Expanding Beyond Supplements: 5 Steps to Success
You may be at a point with your store when it is time to move beyond supplements and expand to include specialty groceries, health and beauty aids, essential oils and more. This is a big
step, and an exciting one. But before you take the plunge, there are important things to keep in mind.
1. Think of your space: If you’re
thinking of expanding your store’s lineup, you probably already have the square footage to do it. And you can certainly fit a lot in a smaller space, but be sure that it doesn’t distract from your store layout or make your customers feel claustrophobic. I’ve seen many excellent stores that defy their limitations by offering more than you would think was possible, judging from the outside space, but it is a delicate balance.
Make sure you keep your space well lit, organized and welcoming. Once you’ve made the decision to add more to your store, it’s important to let your customers know ahead of
time so that they’ll be prepared for a little “work in progress” as you get things situated.
2. Consider expenses thoughtfully:
Aside from the cost of purchasing more items to stock, you’ll need to set aside more in your budget to cover other matters of overhead. For instance, you may already have refrigeration
for your probiotic selection, but if you start adding perishable foods, you’re going to need more.
This will add to your expenses, as will the increased energy usage. You’ll also need to schedule more training time for the products and possibly even hire on someone to handle the additional stocking and inventory. So I’d recommend budgeting all of those considerations in beforehand so that you’re ready to handle any unforeseen circumstances like rewiring, building different display shelves, changing the checkout lane registers and scanners, or any of the hundreds
of other challenges that pop up during the process.
However, don’t let this stop you from making the decision to take your business to a new level. As long as you are bringing in new products that help people live their best, and have the best intentions, a lot of the bottom line will ultimately take care of itself. Since you’ve been hiring the
best people, paying them accordingly, and seeing the positive results,consider this simply the next logical step.
3. Maintain premium sourcing and
When you carry only premium supplements, carry that same sense of mission to your other
non-supplemental items, too. For example, every one of the additional products we carry in our store is something I would feel great about recommending to any family member or friend. I think that might be one of the real tests—does it pass that “gut feeling” test? Would you use this product yourself? And, like supplements, I think it’s important that these products are unique—not something that can be found in every big box store.
4. Promote relentlessly:
Be sure to spread the word that this expansion in selection will make you even more of a destination. If you expand to include food, have a “cooking night” at your store, or offer taste tests and demonstrations from your more culinary-minded employees. For that matter, whenever you do anything with your store, make sure to carry that sense of excitement to your customers and definitely advertise it: online, on the radio and in your local media outlets.
5. Always keep your customers in
This sounds obvious on its own, but when we make decisions for a business, sometimes it can be easy to get hooked on the idea of the change rather than the needs of the customers. Always remember that they ultimately sign your paycheck and are the true life of the store. If you’ve been listening to them all along, then you probably know exactly what to bring in to your store. But good, old-fashioned conversations with your customers can be one of the best ways to determine which direction to launch next. Of course, keeping your customer service at an
outstanding level—even in the midst of change is a must.
Expanding your store’s lineup is exhilarating. It can help you take your store to an entirely new level and introduce even more people to the joy of living in good health. And it is a great idea that helps keep your success moving along. But it’s a big step, too. In a sense, it’s one of the biggest “store promotions” your business will see, aside from expanding its physical space or adding another location. So plan ahead, consider each step carefully, and you and your customers will soon be celebrating your efforts!