier to sell to, they can also provide valuable feedback and insights to help you improve your business. Additionally, customer testimonials can be used for valuable content that can attract your next buyer.

4. Implement customer feedback.

If and when you have customers who are willing to provide feedback on your sales process and offerings, make sure you hear them out and implement it. Your customers offer a unique, valuable perspective because they chose your product over the competition — their insights can help shape your strategy to keep your business ahead of the curve.

5. Keep your website content and user interface fresh.

When was the last time your company had a website refresh? Can you ensure that all links are working, that your site is easy to navigate, and that it is laid out and intuitive for those who want to buy from you?

Keeping your website up-to-date and easy to use can make or break the sale for customers who know they are ready to buy. Don’t make it too difficult for potential customers to get in touch with you or purchase your product directly (if that suits your business model).

6. Speed up your response time.

How fast your sales team responds to your leads can make or break your ability to close the deal. If you notice your sales process has some lag time that prevents you from responding to prospects as soon as possible, these could be areas to prioritize improvement.

7. Leverage a sales plan to identify areas of growth.

No business development strategy is complete without a sales plan . If you’ve already established a plan, make sure to unify it with your business development efforts. Your plan should outline your target audience, identify potential obstacles, provide a “game plan” for sales reps, outline responsibilities for team members, and define market conditions.

While a sales plan primarily affects your sales team, it can inform the activities of your business development reps. A sales plan can help them understand where the business needs growth — whether it’s in a new vertical, a new audience, or a new need that’s recently come to light in the industry.

Not sure how to create a sales plan? Download the following template to get started.

Featured Resource: Sales Plan Template

Sales Plan Template

8. Implement a social listening strategy.

While social listening is mainly used in a marketing and customer service context, it’s also an essential practice for business development. There are more than 4 billion social media users worldwide. Naturally, social media is one of the best places to hear directly from consumers and businesses — without needing to reach out to them first.

In business development, you can use social listening to track what the general public is saying about your brand, industry, product offerings, product category, and more. It can help you identify key weaknesses in the industry, making it a prime opportunity to be the first to address those pitfalls.

Use a social listening tool to pick up on trends before they gain traction.

9. Sponsor industry organizations, conferences, and events.

A key facet of business development is reaching potential customers where they are. One of the easiest ways to do that is by sponsoring industry organizations, conferences, and events. This strategy will guarantee that your business development reps get valuable face-to-face time with your business’ target audience. The additional visibility can also help establish your business as a leader in the field.

Now that you understand what business development entails, it's time to create a plan to set your strategy in motion.

How to Develop a Strategic Plan

How to Develop a Strategic Plan

When we refer to a business development strategic plan, we’re referring to a roadmap that guides the whole company and requires everyone’s assistance to execute successfully and move your customer through the flywheel . With a plan, you’ll close more deals and quantify success.

Let’s go over the steps you should take to create a strategic plan.

1. Download our strategic plan template .

First, download our free growth strategy template to create a rock-solid strategic plan. With this template, you can map a growth plan for increasing sales, revenue, and customer acquisition rates. You can also create action plans for adding new locations, creating new product lines, and expanding into new regions.

Featured Resource: Strategic Plan Template

Strategic Plan Template

2. Craft your elevator pitch.

What is your company’s mission and how do you explain it to potential clients in 30 seconds or less? Keeping your elevator pitch at the forefront of all strategic planning will remind everyone what you’re working toward and why.

Some people believe the best pitch isn’t a pitch at all , but a story. Others have their favorite types of pitches , from a one-word pitch to a Twitter pitch that forces you to boil down your elevator pitch to just 280 characters.

Find the elevator pitch that works best for your reps, company, and offer, and document it in your business development strategy.

3. Include an executive summary.

You’ll share your strategic plan with executives and maybe even board members, so it’s important they have a high-level overview to skim. Pick the most salient points from your strategic plan and list or summarize them here.

You might already have an executive summary for your company if you’ve written a business proposal or value proposition . Use this as a jumping off point but create one that’s unique to your business development goals and priorities.

Once your executives have read your summary, they should have a pretty good idea of your direction for growing the business — without having to read the rest of your strategy.

3. Set SMART goals.

What are your goals for this strategy? If you don’t know, it will be difficult for your company and team to align behind your plan. So, set SMART goals . Remember, SMART stands for:

Featured Resource: SMART Goal Setting Template

Download the template now.

If one of your goals is for 5% of monthly revenue to come from upsells or cross-sells, make this goal specific by identifying what types of clients you’ll target.

Identify how you’ll measure success. Is success when reps conduct upsell outreach to 30 clients every month, or is it when they successfully upsell a customer and close the deal? To make your goal attainable, ensure everyone on your team understands who is responsible for this goal: in this case, sales or business development reps.

This goal is relevant because it will help your company grow, and likely contributes to larger company-wide goals. To make it time-based, set a timeline for success and action. In this case, your sales team must achieve that 5% upsell/cross-sell number by the end of the quarter.

4. Conduct SWOT analysis.

SWOT is a strategic planning technique used to identify a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Before conducting a SWOT, identify what your goal is. For example, “We’d like to use SWOT to learn how best to conduct outreach to prospective buyers.”

Once you’ve identified what you’re working toward, conduct market research by talking with your staff, business partners, and customers.

Next, identify your business’ strengths. Perhaps you have low employee turnover, a central location that makes it easy to visit with prospects in person, or an in-demand feature your competitors haven’t been able to mimic.

Featured Resource: Market Research Kit with SWOT Analysis Template

Market Research Kit with SWOT Analysis Template

Your business’ weaknesses are next. Has your product recently glitched? Have you been unable to successfully build out a customer service team that can meet the demands of your customers?

Then, switch to opportunities. For example, have you made a new business partnership that will transition you into a previously untapped market segment?

What are the threats? Is your physical space getting crowded? What about your market space? Is increasing competition an issue?

Use SWOT results to identify a better way forward for your company.

5. Determine how you’ll measure success.

You’ve identified strengths and weaknesses and set SMART goals , but how will you measure it all ? It’s important for your team to know just how they will be measured, goaled, and rewarded. Common key performance indicators (KPIs) for business development include:

  • Company growth
  • Lead conversion rate
  • Leads generated per month
  • Client satisfaction
  • Pipeline value

6. Set a budget.

What will your budget be for achieving your goals? Review financial documents, historical budgets, and operational estimates to set a budget that’s realistic.

Once you have a “draft” budget, check it against other businesses in your industry and region to make sure you’re not overlooking or misjudging any numbers. Don’t forget to factor in payroll, facilities costs, insurance, and other operational line items that tend to add up.

7. Identify your target customer.

Who will your business development team pursue? Your target market is the group of customers your product/service was built for. For example, if you sell a suite of products for facilities teams at enterprise-level companies, your target market might be facilities or janitorial coordinators at companies with 1000+ employees. To identify your target market:

  • Analyze your product or service
  • Check out the competition
  • Choose criteria to segment by
  • Perform research

Your target customer is the person most likely to buy your product. Do your homework and make sure your business development plan addresses the right people. Only then will you be able to grow your business.

8. Choose an outreach strategy.

What tactics will you use to attract new business for your sales team to close? You might focus on a single tactic or a blend of a few. Once you know who your target market is and where they “hang out,” then you can choose an appropriate outreach strategy.

Will your business development plan rely heavily on thought leadership such as speaking at or attending conferences? Will you host a local meetup for others in your industry? Or will your reps network heavily on LinkedIn and social media?

If referrals will be pivotal to your business’ growth, consider at which stage of the buying process your BDRs will ask for referrals. Will you ask for a referral even if a prospect decides they like your product/service but aren’t a good fit? Or will you wait until a customer has been using your solution for a few months? Define these parameters in your strategy.

Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling and cross-selling are a cost-effective way of growing your business. But it’s important that this tactic is used with guardrails. Only upsell clients on features that will benefit them as well as your bottom line. Don’t bloat client accounts with features or services they really don’t need — that’s when turnover and churn start to happen.

Sponsorship and Advertising

Will your BDR work with or be on the marketing team to develop paid advertising campaigns? If so, how will your BDRs support these campaigns? And which channels will your strategy include? If you sell a product, you might want to feature heavily on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re selling a SaaS platform, LinkedIn or Twitter might be more appropriate.

What’s your outreach strategy? Will your BDRs be held to a quota to make 25 calls a week and send 15 emails? Will your outreach strategy be inbound , outbound , or a healthy combination of both? Identify the outreach guardrails that best match your company values for doing business.

Strategic Plan Example

Let’s put all of these moving parts in action with a strategic plan example featuring good ol’ Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

Strategic Plan Example

Elevator Pitch Example for Strategic Plan

Dunder Mifflin is a local paper company dedicated to providing excellent customer support and the paper your business needs to excel today and grow tomorrow.

Here are some additional resources for inspiration:

  • Elevator Pitch Examples to Inspire Your Own
  • Components of an Elevator Pitch

Executive Summary Example for Strategic Plan

At Dunder Mifflin, our strengths are our customer service, speed of delivery, and our local appeal. Our weakness is that our sales cycle is too long.

To shorten the sales cycle 5% by the end of Q4, we need to ask for more referrals (which already enjoy a 15% faster sales cycle), sponsor local professional events, and outreach to big box store customers who suffer from poor customer support and are more likely to exit their contract. These tactics should allow us to meet our goal in the agreed-upon timeline.

  • How to Write an Incredibly Well-Written Executive Summary [+ Example]
  • Executive Summary Template

SMART Goals Example for Strategic Plan

Dunder Mifflin’s goal is to decrease our sales cycle 5% by the end of Q4. We will do this by more proactively scheduling follow-up meetings, sourcing more qualified, ready-to-buy leads, and asking for 25% more referrals (which have a 15% shorter sales cycle already). We will measure success by looking at the sales pipeline and calculating the average length of time it takes a prospect to become closed won or closed lost.

  • 5 Dos and Don'ts When Making a SMART Goal [Examples]
  • How to Write a SMART Goal
  • SMART Marketing Goals Template

SWOT Analysis Example for Strategic Plan

Strengths: Our strengths are our reputation in the greater Scranton area, our customer service team (led by Kelly Kapoor), and our warehouse team, who ship same-day reams to our customers — something the big box stores cannot offer.

Weaknesses: Our greatest weakness is that our sales team has been unable to successfully counter prospects who choose big box stores for their paper supply. This results in a longer-than-average sales cycle, which costs money and time.

Opportunities: Our greatest business opportunity is to conduct better-targeted outreach to prospects who are ready to buy, ask for more referrals from existing customers, and follow up with closed lost business that’s likely coming up on the end of an annual contract with a big box store.

Threats: Our biggest threat is large box stores offering lower prices to our prospects and customers and a sales cycle that is too long, resulting in low revenue and slow growth.

  • How to Conduct Competitive Analysis
  • How to Run a SWOT Analysis for Your Business [+ Template]
  • SWOT Analysis Template and Market Research Kit

Measurement of Success Example for Strategic Plan

We will measure success by looking at the sales pipeline and calculating the average length of time it takes a prospect to become closed won or closed lost.

Budget Example for Strategic Plan

You've laid out the SMART goals and the way you'll measure for success. The budget section's goal is to estimate how much investment it will take to achieve those goals. This will likely end up being a big-picture overview, broken down into a budget by a program or a summary of key investments. Consider laying it out in a table format like so:

Budget Example for Strategic Plan

  • Budgeting Templates
  • How to Write an Incredible Startup Marketing Budget

Target Customer Example for Strategic Plan

Our target customer is office managers at small- to medium-sized companies in the greater Scranton, PA area. They are buying paper for the entire office, primarily for use in office printers, custom letterhead, fax machines. They are busy managing the office and value good customer service and a fast solution for their paper needs.

  • How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business
  • Make My Persona Tool

Outreach Strategy Example for Strategic Plan

Networking, sponsorships, and referrals will be our primary mode of outreach. We will focus on networking at regional paper conferences, HR conferences, and local office manager meetups. We will sponsor local professional events. And we will increase the volume of referrals we request from existing customers.

Create a Strategic Plan for Business Development

Without a strategic plan, you can invest resources, time, and funds into business development initiatives that won't grow your business. A strategic plan is crucial as it aligns your business development and sales teams. With a solid business development strategic plan, everyone will be working toward the greater good of your company.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to create a retail store business plan

By Andrea Nazarian

retail store business development plan

A successful retail business starts with a well-thought-out retail business plan. While you may think you have your business ideas all figured out in your head, putting them down on paper in the form of a business plan is crucial for several reasons. 

In this post, we’ll explore what a retail business plan is, why it’s different from other business plans, what to include in it, common mistakes to avoid, and how to make your plan stand out.

What Is a Retail store business plan and why do you need one?

A retail store business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines your business model, identifies your target customers, and lays out a roadmap for turning your retail store or online shop into a profitable business. 

It’s a planning and forecasting tool that provides clarity and direction for your business. With a good business plan, you’re more likely to achieve success. 

Here’s why having a retail store business plan is essential:

Planning and forecasting

A retail store business plan helps you plan and set clear goals for your business’s short-term and long-term success.

Planning helps you set goals, allocate resources wisely, and stay on track. It ensures that day-to-day operations run smoothly. Forecasting, on the other hand, helps businesses anticipate future trends and challenges, allowing them to make informed decisions and adapt to changing circumstances. 

Together, planning and forecasting help you avoid costly mistakes, reduce labor costs , seize opportunities, and achieve both short-term and long-term objectives. In essence, they’re like a GPS for your retail business, guiding it towards profitability and sustainability.

Securing investment

A retail store business plan helps secure investment by demonstrating a clear and well-thought-out strategy. It shows potential investors that you’ve done your homework, understand your market, and have a solid plan for success. 

The plan outlines your business goals, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections, instilling confidence in investors that their money will be used wisely. It also highlights your commitment and professionalism, making you a more attractive investment opportunity. 

Essentially, a strong retail business plan reassures investors that your venture is a sound investment with a higher likelihood of delivering returns on their capital.

Guiding business operations

A retail store business plan serves as a roadmap for guiding business operations. It outlines your business’s goals, strategies, and tactics, providing a clear direction for daily activities. 

It helps you make informed decisions about product offerings, retail staff scheduling , pricing, local business marketing , online marketing and staffing. The plan also includes financial projections and budgeting, ensuring you manage resources effectively. 

Regularly reviewing the plan allows you to track progress, identify areas needing improvement, and adjust strategies accordingly. Overall, it keeps the business focused, organized, and aligned with its objectives, making day-to-day operations more efficient and effective in achieving long-term success.

Get your team in sync with our easy-to-use, all-in-one employee app.

How is a retail business plan different from other business plans?

Retail businesses are unique in many ways, and your business plan should reflect that. Unlike other businesses, retail operations involve factors such as inventory management , supply chains, order fulfillment, deliveries, and customer returns. 

Here’s how a retail store business plan differs:

Inventory management

Unlike other business plans, retail plans must handle challenges like seasonal sales variations and predicting what customers will buy. Inventory management in retail business plans is about keeping the right amount of products in stock to meet customer demand while avoiding excess or shortages. 

They also need to explain how they get products, where they store them, and how they restock when items run low. In contrast, many other businesses don’t deal with these inventory issues.

Retail store business plans focus more on handling and controlling inventory to make sure they always have what customers want and don’t waste money on too much stock.

Marketing strategy

Marketing strategy in retail store business plans, compared to other business plans, often emphasizes attracting customers to physical or online stores, creating appealing displays, and running promotions like sales or loyalty programs. 

Retail plans typically prioritize reaching a broad consumer base and enticing them with visually appealing products. In contrast, other business plans might focus on more specialized marketing, like B2B partnerships or online advertising. 

Retailers also consider factors like store location and layout, which are less significant for many other businesses. So, simply put, retail business plans concentrate on tactics to draw in shoppers and make their shopping experience enjoyable and memorable.

Growth strategy

Growth strategy in retail store business plans, unlike other business plans, often centers on expanding to new locations, introducing new product lines, or attracting more customers. Retailers aim to increase sales by opening additional stores, going online, or diversifying their offerings. 

In contrast, some businesses may focus on improving internal processes or targeting specific niche markets. 

Retailers typically rely on broadening their reach to fuel growth, making strategies like franchising, adding new store branches, or exploring e-commerce crucial components of their plans. So, in simpler terms, retail business plans tend to emphasize expanding the business footprint and customer base as a primary path to success.

What to do before you start writing your retail store business plan

Research your market.

T horough market research is essential. Investors look for evidence of a healthy market and an unmet need that your business can address.

You’ll want to gather data on who your customers are, what they want, and where they’re located. Analyze your competition to see what makes your business unique. This research helps investors see that there’s a demand for your products or services and that your business can thrive in the market. 

It’s about proving that your idea is well-informed and has the potential to succeed. So, in simple terms, thorough market research shows investors that your business plan is based on a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding.

Understand your competitors

 Know your competition inside out. Understanding what sets you apart is crucial.

You need to know who you’re up against and what makes them tick. Research your competitors thoroughly: their strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. Identify what sets your business apart – your unique selling points. 

Investors want to see that you’ve done your homework and can explain how your retail store will outshine the competition. Maybe it’s better prices, superior quality, or outstanding customer service. 

This knowledge not only helps you stand out but also shows investors that you’re ready to face the competition head-on, which can boost their confidence in your business’s potential success.

Have a growth strategy

Define a clear growth strategy to demonstrate how your business will expand once it’s up and running. It shows investors that you’re not just focused on starting your business but also on making it grow in the long run. 

You can outline different growth strategies like market penetration (selling more to existing customers), product development (creating new products for existing customers), market development (selling existing products to new markets), or diversification (introducing new products to new markets). 

This helps investors understand your vision and how you plan to increase your business’s value over time, making your retail venture a more attractive investment opportunity.

What to Include in your retail store business plan

Business overview.

Provide a high-level description of your retail business, including your company’s structure, location, and the products or services you’ll offer.

Business goals

Explain your business goals, whether they’re related to market share, product ranges, or online expansion.

It should give a clear, simple picture of your retail business. Explain whether your business will operate in a physical store, online, or both. 

Mention the legal name of your company, where it’s located, and briefly describe the products or services you plan to sell. Keep it straightforward and easy to understand, so anyone reading your plan can quickly grasp what your retail business is all about. 

This section sets the stage for the rest of your plan, helping readers get a sense of your business from the get-go.

Your industry experience

In the “Your industry experience” section of your retail store business plan, it’s your time to shine. Tell the readers about your background and expertise, especially if you’ve held important positions in recognized retail businesses. 

If you’ve previously led successful growth initiatives or managed to open new stores that flourished, this is the place to mention it. Basically, this section is all about showcasing your qualifications and experience in the retail world.

It helps build trust and confidence that you’re the right person to turn your retail business idea into a thriving reality. Keep it concise but impressive.

The “ Marketing strategy ” section of your retail store business plan is where you paint a picture of how you’ll present your store to the world. Explain your store’s image, the strategy for your brand, and how you plan to market your products or services. 

Don’t forget to dive into the 4Ps of retail marketing:

  • Product : Describe what you’re selling and what makes it special.
  • Pricing : Explain how you’ll price your products and why.
  • Place : Tell where you’ll sell your products, be it online, in-store, or both.
  • Promotion : Detail your strategies for promoting your store and products.

This section gives a clear roadmap for how you’ll attract customers and make your business a success. Keep it straightforward and compelling.

Financial strategy and forecast

The “Financial strategy and forecast” section of your retail store business plan is where you show the money side of your business. Investors want to see the numbers, so include things like:

  • Estimated capital requirements : How much money do you need to get started and keep going?
  • Profit and revenue models : Explain how you plan to make money and what your sales goals are.
  • Sales volume projections : Predict how many products you expect to sell.
  • Financial statements : Include balance sheets, cash flow projections, and any other financial documents.

These details help investors understand your business’s financial health and potential. Make sure your numbers are realistic and based on careful research and planning.

Management structure

In the “Management structure” section of your retail store business plan, you’ll provide details on how you intend to organize your team and manage your business effectively. This section involves explaining several key aspects:

Firstly, you’ll specify the number of team members you plan to hire. This is essential to understand the size and scope of your workforce.

Secondly, you’ll describe the roles and responsibilities of each team member. This clarification ensures that everyone knows their specific duties and contributes to the smooth operation of the business.

Lastly, you’ll illustrate how each team member fits into your overall business plan. This section helps investors and stakeholders comprehend how your team will collaborate and work together to achieve the business’s goals and objectives. 

A well-defined retail management structure assures potential investors that you have a competent team ready to execute your business plan effectively.

Homebase offers user-friendly employee management tools to streamline team communication , time tracking, and scheduling , helping you refine your management structure. 

Common mistakes to avoid when making your retail store business plan 

A successful business plan is as much about what you leave out as what you put in. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Too much detail

Avoid long, rambling text. Use visuals and graphics when possible and attach heavy content as appendices.

Poor financial planning

Account for growing expenses, taxes, and market influences in your financial projections.

Poor spelling and grammar

Basic errors can undermine how partners and investors view your plan.

Strengthening your business plan

To strengthen your business plan, consider your audience, which may include potential investors, business partners, and financial institutions. Be transparent, avoid exaggerations, and demonstrate the value of your idea.

Conclusion: Finishing your retail store business plan

A well-crafted retail store business plan is more than just a guide; it’s a tool to attract investors, secure funding, and set the foundation for a successful retail business. Leveraging tools like Homebase can help you stay competitive and efficient in the retail industry.

Don’t delay writing your plan—it could be the first step towards realizing your retail business dreams.

FAQs about writing a retail store business plan

What is a retail store business plan, and why is it important.

A retail store business plan is a comprehensive document outlining your retail store business’s model, goals, and strategies. It’s crucial as it provides clarity, attracts investors, and guides daily operations for success.

How does a retail store business plan differ from other business plans?

Retail store business plans are unique due to their focus on inventory management, marketing tactics to attract shoppers, and growth strategies centered on expanding customer reach.

What should I include in my retail store business plan’s business overview section?

In the business overview, provide a concise description of your retail business, including its structure, location, and the products or services you intend to offer.

How can a retail store business plan help secure investment?

A retail store business plan demonstrates a well-thought-out strategy, outlining business goals, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections. It reassures investors, making your venture a more appealing investment opportunity.

What common mistakes should I avoid when creating a retail store  business plan?

Common mistakes include excessive detail, poor financial planning, and grammar/spelling errors. To avoid these, focus on clarity, accurate financial projections, and proofreading.

Remember:  This is not legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, please consult a lawyer, CPA, or other appropriate professional advisor or agency.

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How to Write an Operations & Development Plan for a Small Retail Business

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Checklist for financial internal control, examples of teamwork in a convenience store.

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Wise planning lays the framework for successful small retail businesses. Many business startups begin with a simple business plan outlining the financial goals, methods and markets that affect the business proposal. Plans often expand to include operations and development guidelines to govern day-to-day operations and growth. These plans offer a solution to current problems as well as a forward-looking approach. Clear and concise operations and development plans provide a resource for retail managers that limits risk and provides support for their actions.

Determine the correct actions for employees on all levels. Clearly state in the plan which job titles bear responsibility for which actions and how these relate. Retail store managers typically hold responsibility for personnel staffing, banking, inventory procurement and regular reporting. Managers must also ensure other roles perform their tasks appropriately. Stores often hold sales staff responsible for sales goals, money exchanged during their shifts and customer satisfaction. Store maintenance personnel bear responsibility for store cleanliness, accurate merchandising and upkeep.

Describe in separate sections how each role should fulfill their duties. Explain the intervals at which cash audits, inventory counts, shift changes and other regular duties should occur. Lay out guidelines for store banking, staffing and customer service interactions. These sections serve as valuable training resources for new employees as well as a reminder of correct actions for veteran workers.

Write emergency procedures every role should perform. Retail stores must regularly deal with shoplifting, slip-and-fall incidents, employee or customer injury reports and even the potential of robbery or disasters such as fires. Each store needs a policy on how to deal with these emergency situations as they occur. Placing these in the operations manual gives both employees and managers a way to determine the correct actions during and after these events. Forms, such as robber identification sheets or loss paperwork for shoplifting, should also appear in this section.


Determine the overarching goal for the company. This long-term goal should correspond with the company's vision and flow naturally from the original business plan. Many retail stores seek expansion on a local, national or even international level. Others wish to provide the best quality of service and gain recognition within their field as an industry leader. Some will incorporate these and other qualities into the main goal of the company.

Describe how each employee at every level contributes to this goal. Retail owners, managers and sales staff bear responsibility for many different aspects of the business, and this section serves to inform them as to how that responsibility affects the business as a whole.

Write down specific goals that directly relate to the overarching goal. These serve as milestones and offer a chance for celebration and re-evaluation of goals upon attainment. Each of these entries should represent measurable results and include clear instructions for the attainment of the goal itself.

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  • Re-evaluate business, organizational and development plans on a regular basis. Retail business needs and market situations constantly change, and companies may gain a competitive edge through flexibility.

Nicholas Robbins has been a professional writer since 2008. He previously serviced system issues ranging from operating systems to point-of-sale deployment and global distribution system equipment. He has experience with computer and tech equipment, as well as business relations/management. Robbins studied business at the University of Alberta.

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What is Retail Planning? How to Navigate Planning in Retail (and Why It’s Important)

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By Rachel Hand Last updated on February 13, 2024

retail planning

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Table of Contents

What is retail planning?

What steps are involved in retail planning, 6 steps to create a strategic retail plan, shipbob takes the legwork out of retail planning, retail planning faqs.

The success of a retail business relies on having the right products available at the right time and place.

To do so, having a solid retail planning strategy is key. Before you launch an online business and sell products, you need a plan of action first if you want to make profit.

In this article, we’ll break down the steps of proper retail planning, why it’s important, and how ShipBob can help with the “logistics” side when it’s time to execute.

Retail planning is the process of developing a strategy for retailers to meet customer demand while maximizing ROI using data and other resources.

Taking the time to plan ensures businesses have the right amount of inventory available to meet demand while minimizing risk of having too much inventory tied into capital.

It also involves pricing and observing competition to ensure products are priced right and are delivered quickly and affordably to meet customer expectations.

Why is strategic retail planning important?

47% of consumers are willing to pay more for an exceptional customer experience.

Strategic retail planning is crucial if you want to consistently meet consumer demand and deliver a great experience.

On the flip side, the same number of consumers would be willing to switch to a different brand or retailer after a frustrating experience. This frustration could result from issues like stockouts, delivery delays, and high prices. 

Take for example, how Montgomery Ward had to shut its doors after 128 years in business. The store was struggling to survive in a highly competitive market without anything distinctive to offer.

While there were many factors leading to the demise of the retail chain, the renowned retail brand failed to stock the right kinds of inventory that was in demand.

Strategic retail planning helps retailers stay competitive and foresee challenges and risks, so they can adjust their retail strategy accordingly to meet demand and stay relevant.

There is a lot that goes into retailing planning, but here, we break down the steps into three main major phases.

Merchandise financial planning (MFP)

First, you start by mapping your financial goals against your retail procurement and sales strategy, which is known as “merchandise financial planning (MFP).”

Merchandise financial planning involves sourcing and buying products your customers want to buy, then pricing and distributing them strategically to yield maximum returns on investment.  

Financial planning helps to optimize your inventory investment to satisfy consumer demand while preventing excess stock. With careful financial planning, you’re spending your money only to procure the inventory you need in a given period of time to meet demand.

Sales planning

Next, you put the above process into action by deploying a sales strategy that allows you to meet your financial goals. This stage is all about coming up with a plan to sell inventory and turn it into profit.

Sales planning involves accurate demand forecasting , so you can project the amount of inventory that will be sold in a given period of time. It also involves SKU management and deciding what SKUs will sell and which SKUs might be slower moving.

The best way to plan for sales is to look at your competition, research customer buying behavior and trends, and look into historical order data.  

Inventory planning

Finally, you have the inventory planning process, which involves optimizing your inventory to meet demand and optimize internal costs.

Inventory planning consists of understanding what SKUs perform the best through multiple channels, such as location and sales channels (social media and through other retailers).

For example, if you sell summer apparel, you’ll want to consider where to store the most amount of inventory based on seasonality. You most likely would sell more inventory throughout the year in warmer climates (like California or Florida), then in the Midwest year round.

Considering the key role it plays in ensuring customer satisfaction and boosting your bottom line, a strategic retail plan is crucial for your business.

Here, we break down the six steps to take before execution.

Step 1: Assess the market

A solid understanding of the current market is one of the first steps in retail planning.

By seeing what’s out there in the market and what your competitors are doing, you can better assess where you stand and develop a plan of action.

The SWOT analysis method is a great way to see exactly what challenges and opportunities exist. This involves identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when analyzing your competitors, so you can find your unique space in the marketplace.

For example, your competitor’s strengths may include product quality and exceptional customer service. They may also have a strong reputation that contributes to better recognizability and brand trust.

Meanwhile, their weaknesses may include the lack of multiple payment options. They may also be selling only through a couple of sales channels, which could make their products less accessible to some consumers. 

As for opportunities , you may identify internal ones, such as the use of automation to streamline your processes or the opportunity to expand into multiple fulfillment locations to deliver orders to customers faster.

Threats may be in the form of competitors offering faster and more affordable shipping options. It may also involve disruptions in the supply chain, such as a shortage of raw materials, due to new legislature affecting imports and exports — which impacts the entire market.

Closely analyzing all these factors will help you identify ways to strengthen your retail operations and get ahead of the competition.

Step 2: Understand customer behavior

Without a proper understanding of your target audience, you won’t know which products to sell or how to sell them.

A thorough analysis of customer behavior is essential to understand their needs, pain points, preferences, and motivations.

Some questions to consider include:

  • Are you selling the products customers want?
  • Can customers buy your products through the sales channels they prefer?
  • Are you offering desirable shipping options, such as free or 2-day shipping ?

Ideally, you should employ both quantitative and qualitative research methods to get a 360-degree view of your customer behavior. You could conduct surveys, collect feedback, use online analytics tools, look at historical data, or work with focus groups. 

For example, the brand Innocent Drinks was receiving complaints about having too many banana-based smoothies. The brand listened and came up with a new banana-less smoothie to cater to the demands of customers who still wanted to buy their drinks but craved variety.

If you’re constantly stocking up on items that you assume your customers would like without understanding what they do like, you could face a risk of becoming irrelevant in the market and accumulating unsellable inventory.

Step 4: Set objectives

What gets measured gets managed.

When business objectives are defined, your team will be on the same page in terms of what success looks like for the business.

Make sure to get as specific as possible when creating goals. That means you want to avoid generic objectives. To do so, refer to the SMART goal setting model:

  • Specific : It should answer questions like what you need to accomplish and who is responsible for it. For example, your goal may be for the sales department to close 30% more sales compared to the previous quarter instead of just aiming to “increase sales.”
  • Measurable : Your goal should be quantifiable by having a specific number to work toward. For example, you may aim to drive 1,000 new signups for your product by the end of the quarter.
  • Achievable : It should also be realistic enough to achieve. Consider whether you have the time and resources to accomplish the goal. For example, a 15% revenue growth may be more realistic to achieve than a 50% revenue growth considering the lack of resources. 
  • Relevant : Your goal should also make sense considering your bottom line. For example, a 10% increase in sales will significantly contribute to your revenue growth. 
  • Time-bound : Make sure you specify the timeline by which the goal should be achieved. For example, you may aim to achieve the goal by the end of the current quarter or within two months’ time.

Step 5: Create and implement strategies

Creating and implementing your retail plan can be extremely time-consuming and challenging because there are many moving parts involved.

Before implementing the strategy, be sure to carefully consider factors such as product type range, pricing, placement, marketing and advertising spend, and staffing, among many others.

You’ll need to pay extra close attention to your merchandising strategy ideas as you need to offer the right assortment of products to appeal to your audience. Perhaps you want to specialize in a small variety of high-end products to maintain exclusivity.

Or maybe you want to keep your merchandising mix broad to appeal to a wider variety of buyers. Regardless, it’s important to be strategic with your decision.

For example, as one of the largest footwear retailers in the market, Zappos has an expansive footwear merchandising mix. Their customers can choose from hundreds of thousands of options in multiple categories and from hundreds of brands. 

Additionally, your pricing strategy should be carefully planned to help you drive more profits. Apple’s pricing ladder , for example, is well optimized to maximize revenue. If you opt to spend an extra $X to increase your storage, now you’re only another extra $Y away from a superior device.

Step 6: Monitor performance and iterate accordingly

Finally, once your retail plan has been implemented, it’s time to keep track of performance to see how well the plan is working.

Be on the lookout for any errors or optimization opportunities, so you can quickly take action. Similarly, identify what’s working, so you can incorporate it into your future retail planning.

Real-time data access and inventory analytics are crucial parts of this step.

Monitoring inventory levels in real time will help you keep track of stockouts, improve inventory efficacy, and adjust inventory levels as needed.

ShipBob’s analytics are a huge bonus for a merchant looking to partner with a single 3PL that has a built-in order management tool. I was so stoked about being able to see the optimized layout of where you should be distributing your inventory is great. Having inventory and warehouse management capabilities built into your 3PL is such a value-add, especially for smaller companies.” Juliana Brasil, Director of Operations at Food Huggers

ShipBob is an omnichannel fulfillment provider with a global fulfillment network, powered by a centralized proprietary platform for real-time inventory tracking , order management, SKU managemen t, and much more.

When it comes to retail planning, ShipBob can help you execute by providing retail fulfillment expertise and retail distribution resources, such as fulfillment capabilities and inventory management data.

ShipBob’s fulfillment platform makes it easy to track inventory flow as it moves through the retail supply chain . It closely monitors demand data and inventory levels, so you have data to make better decisions on inventory replenishment and distribution.

Off the bat, I liked that I would be able to control multiple warehouses through one page with ShipBob. With my old 3PL, I could never just open a page and get the info I wanted. I had to click several times, then export it, and try to make sense of it. ShipBob lets you manage your inventory while providing important data in a very digestible way.” Wes Brown, Head of Operations at Black Claw LLC

To learn more about how ShipBob can help you with logistics planning , click the button below for more information and to request custom pricing.

Below are answers to the most common questions about retail planning.

What are the four Ps in retail?

The four Ps in retail are product, price, place, and promotion.

What are common retail challenges?

Some of the most common retail challenges include attracting new customers, keeping up with changing consumer demand, keeping an eye on competition, and retaining existing customers.

How are retailers transforming in 2022?

In 2022, retailers are undergoing a supply chain transformation that digitizes logistics and makes it easier to sell across channels to reach more customers.

Written By:

Rachel Hand

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes blog articles, eGuides, and other resources to help small business owners master their logistics.

Read all posts written by Rachel Hand

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Retail Dogma


Retail Education & Training Solutions

Retail Business Plan

A retail business plan is a document that gives you and your potential investors a roadmap on how your new retail business intends to get started and deliver its business goals over its initial few years (usually 5 years).

It is usually broken down into sections about the company, the industry it operates in, the competition it will face and a plan that covers marketing, financials and operations over the first few years in business.

Also check out this one-page Business Model Canvas for a retail business .

Retail Business Plan Template

You can download this free retail business plan template from the link below. You will be able to edit the word file and export it into PDF format afterwards.

In the coming sections, we will explain the different components that go into the retail business plan, which you can then apply to your own plan when completing the template.

Retail Business Plan Template

Check out more free downloads .

Executive Summary

We recommend writing the executive summary at the end of the process, after you have filled out all the other sections in the retail business plan template.

In the executive summary you will cover the following points briefly:

  • Types of products sold at the store
  • Customers served by the store
  • Company mission & vision
  • Market share to be captured

You will also mention the total amount you will need to start this business, backed by the financial plan you prepared as part of this business plan.

The total amount that you want to borrow or have invested in your business will be the sum of pre-opening costs (initial inventory, equipment, rent,..) and the maximum negative cash flow as per your cash flow plan.

If you are writing this retail business plan for a financial institution to get a loan, mention how you expect to repay the loan, and you should have already included the loan installments in your financial plan.

If you are writing this plan for investors, mention how much equity they will receive in return for this investment and the expected return on investment, and expected cash distributions (dividends) based on your financial plan.

For example

An investment of 100,000$ in the business will result in the investor receiving 20% equity. We plan to distribute 50% of the profits every year, and based on our financial projections this will be a xx,xxx$ in the first year, xx,xxx$ in the second year, and xx,xxx$ in the third year,..etc.

Company Overview

Here you will write about your business and give a brief overview about the type of store you will be starting.

You can cover the following points:

  • Store category (e.g. beauty store, toy store)
  • Store location and brief description of the area
  • Product categories carried
  • Company legal structure

Industry Overview

Write an overview about the industry (retail/ecommerce) as a whole and the most recent trends specific to this industry.

Cover areas such as:

  • Total retail sales
  • Contribution of your retail category to the total sales (size of the market)
  • Online vs. Brick & Mortar trends
  • Recent industry trends and shifts in terms of products you are selling

You can find the most recent insights about retail in our Retail Statistics page.

Read Also: What is Retail ?

Target Market

Write about your target customers that you know will be interested in your products. Mention demographic and psychographic details in this section. This will help afterwards in drafting your marketing plan.

You can cover the following details:

  • Age bracket
  • Income level
  • Educational level
  • The specific needs that your products will fill for them

retail store business development plan


  • Learn the fundamentals of marketing
  • See how they apply to buying, merchandising & pricing
  • Real-life case studies and examples


List the current competition in the market that are serving your target customers. Mention your top 3 competitors in your area.

You can also include indirect competition, such as online stores or marketplace sellers, if you think this might affect your business.

Cover information about:

  • No. of stores
  • Size of stores
  • Product categories they sell
  • Pricing level
  • Sales per day estimates
  • Strengths & Weaknesses

You can also create a summary table like the one below

Competitive Advantage

What will make customers leave the competition and come to you? Use the weaknesses areas that you mentioned about the competition in the previous section, and mention how you will improve on them.

This could be by:

  • Superior quality
  • Better prices
  • Convenience
  • More variety
  • Better shopping experience

Marketing Plan

Describe your marketing strategy for your store and which channels you are going to use.

Cover the following areas:

  • Brand Positioning
  • Branding Strategy (Persona, tone, language,..)
  • Product Strategy (Key products and product features that will attract your customers)
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Promotional Strategy
  • Marketing Channels

Operations Plan

Write how you will operate your store and include details about your manpower plan.

This will include the management that you will hire for the store, visual merchandisers, sales staff and cashiers.

Cover the following:

  • Management structure (store manager, supervisor,..)
  • Staff plan (3 sales associates, 2 cashiers, etc.)
  • Brief role descriptions
  • Compensation structure

Read Also: Retail Scheduling

retail store business development plan


  • Managing Store Operations
  • Areas of Responsibility
  • Assessing & Managing Performance

Financial plan

List estimates for the capital you will need to start and financial projections for the following years.

Capital Needed

Start with how much capital you will need to start the business

This will include:

  • Initial rent
  • Initial product order (Inventory)
  • Initial staff salary
  • Store fixtures
  • Store equipment

Read Also: How Much Capital You Will Need For a New Retail Store?

Financial Projections

Include a 5-year financial projection for the business based on your forecasted sales and costs.

P&L Management Excel

  • Monthly income statement (P&L) for the first year
  • Yearly income statement for the following 4 years
  • Monthly cash flow projection for the first year

Learn how to create a sales budget for a new store, and 3 years financial projections in our Retail Budgeting Course

retail store business development plan


  • The step by step retail budgeting process
  • Set monthly targets adjusted to seasonality
  • Templates download & practice exercise

Break Even Point

Include a snapshot of the 5-year P&L plan here and mention the SPD (sales per day) you need to breakeven, based on your P&L numbers.

We have created a sample table with retail data in the business plan template, and you can fill it with your own numbers.

Key Assumptions

Mention the assumptions you used for creating your financial projections.

For example , you assumed that sales per day for the first year will be 1000$ and then will grow by 20% in the second year, 15% in the third year and 10% in the fourth year, etc.

Retail Business Plan Tips

Sales projections.

We recommend being very realistic about your initial sales per day projections, as your entire financial plan will be directly affected by it.

When you then forecast your growth for the coming years, you should also be realistic about how much you will grow year-on-year.

From our experience, retail stores typically see higher growth after the first year and then this starts to level off from the third year onwards.

Having said that, there might be other growth drivers that can affect your business and accelerate your growth in the following years. This could be for example that your new store is in an area that is still under development and will be fully developed by the third year.

What we want to say is, do your due diligence thoroughly and based on that set realistic expectations.

Inventory Projections

The biggest asset you will hold and the biggest part of the investment/loan you will need to start your retail business will go for inventory.

So it is important to calculate your inventory needs correctly.

This will be based on your sales forecasts and the inventory turnover rate you expect or the forward stock cover you intend to maintain.

For example, if your inventory turnover target is 2, this means you maintain a 6 months cover. If your inventory turnover is 3, you maintain 4 months stock cover,..and so on.

We recommend checking out the benchmarks we have listed for different retail categories for inventory turnover and reading our complete Open to Buy guide to get started with calculating exactly how much inventory you will need.

Good luck in your new venture!



  • In-depth retail management courses
  • Learn the best practices of the industry
  • Download ready-to-use professional templates
  • Get certificates of completion for each course
  • One membership = Access to all courses

More Resources

Thank you for reading this article on Retail Business Plan. We recommend the below free resources as well:

  • Retail Management
  • Starting a Retail Business
  • Buying a Retail Business

Join the academy and get all access to all our resources, which will help you manage your retail business more efficiently.


Learn how to manage a retail business end-to-end.

We’ve put together a curriculum, specifically designed for retail owners or retail professionals who want to advance into senior management roles.

Learn how to connect the dots of the business and take the basic knowledge to the next level of application . 

How to Create an Action Plan for Retail Store Growth

Blog Image 2

by Dimitris Tsapis

November 11, 2020

retail store business development plan

Ready to transform your retail business?

A business that isn’t scaling is dying - at least that’s what most business leaders believe when it comes to the importance of business growth. New stores seem to struggle with high competition and oversaturated markets, which results in scaling difficulties. Some stores shift toward expanding their digital presence, but this is just the start.

Most business owners need to create an action plan for retail store growth.

In this article, we will show you how to build and implement a retail action plan and explain its benefits for your business in more detail. After reading this post, you should know how to resolve existing bottlenecks and pave the way to exponential growth.

What is an action plan for a retail store?

An action plan for a retail store highlights the specific steps necessary to achieve your goals. These plans typically cover the coming year, offering a timetable for each task, as well as a description of who will perform each task. This should also include a follow-up process to ensure your team does everything according to plan.

Several different types of action plans exist. How you’ll use each of these action plans depends on the department you will focus on. For example, an action plan for your marketing department will be different than the one you’d use for your sales team. 

Different types of action plans

  • Sales plan for retail stores. A sales plan communicates the store’s goals and objectives to its sales team. It offers strategic direction, outlines roles and responsibilities, and monitors the sales team’s progress. Hubspot has a great post that helps you create a sales plan from scratch.
  • Digital Marketing plan for retail stores. A marketing plan outlines how retailers will reach consumers through the power of the web. These can involve community growth plans, advertising plans, organic traffic/SEO plans, and other digital marketing methods. Read more about internet marketing plans here .
  • Marketing plan for retail stores. An online clothing store’s business plan should be sufficient when you only run an e-commerce store. However, most businesses run a physical store as well. This is where traditional marketing plans come in handy. These kinds of plans include more “offline” marketing options like local events, non-digital advertising, and in-store experiences. It is important to create such a plan even if your online boutique business plan drives most of the results in your marketing campaigns.
  • Customer success plan for retail stores. This retail action plan ensures that your brand is offering continuous value through different forms of communication. These strategies are mainly focused on the customer service department but can expand to other departments that come in direct contact with the customer.

What kind of store needs an action plan?

Action plans can work in a variety of ways to ensure sustainable growth. However, certain stores will benefit more than others. The following types of businesses are great candidates:

  • New stores. New businesses can easily lose focus of their most important objectives without a strategy. An action plan for retail store growth keeps new stores focused on the short-term tactics that will contribute to their long-term success.
  • Stores with no online presence. Stores lacking an online presence can use an action plan to increase sales in retail. For example, a customer success action plan could focus on the different ways a physical store can promote digitally, without actually owning a website. This improves your store’s awareness and revenue potential.
  • Stores that lost (part of) their business due to unforeseen circumstances. Whether your store has fallen victim to the Covid-19 lockdown measures, a natural disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances, an action plan can help you reclaim what you lost. For example, if customers are no longer coming in because of Covid-19, a retail store could plan to migrate (part of) their business to e-commerce solutions.

Content of the action plan for retail stores

Structuring an action plan is somewhat similar to the development of an academic research paper. You start with the objective, list the methodologies, show the results, and list the recommendations. ‍

Start with an introduction (& abstract)

Since the plan may require authorization from several stakeholders, including investors, you should start by explaining what you are about to present, and possibly create a short abstract.

The introduction is simply the starting point that should illustrate two things:

  • What the document is about
  • What is in it for the reader
  • (Optional) A short abstract of the document’s contents

When creating an action plan for retail store growth, you could write a great number of pages, some of which are not directly relevant to all readers. Therefore, giving a good overview at the beginning, followed by a detailed table of contents should help people navigate the process more easily. ‍

Explain the main problem

By defining the main problem, you’re shedding light on what you aim to resolve. This is where you’ll show how this issue currently affects your business.

To adequately explain the problem, gather information to accurately depict the different ways in which it affects your current business performance. This can involve data on procedures you’re using, relevant workplace rules, employee actions, and more. For example, if you are writing an action plan to raise digital awareness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, try to indicate how the less foot traffic has negatively affected your competitors (overall or specific examples).

Indicate the solution

This section should lay out the tools, methods, or resources you’ll use to offer a solution to the problem. You’ll explain what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. To make your assumptions reliable, try to back up your points with resources, case studies, and other relevant information. This step will look massively different depending on the department its aimed towards.

Continuing on our Covid-19 example, here you could point out that creating an e-commerce model could prove to be very beneficial since it has worked for many competitors and because data shows that online sales are increasing steadily in your location.

  • This chapter should be further broken down into separate subcategories that will indicate the tactics you will need to use to achieve your objective.
  • If needed, indicate the budget specifications in a detailed manner. You can later (in chapter 5) illustrate how the expected results justify the money you are asking for.

Allocate tasks and set deadlines

action plan for retail store

After providing an overview of all the tasks that need to be done, you will also need to indicate which team member or department will handle each task. At this point, it may be helpful to create Google Sheets that can track the progress that is made, especially when responsibilities span across different departments. 

At this point, you will need to introduce preliminary deadlines for specific tasks. These can be more “high-level” objectives, and can later be broken down into more specific steps. Consider the attainability and relevance of each step. If the step seems overly vague or complex, try dividing it into two or three more manageable steps to make the tasks less overwhelming.

A useful piece of advice here is to create a template that is simple and easy to access by everyone. This can either be done through a common Google Sheet or a project management tool like Asana.

Set realistic targets

Based on your preliminary research and the plan you have created, it is now time to indicate the targets. One could say that targets are short to mid-term goals that can confirm a plan is working. You can set targets for each high-level task (e.g. month over month growth in signups), or you can create an overall goal for the complete action plan (e.g. increase revenue by 20% over 6 months). A combination of the two is possible as well.

Retail action plan example

At this point, you might be wondering how such a plan looks like. A template perhaps, or an example of another business. Truth is, each plan looks different. An action plan to increase sales in retail will look different than a promotional plan. At this point, we should offer a list of resources that can help you gather more useful information to help you craft an action plan that suits your needs.

  • Are you looking for a sample action plan for retail store, templates or specific examples? Then make sure you check out this post .
  • If you want a more detailed overview of the steps you need to follow to create an action plan for retail store (including diagrams), read this article .

Finally, get some more specific tips on crafting the perfect plan, by watching the following video:

This post gave a brief introduction to the “what”, “how” and “why” of creating an action plan for retail store growth. At this point, you should know the different types of action plans, which businesses need them most, and what they should contain.

In case you need to do some more research before you start writing your plan, make sure you check the resources we mentioned above.

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Retail Store Business Plan Example

JUN.30, 2013

retail store business plans

Retail businesses come with enormous potential and tremendous risk.  How do you dramatically tip the odds in favor of your business’s initial and continued success?  You do so with a comprehensive retail store business plan . Retail stores rise like weeds and fall much more easily.  Part of the reason is the unforgiving environment, but the lack of a clear and comprehensive company strategy is perhaps even more to blame.  Without this policy, how will you know how to keep your company from failing due to a challenging economy, inappropriate pricing, theft, unforeseen loss of inventory, disruptions in supply chains, or changing consumer tastes? All these factors can sink a retail store overnight if they are not anticipated and scheduled for long before they happen.  A complete company strategy will address these issues as well as expected profits, inventory management, advertising strategies, and environmental sustainability measures.  In short, it will plot out the necessary steps to success.

Our approach to Retail Business Strategy

Properly targeted industry research done for your company strategy will help you to know what to sell to draw customers in and to keep them coming back, how to build and maintain inventory, and how to price items appropriately for maximum profit.  At the same time, you will need to know how to hire, train, and effectively utilize staff to make them assets instead of liabilities and to motivate them for best results.  Plus, you must be aware of market conditions and know how to respond to them should you need to slash expenses during rough times or capitalize on trendy opportunities. Success in the world of retail is never an accident.  You can work steadily toward it with one of our unique retail store business plans .

Please complete the contact form for more information today.  There is a lot to consider when opening any business, and we can help to make sure that you don’t miss a thing.  We give you the right kind of help so that your business can thrive even when others do not. Before cutting the red ribbon to inaugurate the small size retailing shop in your vicinity, certainly, have a fast look at nook and corners of the retail company. The bright and dynamic conception on retailing trading must be helpful to a newcomer to start a local departmental store to sell goods/services.

retail store business plan sample

Retail Store Business Plans

Well retailing company is operated through multiple channels. That means, it is a complete cycle to take the products to end customers who will buy the products from vendors of the retail stores. You should understand this marketing method to sell products at smart prices. It must be a smooth transaction between vendors and customers. To brief up, a vendor or retailing outlet needs to communicate with wholesalers and manufactures so far as the transaction is concerned.

However, a vendor is not bound to communicate with the manufacturer or company. A vendor is found doing deals with the wholesalers who buy products from the companies or manufacturers for sale. The difference between a wholesaler and retailer lies in the product distribution process. A wholesaler sells products in bulk whereas retailers are seen selling products to individual customers. Therefore, customers have to find the best vendors to buy products at good prices. In this supply chain, the manufacturer has no direct communication with customers. Wholesaler is the buyer to purchase products from the start-up manufacturer and later wholesalers try to sell these products to retailer in bundles. Customers are end users to have products in small quantity.

Vendors have the stock of new products in large quantities to distribute. Vendors are generally seen selling products at prices pre-designed by manufacturers including VAT/service taxes. Well, when you have a start-up company strategy, you should not overlook the trend in this lucrative e-commerce advertising. Start-up retail stores must have custom products at discounts and customers are happy to buy products without trouble.

Launch a Custom Trade store- Overview Study

The Retail company is of many types and one should be very meticulous to tailor the best retail business policy for fast investment. To be frank, a trade shop or departmental storefront promotes new branded products manufactured by companies. In the retailing shop, new showpieces are on display. This exhibition is really fantastic when people visit the shop to track the line of innovative/attractive products for sale.

Moreover prices of these products are good as vendors have to lure customers by declaring amazing discount or promotional codes to enhance the cost efficiency. Sample products are on sale at comparatively reducing rates. Prices of saleable goods must not be cumbersome and uneasy for customers to buy products.

So discount outlets must have better solutions for tempting customers to buy products at discounts. However, it must be remembered that wholesalers sell goods at comparatively low margin. Wholesalers earn money on bulk goods. So prices of these products in cluster are low. On the other hand, retailers buy these products and then resell to customers. A vendor has to bear handful of expenses ranging from product selling, transaction processing charge, products relocation and the entire paperwork cost. He has to pay movers and packers. He has to put existing employees on attractive payrolls. For this reason, certainly, vendors have to set a new price tag which must include VAT and incidental charges to have good profits in the long run.

Therefore, retail stores increase the product prices to ensure the good returns. A start-up retail store business plans template must have a strong platform for product promotion. It needs a collection to preserve whatever is meant for being sold to customers. So, to open a small or medium size discount units one should establish a small infrastructure, storing unit, billing system, electric, furniture pieces, and talented employees to manage the retailing business.

retail store business plan sample

Important Facts to Remember

A trade store keeps different types of products to sell directly in the market. Well, you must collect a sample checklist to see what sort of product is in the storage unit of a local outlet. Soft products like clothes and durable/non-durable products are also in the list made by the vendor.

  • Durable and non durable goods
  • Artifacts like crafts, musical instruments
  • Footwear products

Amazon, Wal-Mart and Flipkart are such big start-up vendors to spoon feed over million customers. At these trade units, obviously products of different companies are sold at interesting prices. So, you must decide how to start a new general store for having many profits.

Various Types of Retailers

  • Local departmental storefront
  • Special exhibitions
  • Online retailing centers

Initially, vendors must not go beyond the limit. They should understand the basic format of advertising and then they will have to transform their ideas into reality. Maybe, people are not interested to buy such cheap products which are available in plenty in the dime stores. Therefore, meticulous market analysis and research are needed to learn how to invest in the local market without facing sudden financial crunch. In the beginning, be a regular online visitor to check multiple sites to track the way of all local discounts stores run smoothly. Fluctuation, temporary recession and sudden financial downtime are hurdles to occlude the fast growth or expansion of the regional market. Well, why do you want to invest in trading industry?

UK Start-Up Visa Business Plan

Basically, retail industry is the platform for better business branding and product promotion. In a multi-functional general/dime store, there are various types of saleable commodities like foods, tangible and movable products for being sold. People have interest to go through reviews, short product descriptions and features of products stored for sale. Retail stores are run by competent entrepreneurs who have better ideas to sells products in the market.

Certainly, physical entity of start-up trade stores is an excellent thing. A customer has no problem to place orders visiting the store located in his vicinity. However, the advent of e-commerce product sale option must be an innovation to boost up modern generation to buy products from virtual shopping carts being boxed up inside the rooms. So, you won’t ignore the miniature virtual world in which everything seems to look much fairer in glossiness. Then again you must have motivational spirit and much more energy to innovate the basic business expansion project. Think how to proceed? For better promotion, new strategies are needed. So, the best business consultation service providers must be contacted for table work.

retail store business plan template

They have model formats for inaugurating small size storefronts. For instance, retail store business plan must include a compact budget, a perfect product checklist, a track record to preset the prices, a digital pdf file to have a product promotion policy, thesis, term papers and screenshots of modernized e-commerce plaza with excellent décor. Innovation is not temporary. Nor is it stagnant. Kindly don’t stop innovating your thoughts/ strategies. Borrow knowledge from eminent persons and think tanks who will upgrade your views. A compact online demo and training program with sample retail store business plan must be a booster to energize you to have new ideas/ retail business plan template to launch store front for business branding.

Truth is always bright. Never succumb to hypocrisy. You must reconstruct your ideas and thoughts through innovation. Local physical trade stores are obviously much more known to people in that home town. People living in the town are eager to visit such a smart warehouse to have the best product for sale. Certainly, everyone likes to buy products from a reliable storefront. However, online storefronts in this booming organization are more visible in global market. It is not an old structure but much more dynamic platform to enable customers to buy products any time without geographical barrier. The portal mobile start-up retailing marketing system is certainly a revolution in the global arena.

Bring a Change through Innovation to Open Departmental Storefront

Don’t be pessimist. You are not much familiar with the global e-commerce tool. It is not a problem as many newcomers are seen hovering on Google with well prepared retailing business expansion projects/strategies with models free to inspire people to do trials. So again you need a quick switchover. Conventional legacies, traditional new business expansion guidelines, norms, policies and basic business promoting programs must be remodeled. Retailing business ethics should be constructive. Optimize your views/ strategy to make yourself more energetic, bold and innovative. Technology is exclusively for mankind.

Conventional scenario of retailing market must be changed. Optimize a nice looking site which must be the vehicle for promoting what you sell. This glossy e-commerce site for retailing business expansion must be compatible with i-devices/smart phones /tablets/iphones/android supported devices. Online retailing business promotion must not be expensive. It is more powerful, extensive and flexible for customers to keep in touch with an awe-inspiring portal to explore. The business management courses in the particular field also put emphasis on the virtual tle marketing.

On a single go, you have million customers who use just mouse clicks to visit your sites to check the demos/products promoting shows. Upload more glossy pictures, videos, logos, festoons, graphic pictures and informative blogs to remodel the thoughts of customers. At an instant mouse click, a new website with a glossy inventory is visible. Retail store online is so impressive that even oldies can’t overlook your dynamic portal. Be more strategic plan for marketing . Video parlors, you tubes and online streaming are some of the latest examples to speed up the product promotion. Videos showcase demos free. Your marketing strategies proposers and executives will be busy of doing live demos to train customers. This online product premier show is certainly magnificent.

Your site is more beautiful with majestic elegance. Trade shops have high compatible inventory with a gallery. Maybe you have more futuristic product branding policies, projects and models to present. Obviously, your open source product promoting platform will disclose what you think. Customers will go through your futuristic retail store business plan to reshape e-commerce portal. The marketing strategies must not be outdated and dull. It is one of the most important things to take care of.

How to Become a Legitimate Retailer? A Short Preview

It is a dream to see. It is your ambition to nourish that you will be a magnet in the retailing business portal. Trading industry is overcoming hurdles to become one of the biggest places for financers to invest money. Global scenario is also fast changing. America, Russia, China, the UK and France are putting much focus on the trading industry. So, you must have dazzling strategies, retail store business plan and retailing business promotion projects to implement. To become a successful retailer, one should be a hard worker. Secondly, his ideas to promote retail plan business must be reinforced with a compact ground work. A retailer must be devoted to his regular tasks. He should be a good disciplined guy with marvelous retail store business plan to finance the retailing business.

To become a competent retailer, you should abide by law. First of all, locate a specific place for investment. Your money is not easy to arrange. You must value your assets. So, before buying land to establish a retail store, evaluate various aspects of retailing business/industry. You need to finalize the deals successfully. None can avoid the local administration. He is legally compelled to get a license to start business in this industry. Then, he must have an authorized license to operate a departmental store. In addition, to form the management, you must have proper papers with registration certificates.

One of the most important things to mobilize the retailing business legally is to collect EIN or Employer Identification Number which resembles social security number. You must be responsible to pay taxes to run the departmental store. Retailing business rules and regulations are also changeable. So, legal support from experienced attorneys must prevent the harassment. Basic rules are same and flexible too.

However, when you start dealing with international business clients, it will be a different texture to face. Therefore, you must be eager to talk to experienced lawyers for assistance to prepare the papers to legalize the business running in a far better way. In this connection, start-up business analyzers and experts must guide you to overcome darkness to have success within short span of time. Take fruitful training as well as guidance from professional writers to learn how to write a retail business plan. At the same time, free retailing business models and retail business plan sample remove many drawbacks to enable entrepreneurs to have new projects to design for the mobilization of the retailing business/industry. A top notch start-up retail store business plan is necessary for a guy to review for tracking loopholes in the existing retailing business.

retail store business plan template pdf

Choose Cross Channel Retailing Business – Essential Facts

If you are not a newcomer in the trading industry, you must have good communication with customers. Well, certainly you have basic marketing strategies, product selling platform and bunch of projects to do proper implementation. So, you must add more flavor and spices to make your retailing experiences more awesome. Right now, global trading industry is based on omni-channel/multiple channels. Boundaries of conventional retail store business plans  are expanding overtaking all obstacles. The smart digital technology is perfectly blended with physical structures of storefronts to give an omni-channel merchandise preview.

This slideshow is really unforgettable due to the variation in hues. Local people are limited in number. They are not interested to buy products visiting plazas at midnight. In that case, the flexibility in e-global marketing platform is undoubtedly innovative. Any time, anyone is able to hit online shops to check products before making purchases. They have mobile phones with instant order processing option. They get instant messages from retailers to buy newly launched tangible products at superb eye-catching prices. An online trade shop is not closed on weekends. It is open round the clock. It is a typical buying option.

Over there, none is present to welcome you. Buyers are found creating accounts for free registration. They need to place multiple orders as per their requirements. Automatic transaction form is generated with a fast transaction option. If the products are in stock for your home town, you have the permission to buy products. The smooth transaction is one of the best features of the online retailing units. Paperless deals, fast shipment, quick processing and instant confirmation are all unbelievable.

Rough marketing seems to have a bouncing switchover to become one of the magnificent platforms for trading. Simultaneously, the method of product advertisement, selling and invoice processing must have new format to help customers to buy products in care free mind. They are getting easy product buying technology with a smart device to close the business deals on the virtual portal. To be frank, brick and mortal trade unit is now also decorated nicely with an eye-catching virtual product purchase tool. In this section, customers need a better organization or retail business consortium which will share interests to provide the best services to consumers. Online retail business organizations are certainly integrated through internet.

Create Customer Friendly Ambience to Expand the Business

The organizational support and good leadership quality must gear up the business/industry expansion process. Your employees should be much more industrious with excellent entrepreneurial skill to handle customers of different natures. Initially, it seems to be difficult for a newbie to tackle rough customers who are stubborn and not modest. These customers raise odd questions and issues to put the retailers in embarrassing situation. Therefore, you must have good marketing management and online support team to train employees how to deal with online customers. Your employees should not be weak and ill-tempered.

Though technology is advanced, people need to be accustomed to such smart environment. The technological progress is really excellent with lot of opportunities for customers to utilize in the real life. Well, as a good entrepreneur, you must not close your eyes. You should be magnificently smart, cunning and meticulous to observe the changes in the existing marketing system. The retailing business ambience needs to be understood. It is the most important factor for you before going for fast investment in retailing business Customers need affordable service. They don’t understand the intricate product purchasing platform.

These customers are not comfortable to place orders through a mini shopping cart. In that case, choose proper customers who are computer literate with expertise in opening e-commerce mobile sites for fast shopping. This paperless transaction should be done fast. Customers need to complete the registration to buy products. They must check updates and then select the specific products to buy instantly. Naturally, your e-commerce industry specific websites must be operated by customers. Find the customers who are not incapable of operating internet based marketing platforms.

Tradition and innovation are different aspects. Consumers must be trained how to operate the fast innovative shopping portals on internet. To be a forerunner, you must have sets of advanced tele-marketing tools and strategies to enhance the trouble free compact deals. You are a good rival with lot of changes in the products selling format. Industry for retailing business is surely upgraded due to the technological innovation. Moreover, people are becoming much literate to do more experiments. Their self-pace studies are optimized through technology. So, this revolution must be valued to open new horizons in the virtual marketing and product promotion industry.

Introduction of Virtual Storefronts for Customers

General stores are visible widely. These virtual shopping centers are rimmed in glossy psychedelic light. New things are added to the shopping carts. Customers are able to download the sample models with strategy and images of products for offline exhibition. Gorgeous videos, mock strategy, slide shows, demos, and online previews are ads-on features to renovate the conventional buying style. Well, don’t discard social media portal.

Gradually and steadily, social media portal is becoming more intimate to entice trillion young hearts. What a nice platform for dating, entertainment, gossip and live chatting options! Social media portal is free for everyone. To pull up or accelerate the scores, buy online customers’ likes to enhance the smooth exposure of your retailing business. These instant ‘likes’ messages attract others to visit the sites you sponsor. Retailing business industry undergoes such an inspirational innovation.

Watch your rivals to compete. Try to discover where they are going right and wrong. Similarly, you must do patchwork to reinforce the retailing business removing cluster of problems. Retailing business is not expensive if you change your conventional business set-up into the virtual trading center. This easy transformation from the traditional business into the upgraded trade stores must be a turning point. At present, cross channel retailing business exposure is highly appreciable. Customers have both options of buying different products/services from physical units as well as the online storefronts. The physical e-commerce trading structures are equipped with instant e-billing, e-shopping and product shipment options.

So, this criss-cross business dealing is much profitable. Customers enjoy shopping by visiting the specific retail stores. Secondly, if required they are also very much enthusiastic to purchase products from internet. Therefore, you must design your retail store in much innovative way. Frankly speaking, when you launch an online retail store business plan , definitely data security must be a good priority. Customers have to provide their bank details, and street address including contact details to complete the registration. Now, if your e-shopping sites are not developed with strong anti-hacking tools, it is the threat to innocent customers.

Many incidents of online theft, pilferage, and wrongdoings are taking place to discourage online customers to continue purchasing products from e-commerce centers. So, hire professional website designers, coders, programmers, software developers and SEO experts to make the compatible websites more customers friendly. A perfect start-up sample retail business plan assists an entrepreneur to estimate the gross expenses to run a new trade storefront. It is a model performance metrics worksheet or parameter to evaluate your entrepreneurial expertise, leadership quality and overall competence to handle the trade stores even in dried period. During recession, the cost of shipment, products packing for delivery, and other expenses must be higher. This recession or financial downtime is harmful to entrepreneurs. So in the demo marketing plan/retail business policies, you will have to do lot of experiments, trials and graphs to minimize the hazards to operate such a big organization under the umbrella of security.

Write a good retailing business plan. Jot down a number of unavoidable factors. Write short reviews with constructive conclusion. You must not give up your innovative business expansion ideas. Truly speaking, a novice entrepreneur can’t brief up all his requirements to enhance the inauguration of the organization. He has much confusion how to manage complicated issues boldly. Professional retail experts are experts to compose the complete dissertation paper and sample retail store business plan template/strategy. They analyze meticulously. Their observational skill, and innovation in writing the whole retail store business plan can’t be devalued.

These professional content writers first collect information from clients to write totally organized content maintaining full fledged quality. They are experienced writers with extremely excellent content evaluation skill to type the content. So when you contact these competent writers, they must discuss extensively. They will simplify your retail business planning. So, it is a quick guide to enable you to put everything in order to compose an effective retail store plan.

Innovation and Modernization Upgrade the Structures for Product Selling

Retailing business booms fast through the phase of modernization. It gallops with more quick investments of financers to energize this industry. Conventional product selling/ management system has been innovated with the introduction of sophisticated technology. It has been detected that in past, this domestic trading industry had little scope to thrive because of strict laws, geographic obstructions and lack of advanced infrastructures to take the products/services to remote areas.

retail store business plan template

People had to walk on foot to visit local outlets for buying products. They had not any smart tool to have updates before completing their outdoor sopping. In addition, natural calamity, rain, fire and big carnivals are also obstructive to make them unable to buy products from stores which are closed. Legal formalities were also complicated. They had to pay vendors in cash. They had to wait for manual order processing. The shipment process was not easy and it was also expensive. Especially, rural belts and remote far flung areas were neglected by retailers. To be frank, modern retailing outlets are equipped with advanced shopping tools. These outlets are air conditioned with good air vents to enhance the product freshness. Foods are stored in eco-friendly storage rooms.

The saleable products in retailing outlets /industry are not damaged. Well, to modernize your old and conventional retail outlets, you should go for complete modification. Customers must not be endangered. They are buyers who finance your retailing company. They are resources to provide financial assistance to make you much stronger to run the retailing outlets. So, you can’t deny their demand. They should be properly entertained. These customers have to be given all amenities in relation to the merchandise. So, be liberal, proactive and much more innovative to expand the start-up organization smoothly.

In your new trade stores, products must be properly visible. So you should optimize the infrastructural facility by installing glass insulated furniture pieces to showcase the line of products on display. At the same time, start-up retailing shops must be illuminated in bright light. Customers must not have discomfiture to buy products at the stores. Now, there are other aspects to take care of. For example, your modern retailer shops must have automatic billing system, and top security tools. To stop theft and pilferage, you must spend dollars to install smart cam, and powerful automatic alarming systems to ensure the security.

Your products must not be stolen. Nor are customers found in Catch 22 situation when they buy expensive products from your stores. Certainly, you can’t stop experiment. You must have a machine to track progress in the retailing company. You must compare and contrast depending on template models, theories as well as the extrapolated facts. In ultra-modern merchandise companies and stores, you will see logistics departments. Evaluate the activities of logistic offices of these stores. A complete logistic department with organized retail store business plans  sample retail is open to manage product packing, invoice processing and billing methods. It helps a customer to complete the start-up merchandise and necessary transactions brilliantly. Money is also saved to have the fast support from such corporate logistics department. So, ask your expert proposer to draw a graph with a small budget to open an adjacent logistic department.

Change the environment of the logistics department by installing mainframe computers, internet and sophisticated tools to complete regular deals/tasks meticulously. Employees must know the computer and they are available online to assist customer on demand. Your merchandise office must be newly decorated and well polished. Visitors must not be disheartened when they are interested to meet top brass. In a new digital ambience, all official assignments must be managed through internet. In previous decades, single miniature stores or retailing shops were built for customer care.

Customers bought available products from these mini stores. However, these products were not in good stock. People had to visit a number of stores to purchase different types of saleable commodities at cost effective prices. This was the severe drawback. Customers had no alternative to buy products if they didn’t get that product during emergency. Now, this untold misery and inconvenience of customers have been reduced by taking quick initiatives. To upgrade your old discounts store, you should opt for more subsidiaries to keep products in huge quantity.

To make your retailing shop more popular, you need to extend the single storage room into a large departmental storefront. This shopping mall must have series of spacious product storing rooms for preserving wide range of collected products. Variance in these multi-channel selling shops is brilliant to attract customers to check the list before buying any product. However, in that case, entrepreneurs have to arrange more fund to refinance the company expansion scheme. It must be a big issue and people have to find the best ways to get fund. Commercial money lenders, banks and even government are desirous of assisting entrepreneurs to become self-employed. Unemployed youths need hard cash to start small company.

So, you must have such an effective start-up company refinancing project to collect proceeds from various financial organizations. Apply for secured or unsecured loans to run the organization. You must pledge property or assets to have such company expansion loans. Trade stores with smart competitive online retail store business plans should be eco-friendly. Therefore, expenses will be higher if you install HVAC systems, smart cams, better food protection tools, modern furniture pieces and security devices to enhance the compact device protection. Secondly, prices of these fresh products must be affordable.

Online free retailing business templates/ retail store business plans must be downloaded for meticulous research. You must have better retailing business projects/retail policy to mobilize the start-up business on reliable foundation. Truly speaking through a compact integrated retailing portal, it is much easy to reach trillion customers. However, if your services are not qualitative even after the effective modernization, it is ultimately debacle with zero improvement.

So, you should have better sample business plan for retail store how to strengthen up the multi channel storefronts to have large volume of profits in the long run. Useful guidance from professional retailers and expert strategy analyzers to evaluate small retail store business plans must make your dream project/ retail store policies productive eventually. Sample retail business templates, free tips, retail store business plan, advices and informative blogs are surely tools for you to navigate extensively to find the best option to operate a lucrative retail company plaza dynamically.

Finally, you should not be a grandiose narcissist with stubbornness to discard everything which is modern. Instead, you must accept advanced and upgraded tools, methods and compact theories to renew the whole product selling process without decelerating structural growth of your own outlets for retailing.

Download Retail Store Business Plan Sample in pdf

OGS capital writers specialize in business plan themes such as corner store business plan , funeral home business plan , bra business plan , jewellery business plan , business plan for a grocery store , souvenir shop business plan and many others.

OGSCapital’s team has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs with top-rate business plan development, consultancy and analysis. They’ve helped thousands of SME owners secure more than $1.5 billion in funding, and they can do the same for you.

retail store business development plan

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Retail Store Business Plan

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Retail store is a competitive business as competition is intense in this segment. Moreover, many big giants are investing more in e-commerce and digital marketing, making this business even tougher day by day.

Having a physical retail store that offers a shopping experience along with products is a dream for many. It is not only because of the size of a business but the potential and opportunities such a business offers.

And if you are an individual who likes to interact with people, constantly improve your way of doing business, and form communities that work towards something, then you might have thought of having your retail store business.

Now, a retail store has great potential for success, but it is also a very competitive business. You’ll need a retail store business plan to help you stand apart from your competition and have a thriving business.

Industry Overview

Research suggests total retail sales in the United States were projected to amount to 6.03 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022, up from around 5.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, according to the National Retail Federation .

Retail businesses come in many forms such as grocery stores, restaurants, and bookstores. There are around 4 million retail businesses in the United States alone.

The domestic retail market in the United States is very competitive, with many companies recording strong retail sales. Walmart, a retail chain giving low prices and a wide selection of products, is the front-runner in the United States. Amazon, The Kroger Co., Costco, and Target are a selection of other notable U.S. retailers.

Now, to have any genuine hope of getting noticed in such a jammed industry, you need a solid business plan to get success.

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retail store business development plan

Things to Consider Before Writing Your Retail Store Business Plan

Build a brand image.

A brand image goes a long way for any business, especially for a retail store. It is crucial to pay attention to what people think about your store, what emotions they associate your brand with, and how they perceive your products in general. Above all, what qualities make you different from your competitors?

Pick the right location

A retail store’s location can make or break the deal. Hence, it is very important to pick a location that is both convenient and accessible for your customers. As people are always running short of time, they prefer a store that is on the way and takes less time to get to. It can also act as your USP over the bigger retail stores.

Plan a good store design

A good store design that follows the major principles of consumer psychology is essential for a retail store. The strategic placement of products influences a customer’s buying decisions. Hence, you need to pay attention to it and design your store in a way that maximizes your sales.

Build communities that promote your brand

Building communities that stand by and promote the idea of your brand can be extremely beneficial for your retail store. Hence, ensure that you work towards building one. These communities can be driven by anything from a common belief to a certain cause that your brand stands for.

How Business Plan Can Help?

Regardless if you’ve been operating for a long time already, by writing up a business plan for your retail store, you can get an overview of what you want to achieve with your business, and guidelines for how you’ll achieve your goals.

A retail business plan is a solid foundation for the success of your business, whether you seek funding or not. It helps you see clearly what your business looks like and how it’s positioned in your target market.

If you need to get funding, your retail business plan will work as proof that you and your business are good for investment. Studies suggest you can double your chances of securing a loan with a business plan and grow your business.

How to Write a Retail Store Business Plan?

Writing a retail store business plan requires a good amount of research, a thoroughly competitive and customer analysis, and a little bit of extra help.

You can get help for writing your plan either through a premade template on the internet or through an online business plan software which will help you write a customizable plan anywhere and at any time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new Retail store business, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of retail & e-commerce-related business plans .

We have created this sample business plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect retail store business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Retail Store Business Plan Outline

This is the standard business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

  • Company Profile Summary
  • Market Research Summary
  • Marketing Summary
  • Finance Summary
  • Business Overview
  • Company History
  • Legal Structure Vision & Mission
  • Industry Profile & Market Size
  • Local Market
  • Target Market
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Keys to Success
  • Customer Survey Summary
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Products and Services
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Primary Marketing Activities
  • Positioning Statement
  • The Sales Process
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Location(s)
  • Legal Issues
  • Insurance Issues
  • Human Resources (Or Team)
  • Process/Production
  • Risk Assessment
  • Startup Funding & Capital
  • Start-Up Costs
  • Sales Forecast
  • Projected Profit & Loss

What to include in a Retail Store Business Plan?

A retail store business plan consists of several different aspects. The major ones are as follows:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary gives an overview of what your business stands for the reader. It should be written in such a way that even an outsider could get an idea of what your business is all about.

This section mainly comprises your business summary, your vision and mission statement, and your financial summary.

2. Company Profile

The company summary or company profile section of your business plan would consist of everything about your company, ranging from its location to information about your team.

While the executive summary section consists of information about the functional aspects of your business, a company summary consists of information about the structural aspects of your business.

While writing a company summary, it is a good practice to take suggestions from your team, as this section represents you as a team of individuals more than representing you as a brick-and-mortar company.

3. Market Research

Conducting market research helps you understand what you are getting yourself into. It helps you understand your target market, your competitors, and the working of the industry in general.

You can conduct thorough market research by using tools like PESTEL analysis or SWOT analysis . These tools help you conduct research specific to your business and prevent you from wasting your time on vague data.

4. Marketing Plan

As a retail store, it is your primary job to let your customers know about your existence. And to retain them once they start coming to your store.

A good marketing plan would help you do just that.

Based on the information you have gathered about your target audience through market research you can design your marketing campaign and promotional offers that’ll appeal to your customer base.

5. Operations

As a retail store, a proper operations plan can prevent your business from turning into a chaotic mess. An operations plan consists of your business’s logistic and functional information. It helps an outsider see what a typical day at your business looks like.

It also consists of your long-term and short-term goals. As well as the milestones you’ll have to reach for achieving them.

As a retail store business, your operations plan would consist of your supply renewal cycles, your backup distributors, a plan for the working of your store, your daily sales targets, and your long-term expansion goals, etc.

6. Financial Plan

A financial plan ensures that your business sails smoothly through tough times and also generates maximum profits.

It would consist of your funding requirements, cash flow projections, and profit forecasts.

As a retail store, your financial plan would consist of the funding requirements for setting up your store, buying supplies, and hiring people. It would also consist of your projected profits and break-even analysis.

Download a sample retail store business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go;  download our free retail store business plan pdf  to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your retail store business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Retail Store Business Plan Summary

In conclusion, a retail store business plan helps you organize and manage your store better. It takes care of everything that goes behind the scenes of running a retail store, so you can greet your customers with a smile.

From angry customers to poorly stocked supplies, a business plan can save you from all of it.

After getting started with Upmetrics , you can copy this retail store business plan template into your business plan and modify the required information and download your retail store business plan pdf or doc file.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

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About the Author

retail store business development plan

Upmetrics Team

Upmetrics is the #1 business planning software that helps entrepreneurs and business owners create investment-ready business plans using AI. We regularly share business planning insights on our blog. Check out the Upmetrics blog for such interesting reads. Read more

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Jefferson Mall owners seek to demolish former Sears building. Here’s what’s planned

retail store business development plan

Update: A BJ's Wholesale Club is coming to Jefferson Mall. The Massachusetts-based warehouse store company is set to build its first location in Kentucky on the site of the former Sears department store anchor of the mall. The redevelopment plan for the Sam's Club and Costco competitor was approved by Louisville Metro Government in late 2023.

A 100,000-square-foot-plus warehouse store, the new-to-market BJ's Wholesale Club, is set to replace the shuttered Sears department store at Jefferson Mall in Louisville.

Big changes may be in store at Jefferson Mall in southern Jefferson County.

Mall ownership is seeking to level one of its anchor buildings formerly home to Sears department store, which closed in 2019.

A one-story, 103,100-square-foot “retail center” would be built in its place along with a fuel center, according to plans filed with the city’s Planning and Design Services department.

The paperwork didn't detail what type of retail would occupy the new building, nor was a timetable given for the proposed development.

For reference, a typical Best Buy is around 36,000 square feet, newer Kroger Marketplace stores range from 100,00 to 130,000 square feet and the average Costco is an average of 146,000 square feet.

The 14-acre property has an assessed value of nearly $3.8 million, according to Jefferson County Property Valuation Administration records.

Jefferson Mall is owned by Chattanooga, Tennessee-based CBL Properties . A mall spokeswoman told the Courier Journal she was unable to share additional details. The company also owns The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass , in Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Sears opened in 1978 at the Okolona shopping destination. The one-time largest retailer in the U.S. announced in October 2018 amid bankruptcy proceedings that it would close the location , the last traditional Sears store in Louisville, as part of a wave of 142 store closures.

In early 2018, the Oxmoor Center Sears closed its doors and the location at Green Tree Mall in Clarksville, Indiana, shuttered in 2017.

Overstock Furniture & Mattress currently occupies the former Sears building, 4807 Outer Loop, at Jefferson Mall.

Tami Spraggins, regional manager for Overstock Furniture & Mattress, said the shop was carrying on with business as usual and had not yet heard of the plans for the site.

Malls for years have been forced to adapt and reinvent in the face of a retail environment that continues to shift online.

Also faced with a vacated Sears anchor, Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Road, has redeveloped that wing of the mall with a focus on entertainment and dining.

Topgolf opened in late 2022 on the site of the old Sears building, which was demolished in 2021.

New tenants in the south wing include Sandbox VR and Condado Tacos . A second Louisville location of Southern-style eatery  The Eagle is set to open this year and an upscale  mini-golf experience Puttshack  is expected to open early next year.

Growth & development reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at [email protected], 502-582-4000 or on Twitter @mattglo. 

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City Council to conduct study on retail store density in New Orleans East

NEW ORLEANS ( WGNO ) — The development of retail stores has taken over New Orleans East, crowding the area and leaving little room for any other business growth over time, and locals have started to take notice.

“New Orleans East is now treated like a country town, and a country town; they just live and everybody go to the outskirts of the city and do shopping and fine dining and things of that nature and we have none of that out here, so we need more that out here,” Prolifics Barber Shop owner Willie Miller said.

New Orleans City Council approves $100M to harden city’s grid

Now the city planning commission will study the issue and make recommendations about the over-representation of some businesses and whether or not there should be distance requirements between beauty supply stores, nail salons, tire shops and discount stores.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a store, a barber shop, a restaurant, a physical therapy place, a gym and alternative use is a beauty salon and a lot of different thing people need in every neighborhood,” Councilman Oliver Thomas said.

With retail stores more spread out like this, some believe it would bring opportunity for growth that the east has yet to see.

“In Jefferson Parish on Veterans Boulevard, you have at least 100 different national chain businesses. You have a Trader Joes, you have a Applebee’s, you have a Fiery Crab. We don’t have anything like that in the New Orleans East,” Miller said.

For the council, it’s all about making sure the residents have options and helping them keep the best businesses in the community.

“No community should be proliferated with dollar stores, tire shops, just like they shouldn’t be proliferated with dumping or crime; overly burdened with a lot of the things that represent the social ills that we are trying to get rid of,” Thomas said.

Stay up to date with the latest news, weather and sports by downloading the WGNO app on the Apple or Google Play stores and by subscribing to the WGNO newsletter .

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  1. FREE 7+ Sample Retail Business Plan Templates in Google Docs

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  1. Retail Business Plan Template & Guide [Updated 2024]

    Your retail business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes. Sources of Funding for Retail Businesses With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a retail business are bank loans and angel investors.

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    Below is a retail business plan template to help you create each section of your retail store business plan. Executive Summary Business Overview Artisan Home & Decor is a startup retail shop located in Pasadena, California.

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    Why do you need a business plan for a retail store? The purpose of a business plan is to secure funding through one of the following channels: Obtain bank financing or secure a loan from other lenders (such as a SBA loan) Obtain private investments from investment funds, angel investors, etc. Obtain a public or a private grant

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    1. Start with a situational analysis The first step of effective strategic retail planning is conducting a thorough situational analysis. This strategic analysis involves evaluating both internal and external factors that may impact your retail business.

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    Every successful business has a strong retail business plan. It's one of the first things many investors and donors ask for when inquiring about your business. Why, you ask? That's because a business plan details your business' short- and long-term goals, and lists the steps and financial requirements necessary to achieve those goals.

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    Store layout planning and design is a profession all its own. The design knowledge and planning skills required to develop an entirely new retail store, modify an existing floor plan, or even remodel a specific area of your store is a daunting task for retailers focused on attracting customers and earning revenue.

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    How to create a retail business plan. If you are planning on starting a retail business, you may need to write a business plan in order to get investors or loans and a better understanding of the daily operations and goals of your company. To create a retail business plan, you can follow these steps: 1. Have a clear goal.

  10. How to Write An Attention-Grabbing Retail Business Plan

    Give a high-level description of your retail business. You can mention your company's structure, legal name, location and the products or services you'll sell. Describe whether you will be selling in-store, online or across various channels. Keep this section simple. Use easy-to-understand language.

  11. How to Create a Retail Store Business Plan

    A retail store business plan serves as a roadmap for guiding business operations. It outlines your business's goals, strategies, and tactics, providing a clear direction for daily activities. It helps you make informed decisions about product offerings, retail staff scheduling, pricing, local business marketing, online marketing and staffing.

  12. How to Write an Operations & Development Plan for a Small Retail Business

    1. Determine the overarching goal for the company. This long-term goal should correspond with the company's vision and flow naturally from the original business plan. Many retail stores seek...

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    The success of a retail business relies on having the right products available at the right time and place. To do so, having a solid retail planning strategy is key. Before you launch an online business and sell products, you need a plan of action first if you want to make profit.

  14. The Evolution Of Retail In 2024: A Glimpse Into The Future

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    A retail business plan is a document that gives you and your potential investors a roadmap on how your new retail business intends to get started and deliver its business goals over its initial few years (usually 5 years).

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    Most business owners need to create an action plan for retail store growth. In this article, we will show you how to build and implement a retail action plan and explain its benefits for your business in more detail. After reading this post, you should know how to resolve existing bottlenecks and pave the way to exponential growth.

  17. Retail Store Business Plan Example [Update 2024] OGScapital

    Evaluate the activities of logistic offices of these stores. A complete logistic department with organized retail store business plans sample retail is open to manage product packing, invoice processing and billing methods. It helps a customer to complete the start-up merchandise and necessary transactions brilliantly.

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    Retail Store Business Plan Template: A Step-by-Step Guide (2024) Sample Business Plans Retail, Consumers & E-commerce Retail Store Business Plan Are you thinking of starting a retail store We have prepared a solid retail store business plan sample that guides you on every stage of your business plan writing Download Template Create a Business Plan

  19. How to Write a Great Retail Business Plan for Your Store

    15/10/2020 Every successful business has a strong retail business plan. It's one of the first things many investors and donors ask for when inquiring about your business. Why, you ask? That's because a business plan details your business' short- and long-term goals, and lists the steps and financial requirements necessary to achieve those goals.

  20. Global Ecommerce Statistics: Trends to Guide Your Store in 2024

    Online retail continues to expand due to the increasing use of smartphones and tablets globally. Mobile commerce is expected to account for 42.9% of ecommerce sales by 2024. Another facet of mobile shopping, social commerce sales are set to triple by 2025.

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  22. PDF Free Version of Growthinks Retail Business Plan Template

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  26. Former Sears location at Jefferson Mall in Okolona to be demolished

    The site of the former Sears department store at Jefferson Mall in Okolona is set to undergo changes that include a new retail building. ... The redevelopment plan for the Sam's Club and Costco ...

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    NEW ORLEANS — The development of retail stores has taken over New Orleans East, crowding the area and leaving little room for any other business growth over time, and locals have started to take notice."New Orleans East is now treated like a country town, and a country town; they just live and everybody go to the outskirts of the city and do shopping and fine dining and things of that ...

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