Reporter's notebook: How to strategize for retail success

Friday, April 25, 2014

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Opening a successful retail store isn’t rocket science, but it does take some planning.

It starts with a mental shift from a light-industrial warehousing to attracting people and selling products, says Mike Kuller, a registered pharmacist and president of Allstar Medical Supply, and the author of  “The Next Step-Retail Home Medical Equipment.”

Variety is key

“With the demographics of today, you’ve got the sandwich generation of baby boomers who have kids and who are also taking care of their aging parents,” he said. “The parents coming in getting ankle braces for their daughters or sons playing soccer at the same time may come in to buy a lift chair or scooter or bath safety items for their parents.”

Get the word out

There’s a little trial-and-error here, Kuller says, because what works best in one market may not succeed in the next. Television, radio and the Internet are good options, but don’t forget the phone book. Many seniors turn to the Yellow Pages when look for places to buy, Kuller said.

Know your place

You can’t beat big-box stores or the Internet on price, but you can deliver better selection, quality and customer service.

“Knowledgeable staff that understand how products are used, how to select the right product for a person, how to adjust it—those are things you’re not going to find at a big-box or discount store that has a few of these products,” he said.”