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Marketing a new retail business

For the final instalment of the How to Open a Shop Guide, we’re looking at how to market your new retail business. Here we’ll cover the basics including websites, social media and the more-valuable-then-gold word of mouth marketing.

Start thinking about how you’ll market your business and what your online presence will look like. Consider what resources might be available in the local community like local magazines or radio.


Word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth marketing is your most important form of marketing, it’s both free and the most powerful way to promote your business. Give every customer the best experience you can and make sure they leave wanting to tell their friends and family about your shop, post about their experience on social media and come back soon! It’s hard work as we all know people are much more likely to share a bad experience compared to a good one – but the return will be worth it as people believe a recommendation MUCH more than advertising.


You can also use other businesses in the area for referral marketing. Find other complimentary businesses that might be happy to put some flyers promoting your business in their shop – it’s worth working up a good relationship with them as they could be your customers too!



An online presence is vital nowadays to make sure your customers can find you easily whenever and wherever they need to. Website companies tend to offer pay monthly options meaning you’ll be able to spread the cost instead of paying a lump sum up front. You may decide that selling your products online isn’t something you want to take up straight away but you’ll still need a website that tells your customers who you are, what you stock, when you’re open and how to contact you. It’s also a rare opportunity to let people know WHY you’ve decided to open your business; what you’re passionate about and what your business stands for. Keep your website fresh, topical and up to date, for example if you plan to showcase products or do seasonal messaging, consider how you’ll manage keeping it up to date. For those that are a looking to establish an eCommerce website from the get-go, Bira have specialist rates with eCommerce website builder, EKM, find out more here. It could also be worth considering a pay-later option such as Clearpay or klarna. For Clearpay, Bira members have access to reduced commission meaning you can offer your customers impressive payment options with less of an impact to your bottom line.


Social media

Your online presence isn’t just about your website, social media means you can connect with your customers on a personal level that’s expected from many consumers. And it doesn’t cost anything! It offers you an opportunity to connect with a wider audience and show the personality of your business and what makes you different from other businesses. The more you put into social media, the more you’ll get out, but you will need to carefully consider how much activity is sustainable for you; start smaller and build up rather than setting expectations that you can’t support.


There’s a lot of information that can be learnt from social media platforms; like what your ideal customers are saying about products you stock, what their expectations are and feedback for your specific businesses. Make sure you’re listening to the online conversation using a social media monitoring tool like Maybe*.


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Additional Guidance and Resources: 

Thinking of offering a food delivery service? Here’s how

Are you ready for a second wave of coronavirus? Read our blog

How to engage with your online customers

Leading the way in retail innovation? Enter the Best Small Shops competition now

Not a member? Join Bira – for just £149