The Challenges and Rewards of Owning a Convenience Store
As more consumers become health conscious, and seek natural, organic solutions to various ailments, vitamin shops have become a staple in many shopping centers and health clubs. This is a growing retail sector and figures to remain prominent as the baby boom generation passes from middle age into retirement. For the vitamin shop owner, there is a personal satisfaction in creating a business that helps people live healthier lives.
A Healthy Industry
Retail vitamin sales in the United States reached $9.4 billion in 2009, a 7.5 percent increase from 2008.
An entrepreneur interested in opening a vitamin store will have to decide whether to explore franchise opportunities, or launch as an independent retailer. As the market is dominated by franchises, the independent store might have a more difficult time breaking through, but can succeed with the right location and ownership.
As with any business, however, the more time that is devoted to research and education, the more likely the result will become a stable, profitable venture.
Comcash offers several resources for entrepreneurs considering ownership of a vitamin shop, or those already in the process of building or purchasing this unique type of retail establishment.
Tips to Get You Started
Sometimes the number of details to address when starting any new business can be daunting.
Here is a brief overview of some of the most prominent issues. For additional information, other resources are listed below.
- Franchise or Independent?
As stated above, the industry has several prominent international brands already established. With a franchise you’ll receive help in getting started, but pay for the privilege of this assistance and instant name recognition. You’ll avoid the franchise fee with an independent store, but will now be in competition with the GNC stores of your community for customer loyalty.
- Know Your Products
Entrepreneurs who do not have a background in nutrition or natural health must research their business, so they can answer customer questions about how different vitamins and supplements work.
- Safety First
A security system, particularly one that incorporates video surveillance, is an essential step to protecting your customers, employees and inventory.
- Customer Service is Key
What separates one vitamin store from another? Customer service can make a difference. Invest in an efficient and reliable POS (point-of-sale) system to expedite purchases so customers can get in and get out on their schedule.
- Get Organized
Even after legal and zoning issues have been resolved, running a vitamin shop means keeping track of customer and product data and using that information to better serve your market. Many POS systems, such as the one provided by Comcash, also offer inventory management and back-office administration reports that can impact management decisions.
- Check out the Competition
What are other vitamin shops and drug stores in your city doing to attract customers? More important, what are they not doing? By visiting your competition, you will not only find ideas that can be adapted for your store, you may discover an untapped niche that your business can serve.