Developing, Managing, and Operating a Retail Business Essay

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.....managing and operating a recently acquired small retail business. The paper specifically focuses on strategies for targeting customers and information gathering, a plan for recruiting and training new staff and employee management, the relevance of the concept of one hundred percent location and saturation to the business, as well as important financial dimensions for the business. Also, the paper provides a name, mission, and philosophy for the business, a description of hours of operation, and a plan for cultivating an inviting store atmosphere.

Strategies for Targeting Customers and Information Gathering

The importance of targeting customers and gathering information about the target market cannot be overemphasised. It is crucial for understanding customer behaviour, how to best serve the target market, whether a market exists for offering(s) in question, as well as how to effectively communicate with the target audience (Mathur, 2010). In the retail industry, targeting customers may be a little bit different compared to other industries, owing to the somewhat unique nature of the industry (Bhatia, 2008). One strategy that can be relied upon as far as targeting customers is concerned is to start with the prevailing customer base (Mathur, 2010). The store has been in operation for a while, over which crucial information about customers has been gathered. This information can be crucial for understanding the target customer, especially in terms of demographic characteristics (such as age, gender, family size, education, and income level), number of repeat customers, average shopping expenditure per customer, as well as the most and least bought merchandise. This approach would be helpful for not only maintaining the existing clientele, but also acquiring new customers.

Another strategy that can be helpful is to use the existing customer database to conduct a customer survey (Fernie, Fernie & Moore, 2003). Email addresses can be extracted from the database, and an online survey administered to customers. In addition to demographic data, the survey can gather crucial information about aspects that customers like or dislike about the store. These aspects may relate to store appearance, fastness of the check-out process, staff friendliness, easiness of locating items in the store, and so forth. This information can in turn be used to enhance service delivery, and thereby enhance customer satisfaction. Without satisfaction, customers can readily switch to other alternatives. Collecting customer information, therefore, will provide an important opportunity for the store to improve its competitive advantage. With a comprehensive understanding of the target market and their needs, the store would be better placed to decide which consumer segments and merchandises to focus on.

Recruiting and Training New Staff

The store will require an additional workforce. Two new part-time and two new full-time employees will be needed to support the operations of the store. Recruiting can often be a costly and time-consuming undertaking for businesses. Owing to the small size of the business, it will be important to consider resource constraints when making recruitment decisions (Mathur, 2010).

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Conventional techniques such as print advertising and recruitment may be quite out of reach for the business at the moment. Consideration will, therefore, be made to modern approaches such as social media and online recruiting. Social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin as well as online recruitment tools offer platforms through which small businesses can inexpensively meet their human resource needs. The store can also rely on the owner's own networks. Friends and acquaintances can often provide helpful referrals. On the whole, the recruitment initiative should be driven by the desire to locate individuals with the skills, knowledge, and attributes for a position in the retail environment.

It would be imperative for the new employees to be properly trained if the store is to effectively deliver on its promises to its target audience. New employees must have adequate knowledge of customer service aspects such as answering the phone, greeting customers, and selling merchandise. This knowledge is often acquired via on-the-job training. In an effort to avoid the costs associated with training new employees, retailers tend to hire employees from competitors (Bhatia, 2008). While the need to avoid training costs may be a valid justification, it is crucial to teach new employees one's own way of doing things. All new employees, whether experienced or not, will be taken through training. This will primarily take the form of brief training sessions conducted at the store's premises by the store owner. This approach will ensure minimal training costs. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily imply inadequate training.

One Hundred Percent Location and Saturation

The concept of one hundred percent location and saturation will be relevant for the store. The concept essentially denotes the establishment of a retail store in a location with the most sales potential compared to any other location in the local market area (Fernie, Fernie & Moore, 2003). Retail businesses generally rely on huge flows of customer traffic. Indeed, location is an important determinant of success for any retail business. Retail businesses situated in locations with a high traffic count are more likely to generate more revenue compared to those situated in low traffic locations. A location with a sizeable population of the target audience will be the most appropriate location for the store.

A good location for a store is not just about traffic. The location must be convenient and readily accessible (Mathur, 2010). This means that consideration must be made to how easily consumers can access the store, whether by walking, cycling, driving, or public transportation. Other important factors to consider include competition, availability of parking, traffic congestion, property costs, zoning restrictions, crime rates, as….....

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Bhatia, S. (2008). Retail management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers.

Fernie, S., Fernie, J., & Moore, C. (2003). Principles of retailing. New York: Routledge.

Mathur, U. (2010). Retail management: text and cases. New Delhi: International Publishing House.

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