Tips on Getting Started
Those looking to open a gift shop think it is easy to start one, but, even with selective and manageable inventory, low start-up costs, and little initial investment, the competition can be high. First, when planning to open a gift shop complete market research. Carry out a market analysis on competitors, demographics and place where the shop will be in your area. It is important to learn about who you are serving, if they have the money to spend at a gift shop, how many other gift shops are in the area and what they sell, and if the shop will be close to a pharmacy as people in a hurry can easily stop at this store for a quick gift. Also, consider if there are large retailers nearby such as Hallmark or American Greetings as the buyer may first think to go there for a gift.
If there is competition, it is a good idea to visit them to learn about the products, services, and operational management. Observe day-to-day operations, store set-up, and ask about popular sellers. Many small entrepreneurs hire consultants to do this market research, however, you can easily do this on your own for free.
Naming the Shop:
When thinking about a name of the gift shop, make sure the chosen name is enticing and clear about what you are selling. An enticing name is sure to grab attention of potential customers. Then a slogan should be well researched. It is also important to check that no other business is using the name; this is done by visiting the small district business office in your region. Once the name has been chosen it must be registered and paperwork completed for sole proprietorship (a single business owner).
If the range of products is small, renting a cart in the shopping mall, airport, or train station is an option. These cart businesses are movable and allow you to gain a larger customer base. Cart businesses may be cheaper than renting a building or strip mall space, but do the research because it depends.
Once the perfect spot is decided, think outside the box. Will you offer products based on a theme or diverse products? For example, bridal gifts, unique clothing, candles, souvenirs, or country motif could make a theme store, but also may limit the potential buyer. Also, the shop should offer items from local vendors and large retailers to give customers assorted unique gifts to choose from. Again, market research and then think about inventory you can offer that will stand out and attract customers. What can be done to bring in customers that are otherwise buying from competitors? Trendy, attractive displays and varied must-have gifts offered at competitive prices will attract costumers.