No this is not an advert for Kirstie and Phil but is prompted by another TV programme, Alex Polizzi, the Fixer. In a recent episode Alex went to help a failing tearoom, amongst its problems was an out of the way location.
As a former retailer the importance of location has been rammed down my throat on many occasions. Location is the most important consideration for most retailers and many restaurants, hotels, sandwich bars etc. A friend of ours found that people would rather queue in one of his shops than walk 100 yards under a railway bridge to access the same offer in his other shop! You have to have a unique product or service or an outstanding reputation to get people to go out of their way to find you.
What makes a good location?
The number one consideration has to be access to your target market.
Footfall is only part of the equation, that footfall has to be made up of the right people. You might have a high end clothes shop next to a university with thousands of students and staff passing everyday but those students can’t afford your prices and academics are not generally known for their high salaries or sartorial elegance. Your outlet needs to be where your target market goes.
Few businesses thrive in isolation. It might seem counter intuitive to open a restaurant in close proximity to others but it often works. Diners feel they have choice. When a number of businesses are open well into the evening it can generate a vibrant night time culture which can be fun but also makes people feel safer.
Accessibility is also key. If your customers are going to want to drink you need to be accessible by public transport or within walking distance of your target market. If your customers are going to have to carry heavy shopping you need to have parking close by. (Oh to get some local authorities to understand the impact of parking on businesses!)
Impact on the neighbours is another consideration. A night club is unlikely to be welcomed in a residential neighbourhood, neither is a scrap yard! I once looked at a house opposite a dairy, I didn’t buy it because I didn’t want to be woken by milk floats going about their business in the early hours of the morning. On the other hand if residents have to get in their cars to pick up emergency provisions then a convenience store might do very well.
Be wary of a ‘great deal’
Landlords want to rent their properties. If a property is difficult to let then they may offer a great deal to lure an unsuspecting tenant. Be careful! It can be tempting to go for lower overheads but even a low rent is difficult to manage if the turnover is not there. You might find yourself spending considerably more on marketing and special offers than you would in a better location where both rent and turnover would be higher.
Clever marketing may not be enough
If you have a location dependent business no amount of clever marketing is likely to overcome the problems of the wrong location. You will certainly need to have a very special offer delivered in a consistent manner and communicated to your target market often to be in with a chance of success.
Consider your own behaviour. How often do you go out of your way to buy a product or service that is not unique or truly special? Rarely? Never? So why expect your prospects do behave differently?
So if you are considering opening a new business or a new outlet and depend on customers coming through your door then think, location, location, location. You might even commission Kirstie and Phil to find the right location for you! Now how’s that for some free advertising, but that’s another article!