Is your closet filling up with countless pairs of shoes? Whether you have a penchant for knee high leather boots, six inch Louboutins or casual sneakers, your passion for shoes is so strong that you've decided to open a shoe shop.
From learning about market trends to writing a stand-out business plan to attract investors - there are many factors to consider before embarking on your entrepreneurial adventure.
In this guide on how to open a shoe shop, you'll find everything you need to know about how to kickstart your venture. Want to see your shoe shop succeed? Then read on!
Carrying out market research for a shoe shop
The very first step in setting up a shoe shop is carrying out market research to verify that there's room on the market for your business.
With around 3,986 footwear retailers in the UK and a market size of £5 billion, the footwear industry is very much alive and kicking within the UK. In fact, according to a report by Global Data, the UK footwear industry is forecasted to grow by as much as 10% between 2018 and 2023 - making it an exciting area of opportunity for entrepreneurs.
For anyone planning to open a shoe shop, it’s vital to carry out market research specifically targeted to the area you’d like to launch your business. This means viewing major market trends, as well as customer expectations and the level of competition from rival stores within that area.
In the US, online shoe sales are forecasted to reach $21.4 billion in 2021, a 2.7% increase compared to 2020. The demand on the part of consumers for online shoe retailers is clear. So when carrying out market research, don't skimp out on gathering as much information as possible on indirect competitors on the online realm, such as ASOS.
Developing the concept of your shoe shop
Having carried out the market research for your shoe shop, you'll be able to use the data from it to define the concept of your store.
To carve out your place on the market, you will have to set yourself apart from your competitors. For example, if there's already five stores in your area that specialise in sports footwear, you'd be much better placed to focus on another niche.
Between chic leather shoes, winter boots or platform sandals, there's no shortage of ideas - it's just up to you to find the one most likely to attract your target market.
Scoping out a location for your shoe shop
Once you've decided on the type of shoe shop you want to open, it's time to consider the location. This choice is important because it will have a direct influence on how successful your venture is.
Placement on a busy downtown shopping street will allow you to benefit from high visibility but will inflate your rent.
Adversely, a quieter street will require more effort to get your name out there, but will allow you to save money on rent.
Your ideal location may be in the heart of the city centre or further out in a more industrial area when opening a shoe shop. It's up to you to choose where you think will be most effective.
Choosing the legal form of your shoe shop
Once you've found the premises of your future shoe shop, you need to decide its legal form.
Choosing your store's legal form is a vital step as it will impact:
- How much your business is taxed
- Your taxation at a personal level
- Your responsibility for the company's debts in the event of bankruptcy
The choice will depend on your preferences and personal situation (e.g. the number of partners involved in your venture, the amount of start-up capital at your disposal, etc.).
Several legal forms are possible, so they should all be carefully considered before making your decision.
The equipment and staff needed to open a shoe shop
The next stage in our guide on how to open a shoe shop is to look at the staff and equipment required for the smooth running of your business.
In addition to the possible renovation of the premises and the interior fittings, including tills and benches for trying on shoes, you'll also need to buy in stock. On average, shoe purchases will make up 60% of your overall turnover (excl. VAT), so take time to carefully source out the right suppliers and set agreement terms that work for you.
In terms of man power, the shoe shop industry is at the mercy of seasonality. It then makes sense that during summer sales and the Christmas season you'll need more staff to cope with a heavier influx of customers. Many shoe shops employ staff on the basis of fixed-term and part-time contracts, making it possible to meet these demands when necessary.
Setting out the marketing plan for your shoe shop
It's essential to have a strong marketing plan in place before launching your shoe shop, otherwise you run the risk of operating a perpetually empty store.
You can consider actions such as:
- Hosting an opening party to get the name of your shop out there and attract customers
- Building a website where you can tell your story to customers and showcase your shoes
- Setting up a loyalty scheme and offering discounts to keep customers coming back
- Launching one-off promotional campaigns such as handing out flyers with promo codes
Writing the business plan for a shoe shop
Once you have gathered all the information in the previous sections, you can start writing the business plan for your shoe shop.
The business plan is made up of two major components:
- A financial forecast that aims to highlight the potential profitability of the project and the need for initial financing.
- A written part that presents, in detail, your project, the team, your business strategy, and your medium-term objectives.
The business plan is the document with which you will try to attract funding from your bank or potential investors, so you need to make it impeccable.
If this is your first time making a business plan, or if you want to save time, an excellent solution is to use online business plan software.
There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan.
- You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
- You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the accounting aspects for you.
- You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank.
If you are interested in this type of solution, you can try our software for free by clicking here.
Securing funding to open a shoe shop
When on the search for funding, your first stop will normally be a bank - but this isn't your only option. You can also consider the following solutions:
- Launching a campaign on a crowdfunding platform
- Calling on your friends and family to encourage them to invest or lend you money
- Trying to benefit from state aid for business creators and buyers (including low interest loans)
Useful links for opening a shoe shop
That's it for now, we hope this article helped you better understand how to open a shoe shop. If you have any questions related to setting up your business, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our team - and don't forget to invite us to the launch!
Also on The Business Plan Shop
- Business plan template for a shoe shop
- How to open a leather goods shop
- How to create an ethical and sustainable fashion brand
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