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First-Time Retailers


E-commerce platforms, while often viewed as direct competition to the high street, actually supports it in a number of ways. Many new retailers, for example, establish themselves online. Customer bases are built up, profits are secured, and brands become refined, all through various social media and e-commerce platforms, such as Etsy and Shopify, for retailers to then consider having their own place on the high street.

This route to having one’s own shop space is becoming easier each year and there are now a great many first-time retailers finding their success online to have it realised upon the high street. The challenges, however, don’t end once a retailer finds a brick-and-mortar home. In fact, even those brands with an established online presence and following can fall victim to common mistakes on the high street.

Wrong Location 

Rushing to find a space on the high street generally leads to one of the most commonly experienced mistakes: finding oneself in the wrong location. Unlike in the digital realm, high street spaces are limited by geography. An area without footfall will be much harder to manage and make successful than one that sees regular and busy flow of shoppers.

Location, however, isn’t solely about the number of customers but also the right demographics too. As such, the location of a new shop space shop be chosen for its proximity to key areas, those with proven interest in the type of product or service being offered by a new retailer.

Neglecting Advertising 

Those retailers who begin their journey online can become complacent when it comes to advertising, relying on algorithms and successful social media posts. When it comes to brick-and-mortar shop spaces, however, many fall short by failing to acknowledge that a large number of potential customers can only be reached by effective non-digital advertising.

Poor Retail Design 

A great deal of customer satisfaction is drawn from a shop’s interior design just as it is from an online retailer’s aesthetic and website. As such, first-time retailers should ensure that their shop space is designed with atmosphere in mind, considering also the practical navigation of their space.

It can be a difficult task to accomplish but those who put in the effort, consider how every detail, from furniture arrangement to sign fittings, works together to create a welcoming and visually pleasing space, will find success.

Expanding Too Quickly 

On the back of their online success, first-time high street retailers can often be overzealous and ambitious. This can manifest in a number of ways, from too quickly opening a second location to overstocking a shop space. It is crucial that a measured approach is taken when entering into retail, with much of the learning occurring through experience.

Underestimating Customer Satisfaction 

Customer relationships are crucial when it comes to the high street. Even outside of the vastly important word of mouth advertising, keeping customers happy with each visit is essential to long-term success. As such, customer interactions should be prioritised over much else, ensuring that customer relationships are formed.


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