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How to Open a Retail Store Checklist for Businesses

Are you thinking about opening your own retail store? It’s a big decision, and there’s a lot to think about before taking the plunge. Use this how to open a retail store checklist to ensure you’re considering everything that is required. From the initial inspection to visual merchandising, this checklist will help you plan and prepare for every step of the process.

Opening a retail store can be a very rewarding experience if done correctly. However, simply having a passion for the niche you love is not enough to get started, or even keep you going.

This how to open a retail store checklist covers everything you need to know. With careful planning and execution, you can open your very own dream shop in no time.

How to Open a Retail Store Checklist

1. Decide What Type of Retail Store You Want

There are four distinct types of retail stores:

Store retailers: Department stores, convenience stores, and national chains like Walmart or Target. These types of stores use eye-catching displays and signage to advertise their most popular products.

Specialty retailers: Focus on specific product categories that target niche markets. Specialty retailers are product experts and carry a wide range of items within their specialty. This might include clothing, office supplies, medical supplies, or home decor.

Mail order retailers: Target customers who are unable to go shopping, live too far from a shop, or simply don’t like the shopping experience. They send out informative catalogs and brochures advertising a broad range of products.

Online retailers: Selling online means creating a shopping experience that is convenient, reliable, and visually appealing with detailed product descriptions and reviews. It should also have an easy ordering process and clear policies on warranties, returns, and refunds. Think of companies like Amazon.

2. Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a guide for your business. It helps you think about each part of your business and plan for potential problems.

This document describes the proposed store concept, the target market, and the expected financials. It is important to have a clear understanding of all of these factors before opening a store.

3. Get Funding For Your Retail Store

Now that you’ve decided on your business concept and business plan, it’s time to look at your finances. Opening a retail location is not cheap.

If you don’t have the necessary funds to open a retail store, don’t worry. There are plenty of funding options available. You just need to do some research to find the right one for you.

4. Register Your Retail Company

When choosing a name for your retail store, it is important to check the USPTO’s trademark database to ensure that the name is not already in use. The most common type of legal structure for retail stores is an LLC, which offers reasonable taxes and protection of personal assets in the event of a loan default or lawsuit. Hiring a lawyer or business consultant can help with the process.

5. Choose a Location

Based on your customer research, you should have a good idea about who your target customers are and where they live, work, or visit. It follows that you would select a location frequented by your target market in order to best reach them with your product or service.

The location of a retail store can greatly impact its level of success. Stores that are located in areas that are not ideal for foot traffic may struggle to attract customers, while those located in more welcoming areas may prosper. However, the general rule is that both a great location and a great product are needed for a store to be successful.

Opening up in an area with a strong pedestrian culture can be beneficial for your store. An area that is regularly visited by people on foot makes it more likely for someone to stop in at your store.

Before You Create Your Checklist

Before creating your opening/closing checklists, consider:

Before creating your opening/closing checklists, it’s important to know how much time it takes to finish all daily tasks. This can help you create the rest of your list.

In order to keep your business safe, always make sure you have two staff members on hand when opening or closing your shop. However, consider if having more people on staff would speed up the work. Next, outline the tasks that will need to be done daily. Put these tasks in a logical order for efficiency.

Your opening/closing procedure should be tested and refined over time. Where will you keep the checklist of your process? Make sure your staff is aware of the procedure and knows where to find it.

Retail Store Opening Checklist

Opening a new retail store can be hectic, but having a checklist of all the tasks that need to be completed can help you stay organized. You can divide up the responsibilities between you, the store owner, and the employees, making the day run more smoothly and efficiently.

Use this list as a jumping off point and, if needed, customize it for your store.

Retail Robbery Tips – Security and Safety Inspection

When opening a retail location, it is important to always have two people there. This can help to deter any would-be thieves.

Before entering the store, make sure nothing (from the outside) looks suspicious.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

As you enter the building, take notice of any broken glass or signs that someone has broken in. Also, if you see any suspicious vehicles or individuals hanging around, notify security and the police immediately.

If any of these answers is “yes”, do not enter that store. Go back outside or to a safe location and contact the police.

If everything appears to be in order:

If the business is open, enter and lock up. If the business is alarmed, turn it off. As more employees show up, open the door and re-lock it. Once the doors are open, leave the doors unlocked. Make sure all alarms are functioning properly and that cameras are on and filming.

2. Opening inspection and housekeeping

1. Do a walkthrough of the house to make sure all the lights are on. 2. Make sure all the tasks from last night’s to-do list have been completed.

Follow these steps: 

When you initially open up your store, take a quick look around. Check for any leaks, cracks, or holes in the floor, the ceiling, or the walls. These may be signs that your building has problems with its water, heat, or air conditioning. Also, look for any evidence of rodents or insects. If you notice any, contact an exterminator immediately. While you’re looking around, you can also do some quick housekeeping. Clean the floors, make sure dressing rooms are ready, and wash windows. Take note of any areas that could use a little TLC and let your cleaners know.

3. Turn on electronics

Before opening your doors, you’ll want to make sure that your electronics are on and working properly.

Before you open your doors to the public, make sure that all of your electronic devices are on and functioning properly. These include your POS systems, your registers, your TVs and your sound equipment. Also, make sure that your AC and your tracking systems are working.

4. Visual merchandising 

Now that you’ve got your script down, it’s time to make sure you’re giving your customers a great first impression. You want to design your store to be both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly so that they’ll want to return again and again.

Do these things to prepare for your customers:

To prepare your clothing store for opening, make sure all merchandise is neatly arranged on racks and in displays. Unbox any new clothing items, and steam or press them if needed. Put out the right amount of each style of item, depending on your shop’s floor plan. Hang clothes on appropriate-sized hangers, and dress your mannequins. Tag all products with their sizes, prices, and any sales or discounts. Do a daily count of your inventory, or “cycle-count,” which involves taking a small amount of each item and checking it against your records.


So there you have it, everything you need to know about opening a retail store! With careful planning and execution, you can open your very own dream shop in no time. Just be sure to refer back to this checklist often as you get started. And don’t forget the most important step of all: enjoy yourself! After all, owning your own business is supposed to be fun too.