30 Tips to Open Bakery Products Retail Business in China

Quality bakery products: Stop losing business to your competitors. From fashion retailers, to supermarkets, to duty free and specialty stores, the retail industry is very diverse, but also highly competitive, fast-paced, and full of challenges.

Now more than ever, retailers, who want to be successfull, need to provide their customers with an outstanding shopping experience, no matter if in-store, online or on their mobiles. Shoppers have come to expect an omni-channel experience from their favorite brands and demand increasingly personalized offers and service, anytime and anywhere. If you don’t do it, your competitors will! It’s as simple as that.

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If that wasn’t enough, inventory management could complicate things further. If your customers cannot find what they are looking for, you might lose not just a sale but also their return business. On the other hand, a large inventory can tie up considerable working capital and limit flexibility and response time in front of market fluctuations. But that’s not all, managing healthy levels of inventorycan be affected also by specific industry issues, such as seasonality in the fashion business, becoming outdated in the tech world or the problem of perishable goods for grocery retailers.

So does your retail software allow you to manage all this quickly and easily while offering personalized offers, fast, friendly service, and a consistent brand experience on- and offline?

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1. Choose a Legal Structure for Your Retail Business

Choosing the proper legal organizational structure for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make. While it is possible to change your structure at a later date, it can be a difficult and expensive process. Therefore it’s better to make the right decision before you start your own business.

The most common structure is an LLC. While S corps have a lot of traction as well, the LLC is the simplest structure to use.

You will want to incorporate, though, to protect you and your family in the future in case all does not go as planned.

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2. Choose a Name

Dreaming up a moniker may come easy for some, but others struggle with the task. Considering the truncated nature of social media and online searches, you want to be careful to select a name that can communicate who you are quick. Too often, retailers select a name that is clever to them or just a word or their name, but these become difficult for organic search traffic and SEO. The more it takes to explain your name, the more it will cost you to win business online.

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Your business name should clearly communicate what you sell. For example, if I were to name my store Hudson’s, people would have no idea what I sell or why they should come see me. True you can overcome that, but why pick a name that means you will have to spend lots of time and money “overcoming.” It’s okay to include the family name in the title if you had a “what.” For example, Hudson Tools or Hudson’s Hardware. There is some value to a family name, especially in independent retail in smaller communities. Here are some more tips on how to select the right name for your retail business.

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3. File for an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number and is used to identify a business entity. It is required if you have employees in your retail business. It is easy to acquire and can be done on your own here.

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4. Determine Your Products or Services

Picking the right merchandise to sell in your store is the perfect balance of art and science. And all products need services to support them whether its repairs or simply gift wrapping, consider what “extras” your store needs to be successful.

Most likely, the products you are selling are baed on the ones you have a passion for and why you are considering retail in the first place. But remember, buying products is 10 percent “eye” and right fit and 90 percent math. Getting it in your store is easy. Getting it out profitably is the hard part.

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5. Determine Your Channels

Each way a customer can do business with you is known as a channel. Will you have an online store as well as your brick and mortar store? Will you do catalogue or phone orders? Will you have a mobile app? Retail is an omnichannelworld today. Customers expect to be able to engage and buy from a retailer in multiple ways. You must determine in advance what channels you will have for the customer to engage you and weave a consistent brand and culture and experience through all of the channels.

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6. Research and Know the Laws

Understand what business licenses and permits you need to obtain by contacting your city, county and state government offices. Before you start your own business, find out what laws govern your type of retail store.

Consider consulting with both a lawyer and an accountant, as each will help you properly organize your business.

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7. Define Your Customer Experience

By far, the most important thing you can do is this step. Millennials are telling us they still prefer to shop in a store (63 percent) rather than online. But they demand an experience that is different than what they can get online. They want the experience to be “worth the drive.” Too many retail businesses fail because they skip this step. They focus on products and store design and hiring and forget about the experience for a customer.

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Defining what you want the experience to be like goes way beyond customer service. In fact, there are a ton of retailers in the graveyard who said customer service was their differentiator. Touting service and experience and delivering them are too very different things. Defining your customer’s experience determines the types of products you must have and the types of services you must offer and the type of store design you need and the type of employee you need to deliver it.

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8. Write a Business Plan

Plans fail if they are not in writing. Period. But the importance of writing a business plan is in the way it forces you to consider all angles and all areas of your business. It requires that you do extensive research and planning. This is one step you cannot skip. It will take you the longest time to complete, but there is a definite correlation between the success of the store and a well-written business plan

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Here are the key areas your business plan must address:

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9. Find a Location

Where you choose to locate your retail business will have a major impact on everything your shop does. The difference between selecting the wrong location and the right site could be the difference between business failure and success.

There is an old age in retail — location, location, location. It’s meant to connote that picking the right location is critical. You must balance the best location with your budget, though. Don’t overspend to be in the perfect spot. Before you sign that lease, consider the second best location first.

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10. Establish Vendor Relationships

A successful retail business depends greatly on offering the right product, at the right price, at the right time. Therefore, it is paramount to the success of your business to be able to locate the best sources for those products. As you take this step to starting a retail business and decide what products or product lines you would like to sell, it’s then time to find places to buy those items at wholesale.

By establishing relationships, I’m referring to selecting vendors who will partner with you. Selling your products is only part of the relationship. Co-op funds, marketing support, returns, handling defective items, credit, and payments terms and dating are all part of what needs to be considered when choosing the right vendors for your store.

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11. Define Your Store Polices

The best time to establish policies and procedures for your retail business is during the planning stages. By anticipating problems before you open your doors, you can choose how you’ll handle special situations, as well as the normal day to day operations. This helps avoid making mistakes once you’re faced with customers.

Spend lots of time training and role-playing with your employees on these policies. Make them fluent so they can deliver the best experience.

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12. Craft Your Marketing

Before you open a retail store, start spreading the word. Create a retail marketing plan, brainstorm sales promotion ideas, begin branding and advertising your retail store. Learn how to use loss leaders, media buys and sales events to the benefit of your retail shop.

Your marketing plan should focus your dollars where your customers dwell. For example, for some businesses, social media or Facebook might be where the marketing dollars should be spent. For others, it could be the newspaper or ROP. Everyone will have a great deal for you. All advertisers will tell you they can get you exposure. But what you need is buyers, and that’s why you use mediums that your customers do.

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13. Recruit the Best Talent

The only way to deliver on customer experience is to have the right talent. With Millennials now making up the largest part of the workforce, this is an even bigger challenge. Hire people who fit your culture. This may mean they don’t have a lot of retail experience of product knowledge, but those are things you can teach. Smiling, being magnanimous and compassionate those are traits you cannot train; they must come with the employee.

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14. Don’t offer too many alternatives

People think they like choice – but too many options can be paralyzing. This is what scientists call the paradox of choice.

In a popular study, Iyengar and Lepper (2000) set up two tables in a grocery store. At table A, customers could have a taste from a selection of six jams; at table B, they could choose among 24 different jams. Although more people stopped by table B, where the selection was larger, only 3% of them actually made a purchase. On the other hand, 31% of people stopping at table A left with a jar of jam.

The lesson, for retailers, is simple: limit the flavors, color and brand options you store. If you offer too many alternatives, you may end up selling less (and will be left with a lot of stock to turn).

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15. Distract and confuse shoppers

When people get interrupted during shopping they lose focus and become less price-sensitive, studies show. To increase sales, distract shoppers in-store with vocal pop-up ads, digital signage, images, and by asking them “Can I help you?”. When people return to look at products after a distraction, they are more likely to buy and spend more. For the same reason, supermarkets and malls often have counter-intuitive store plans – they are specifically designed to confuse shoppers, as that supports sales.

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16. Have a loyalty program…

Loyalty programs are a great tool for retailers: they provide important insights into customer preferences, increase loyalty – and, according to studies, they also make customers feel happier in your store.

In their 2006 study, Kivets, Urminsky and Zheng found that customers with a rewards card for a café smiled more while shopping, chatted longer with café employees, said “thank you” and left a tip more often than customers who were not part of the program.

17. Make rewards easy to obtain

The shorter the perceived distance to a goal, the more motivated people are to reach it. Researchers Kivets, Urminsky and Zheng divided customers in a reward club into two groups. Group A was given a 10-boxes stamp card, which, when completed, would entitle them to a free coffee. Group B’s coffee card had 12 boxes, two of which were already stamped. Although all cards required the same amount of purchases to obtain the reward, customers in group B filled up the card faster. The two pre-stamped boxes gave them the perception they were close to the goal – and they spent more money, more quickly, to get there. When designing your loyalty program, leverage this effect to increase participation.

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18. Elicit emotions – best of all, nostalgia

Emotional messages are easier to remember and more effective than rational messages. However, not all emotions are created equal: greed (“you want to be part of this club – now!”) and nostalgia (“ah, the good old days of youth…”), for instance, work really well to make shoppers want to buy. Research shows that when people are feeling nostalgic, they value money less, and are therefore willing to pay more for products. Leverage on this by using pictures and music in-store that get to people’s guts: families, holidays, and retro music are oft-used ploys that always do the trick.

19. Personalize, personalize

When stuff is relevant to people, they pay more attention to it. This happens primarily when we hear our name (a magic word which activates various sections of our brain), but also when we hear something we are interested in – be it a sport we are interested in, our favorite band or the name of a country we have recently visited.
Retailers can use their loyalty program to gain intelligence around customers’ actions, used the data to optimize and personalize communications, products and offers. And don’t forget to use people’s names!

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20. Don’t be overly polite (if you sell luxury items)

Research shows that snobby staff in high-end stores can increase sales. This effect (which doesn’t apply to mass-market brands — only luxury) appears to be related to people’s aspiration to be part of a prestigious in-group. So, if you run a luxury store, allow your sales representative to act snobby. If you run a mass-market brand, though, better stick to smiles and politeness.

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21. Mimic their gestures

When talking to customers, try copying their body language and words: you will increase the chances they will buy from you. That’s because we tend to feel stronger affinity to people we perceive similar to us. The “mirroring effect” is a very effective sales trick

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22.  Let them touch the merchandise

According to a Caltech study, consumers are willing to pay more for items if they can see them and touch them. The sensory experience is so important that the longer people spend looking and holding products, the more they are willing to pay for them. This is great news for brick and mortar stores – as long as they don’t subscribe to a surpassed “Do not touch the merchandise” attitude.

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23. Create the illusion of scarcity

People value things differently depending on how common or scarce they perceive them to be. The rarer a product, service or opportunity, the more valuable it appears. Martin Lindstrom, author of “Buyology: Truth and lies about why we buy,” found that he could increase the sales of canned soup simply by adding the sentence “maximum 8 cans of soup per customer”. People bought more cans even if the soup was priced the same as the day before. The feeling of scarcity —the Millennials’ “fear of missing out”— triggers in shoppers a survival instinct that makes them buy more, quickly.

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24. Give free samples

When people receive something for free, they feel special, and want to reciprocate the favor.

In his book “Influence: The psychology of persuasion”, Dr. Robert Cialdini reports how one waiter increased his tips by 3% offering diners a mint after dinner. When he offered two mints, tips went up 14%.

By giving shoppers a small freebie – be it a cookie or a sticker – you can increase the chances they will buy from you.

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25. Add a really expensive item to sell middle-of-the-road ones

People tend to choose products that offer a good bargain. Most customers don’t want to go for the cheapest option, but they still want to feel like they are getting good quality for money. You can leverage this attitude to increase sales of specific items, by adding an extremely expensive alternative in the same product category. Most buyers will opt for the middle-of-the-road product, because it will look affordable and a good bargain compared to the higher-priced one.

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26. Use the right sounds and scents

Background music in-store can influence not only how much people spend, but also what they buy. Stores playing jazz or classical music are perceived as more sophisticated – and customers stepping in are open to spending more than people entering places playing pop, or rock music. In a famous experiment, customers in a wine store were more prone to buy French wines when French music was playing; when German music was playing instead, people bought more German wines. Hearing is not the only sense that affects our spending habits: researcher Martin Lindstrom found that smell of apple pie led to a 23% increase in sales of ovens and fridges in an appliance store.

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27. Put popular but inexpensive items by the entrance

Drive customers to make small impulse buys, and sell more by triggering what psychologists call the “shopping mindset”. Once people have made a purchase, no matter how small, they are more likely to buy more, psychology says. Leverage on this effect by placing low-price, popular products – like candy or newspapers – by the entrance of your store

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28. Offer surprise rewards

Surprise rewards are great: they make people happier and more motivated. On the other hand, expected rewards are not as effective – they may even lead to lower levels of happiness, says psychology.

Do you want to make your customers happy? Send them surprise coupons or deals. Avoid, though, running repeated promotions, such as offers valid every Thursday.

Once you know how your audience thinks, what makes them tick, you can adjust your strategy to become more effective. Make sure that you use the right approach for your industry and target market, and that you always combine these strategies with the most effective weapon of all – amazing customer service.

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29. Soft Open

Before you open your store “officially” to the public, conduct a soft opening. A soft opening is when you are open for business, but without announcement to the public. It gives you and your employees a chance to do a “dress rehearsal” before the big day. I recommend at least a week for a soft opening, but take longer if you can. It is invaluable in its ability to flush out potential problem areas and customer experience detractors that you may not have foreseen. Fixing these things now before your grand opening means you are putting your best “face” forward when the marketing kicks in.

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30. Grand Opening

Never grand open until you are ready. You only get one chance to make that first impression so make sure all of your employees know how to handle all situations. Nothing annoys a customer more than an undertrained or ill prepared employee. Make sure every incentive, every sale, every sign, every product is ready to go in your store. Staff your store for crowds. It is better to have too many employees in the beginning than not enough. Make sure your employees can tell the “why” story of your store. Why shop with you over everyone else. They could give this commercial to every customer when they first engage your store.

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Plan for lots of breaks for your employees. Bring in lunches and dinners so that can focus on your customers. Keep them fresh and motivated. And make sure every customer leaves your store delighted. A delighted customer tells her or his friends and that’s the cheapest and best form of advertising available.

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