Choosing an Urban, Suburban, or Rural Location for Your Retail Store

by John Burke

2 min read

In the era of online shopping, it’s easy to assume that the location of your retail store is secondary to your online presence. After all, a store in a rural location can ship to customers anywhere in the world when they visit your website and place an order. But stores in more populated areas can benefit from local traffic, and bringing your physical store to where the people are can encourage spontaneous purchasing decisions and increase exposure to your products and advertising. Before deciding on a particular location, weigh the advantages of finding the right population centre for your business.

Finding Retail Space for Lease

As you begin searching for retail space, the target demographic for your product line should be an important consideration. You don’t want to open a skateboard shop in a retirement community. Your available inventory can be a key factor in determining the amount of space you need. Look beyond the attractive facade of a particular building and investigate whether it might be appropriate for your business. These considerations for choosing a commercial building can help you focus on practical issues, such as whether the space might need extensive restoration. Because some commercial landlords require their tenants to pay a percentage of their gross sales in addition to monthly rent payments, it is important to carefully scrutinize the lease provisions. You might be able to negotiate more favorable terms than the lease provides. Remember to include those changes as an addendum to or revision of the written lease.

Store Location and Your Balance Sheet

While retail space in a rural location may be available at a lower cost, your business can experience increased foot traffic from customers in a busy, congested area. A nearby restaurant could lure people toward your store on their way to lunch. Other nearby stores, which do not directly compete with your business, can attract customers who might notice your store and decide to visit. You have an increased opportunity to interact with these customers in a manner not possible with an online business. Consider how customers can experience your products in a brick and mortar store, where their physical interaction with a product helps produce a sale. Convenient access to public transportation can bring you more customers. Paying attention to planned building and road construction projects in the prospective area can help you avoid potential business disruption at such a location.

Location-Based Marketing

Whether your business is in a rural or urban location, location-based marketing helps attract customers to your physical store when they are nearby. Learning how to avoid invasive tactics and taking care to avoid aggressive use of this resource improves your success with location-based marketing. This technology contacts customers when they are within a specific distance from your store. It provides a more convenient shopping experience, allowing the customer to make an in-store pickup after placing an order by smartphone. Location-based marketing extends your reach from a rural location, which does not have the same amount of foot traffic as a suburban retail store. Rural, suburban, and urban locations all have their advantages and disadvantages. Let the nature of your particular business determine whether you should locate your store near any specific type of population centre.

References & Resources

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