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How to have your own retail shop without having to be there!

Consumers are more aware than ever of the need to shop and support local small businesses. People are genuinely interested in reconnecting with local businesses with more unique one of a kind products rather than larger chain stores in shopping centres.

However there are limited options for the small retail business owners. Weekend markets are tiresome and hard work having to be on your feet all day, loading up the car, setting up and packing down your stall and it is hard to grow your business with 2 days of trade. An online website is hard to launch and create traction especially if you are a unique, small, local retailer. And having your own retail shop is a scary, expensive and risky leap for all small business owners. This step means giving up your regular reliable income to man your own retail store 7 days a week. With hefty overheads like bond, rent, insurance, power, staffing, POS equipment, eftpos fees, stationary and packaging supplies, signage, marketing and this list goes on it is hard for any business to take this leap.

So where to from here for small business owners?….

VEND has created a great platform for local retailers to have a shop space in Brisbane. It gives businesses the exposure of a 7 day a week store without any of those risky overheads of doing it yourself. Business owners don’t have to be at their store so they can continue building on their business.

To have a successful retail business at VEND there are still a number of ongoing steps to take to ensure you are continually growing sales at your store.

To start the amazing journey to owning your own shop within the VEND community you must first apply and successfully join VEND’s ever growing waitlist.

1. Tips for a successful application

First things first. Go online and fill out the application form. Make sure you have included your social media sites as this is the first thing that the organisation will look at. It is important to have a good social media presence when starting a small business. Make sure you are posting regularly and keep it about your business and the products. Small business owners often make the mistake of posting personal images or irrelevant images of things they like.

2. Know what size shop you want

VEND has various size shop options from smaller cabinet spaces to large shops and various sizes in-between. If you are successful and are on the waiting list for a shop, make sure you know what sizes would suit your business and product. REMEMBER the smaller the shop space the less room for product and profit. Business owners starting out often make the mistake of trying to cut costs to make profit which is not the way to go about it. Unfortunately that old saying of you have to spend money to make money is SPOT ON! If your business is a hobby that you do on the side a cabinet or smaller shop space may suit your needs.

If your business is something you are serious about growing but you are still in the early stages you may want to look at taking a medium sized shop. This way you have enough room to make some profit and down the track you can always grow and take a bigger shop space.

For businesses that have larger products or if your business is something you have been working hard on for some time you will need a large shop!

Small Shop Size

Medium Shop Size

Large Shop Size

3. The waiting game

While waiting for a shop to become available this time is still crucial for your business. During this time you should be working on your online and social media presence to grow your business. This means when you are ready to launch the exciting news of your very own shop you will be reaching more people. You should also be mapping out your shop display, sourcing shelving, organising signage and how you want the overall set up of your shop to look.

Think about what shelving would best suit your branding and display your products well.

Create signage that will stand out in your shop space.

Have an overall vision and plan of what you would like the finished product to look like.


You’ve got the call up to the big leagues and it’s time to set up your shop. This is a crucial aspect of your business failing or succeeding. As you don’t have to be manning your store 7 days a week your shop set up has to be PERFECT in order for your products to sell themselves.

Important things to think about for your shop set up:

  • Branding. Make sure your signage is in a good position and your colour pallet aligns with your branding
  • Walls. Give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Keep in mind your branding and remember you want your products to be the centre of attention!
  • Shelving and displays. Customer’s love the unique feel of VEND and the stores so try and steer clear of any cheaper shelving options. Try to keep to a unique style that suits your brand and products.
  • Flooring. Flooring is important and gives your shop a more defined and finished look about it. Whether you use permanent flooring such as wooden click clack floors or a rug it’s something that you need to have.
  • Merchandising. This may be one of the most important aspects to your retail shop. If your products look great in your shop customers will want to buy them. Simple right? Not at all! Remember to have plenty of stock of every item and merchandise your best sellers front and centre and at eye height. It is important to utilise all of the space in your shop and use levels to showcase your products on different heights. Not all the space in your shop needs to have items to purchase. You can utilise really high or low wall space for design features to give your shop an amazing feel.
  • Pricing. If customers have to look too hard to find the price of a product they won’t buy it! Have clear pricing both on each of your items and on signage so they know the price of something without having to find it on the product.

Clear pricing on each individual product.

Utilise all the space in your shop. Merchandise your products on different levels.

Choose a paint colour and flooring that best represents your brand and match your products.

5. Grow, change and evolve your business

Though you have the luxury at VEND of never having to be in your store you cannot just put your products in and think that your job is done. For your business to grow, thrive and be successful you need to be continuing to look at how you can improve your business in store, online and through social media.

You need to be consistently driving customers to your shop through various social media campaigns such as, announcing when new items are in stock, running competitions for your customers, using paid advertising on social media to increase sales and having great imagery of your shop and products in store to entice customers.

Once your shop is set up your visual merchandising work will never end. You should be changing the layout and positing of items on a regular basis to keep customers interested and wanting to buy. Remember to always look at your sales reports to highlight front and centre what your current best seller is and always focus on finding new products that align with what currently best sellers to give the customer more of what they want. Remember it’s not what you like but what they like which is important.

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