Categories: Business

Consumer Footfall vs. Healthy Margins: Is Achieving Both Possible?

This article looks at how start-up retail businesses can achieve high levels of footfall without sacrificing profitability. Balancing profitability with the need for sales is one of the biggest challenges facing start-up retailers.


One of the easiest ways to start up your own retail business is to do it online first. Even if your ultimate ambition is to have your own store one day, building your business online first makes a lot of sense. The biggest advantage of doing business on the internet is that your start-up costs and on-going overheads will be extremely small. This means that you can experiment with different products and ranges and if one is less successful then you can comfortably sell it at a discounted price without taking too much of a hit.

Adapting to Offline Business

Before opening your retail store it is important that you conduct thorough and deep market research to explore consumer shopping habits, and specifically how they differ from online platforms to actual stores. What you sold thousands of online may not be something that proves popular in stores. Keeping a record of where you ship products to will help you in this respect. If a certain line has been popular in Brazil and your store is in London, then it may well not be a chance worth taking.

Identifying Opportunities

There are many methods you can use, whether it be search engine optimisation, promoting your store through your site, or other advertising initiatives, to build awareness of your store opening. The key to maintaining healthy footfall and profits will be to manage the customers’ expectations around what they will find in your store.

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If everything you sell online has been advertised at 10% off the marked price, then consumers will expect to find that in your store, too. Ensure that you use your e-commerce platform to experiment with pricing structures before opening the store itself. You may be sacrificing sales in the short term, but it will help you flourish when you are having to consider business rates and other associated costs.

Is It Possible To Achieve Profit and Footfall?

Although many businesses have failed trying to achieve this, the answer is undoubtedly yes. The key is to give customers a reason to shop with you, and be creative with regards how you bring them back to your store. Only you know what your operating margin is and what you can afford to discount as a footfall driver, so whether you add extra mark-up or develop clever marketing strategies, you should always be available to deliver consistent footfall and profitable performance.

Posterita is a free POS software for retailers.

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