RETAIL FRANCHISING FEATURE

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December is definitely the season for shopping. Whether one celebrates Christmas or not, the malls are bustling, the streets are filled with cheer and people are prepared to spend money.

The national retail federation states that the holiday season can represent 20 to 40 per cent of the business’ annual sales, though this can create a lot of stress and possibly long hours for franchisees. However, sometimes through experience and support, an owner can allow the business to run itself.

The retail industry is hit hard during the holiday season, finding peak business to be in the fourth quarter of the year but retail franchises can bring success throughout the year, especially with a well-recognized name brand. Retail offers an established and loyal customer base, with set processes, expert marketing and guaranteed success.

Of course, retail can cover a variety of different areas and venues, including clothing, pet supplies, beauty supplies, household goods and many other products. Some retail industries cross over and include many different product lines within one location.

Clothing

In 2010, households spent on average $1700 on apparel, footwear and related products and services, which is about 3.5 per cent of the average annual expenditures.

People are always willing to remain in style and fashion forward, plus families have growing children who have growing needs.  Customers like brand names, great deals and recognize clothing as a necessity, as well as a means to express individual taste. In fact, shopping has become a habit, more so than an errand in our society.

Clothing stores have managed to create an online presence, by offering their products from the comfort of home. This may take a hit on the actual physical franchise location, but some industries link online sales directly to the store, allowing for an increase in profits.

Most clothing stores have a huge marketing agenda, which will alleviate some of the stress and responsibility of the franchisee. Not only will marketing be covered, but advertisement is usually done by professionals and guarantees to create customers., without having to do any of the work.

Apparel stores can range from low end budget clothing to high fashion, depending on your experience and passion; those interested in clothing have a wide variety of options when it comes to franchising within this area.

Apparel stores used to be very specific and appeal to one customer base, now a lot of locations carry accessories, jewelry and options for the whole family. This creates a one-stop shopping area for everyone and drives sales.

Beauty Products

Make up, shampoo, face wash and deodorant used to be staples of the pharmacy. Of course, these products can still be purchased in department stores but beauty products are now creating their own industry.  While walking through the mall, a customer will pass numerous beauty stores that specialize in makeup, soap, hair products or acquire all the products under one roof.

In fact, the global beauty market is astoundingly huge and the United States is number one in cosmetic spending and spent $38 billion in 2007 alone, while the revenue of the U.S. cosmetic industry is estimated to amount to about 62.46 billion dollars in 2016.

What used to be a mainly female focused industry is now an important purchase for both men and women alike, creating a broader population and customer base.  Shoppers want their beauty products separate and are interested in high-end products. Customers feel a sense of professionalism and expertise when their beauty products are the main focus of the business.

This type of retail franchise is definitely increasing in profit every year and gaining more momentum and popularity. It can definitely be enjoyable, especially for those with a background in cosmetics or who have a passion for the field but are not interested in the service industry of beauty products.

Home furnishings

Another distinct area that specializes in retail is home furnishing outlets and franchises. In 2012, the home furnishing industry in the States generated close to 80 billion US dollars from furniture, lighting and décor sales.

Another industry that has gained more popularity over the years and customers are consistently buying to keep up with the trends. The pressure to have a well-decorated house has increased, as people are remaining within their household for dinner parties, movie nights, stay-cations and they are more willing to invest in their surroundings than ever before.

Home furnishings range from cheap to extremely expensive, from plastic tables to high end hand crafted wood, from apartment size furniture to oversized sectionals. There is a huge variety of product selection.

A lot of consumers are searching online venues before they step foot in the store, which is decreasing the traffic in this area but most costumers are willing to spend money once they enter the doors of a furniture outlet.

Franchisees interested in this retail industry would benefit from having some background in sales, with a lot of employees working on commission who would benefit from a leader with a background in the area. Some furnishing franchises come with a strong marketing strategy, while others let that responsibility rest on the shoulders of the owner.

That being said, the furnishing industry sells products with well-establish branding that have a committed customer base and allow some immediate credibility.

Hard Improvement Franchises 

Hardware stores used to consist of paint, tools and nails but nowadays they are huge department stores that provide services and products for every area of the home. From doors to hardwood floors, not only are hardware stores providing all the products, machinery and tools you need for home improvement, but they will install everything too.

Though a lot of home renovation usually requires professionals, overall that industry can bring in a lot of money. In 2012, U.S. improvement and repair expenditure amounted to approximately 284billion U.S. dollars, while in 2014, home improvement stores brought in close to $ 144 billion.

A lot of people are taking on their own home building projects, while franchises are working with contractors and making a portion of commission.

The Home Improvement Market is growing and reaching a much wider customer base.  The Home Improvement Research Institute stated that the home improvement products market would grow 5.9 per cent by 2014 and it has steadily increased since 2011.

The retail industry covers a lot of ground and it dominates the rental space in all American malls. Shopping for products is part of our everyday lives and the profit is evident. It would be beneficial for franchisees to have some experience in retail or understanding of how the business format works, to help encourage sales but franchisors can provide a lot of experience, support and understanding. It is a market that comes with a great marketing plan, an association of brand names and a usual customer base.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After receiving an English Degree, followed by a Journalism Diploma, Gina Gill became a freelance journalist in 2008. She has worked as a reporter and in communications, focusing on social media. She currently works as a community information officer with Epilepsy Society, while pursuing her writing career at the same time.

Look out for our next special feature: SENIOR CARE FRANCHISING