You know beer can have a profit margin as high as 40 to 50 percent, and you’re ready to take advantage of this by opening your own beer store. But how can you make sure you’re setting your small business up for success?
Opening a beer store is more complicated than leasing the perfect building and applying for a liquor license. It’s a market littered with competition and rife with regulation — but you know you’re up for the challenge.
Let’s go over some of our best tips for opening a profitable, successful beer store. With these five tips in hand, we’re confident you’ll have what it takes to make your store a hit.
How to Open a Beer Store: 5 Expert Tips
Some of the biggest benefits of beer store ownership are that alcohol is a recession-proof business and it is not a seasonal product. Generally speaking, your profits should be pretty steady regardless of the economic climate or time of year.
However, beer store ownership isn’t without its challenges. The regulations on alcohol can make it challenging to get started, and the startup costs of stocking your store can give even the most prepared business owners a little bit of sticker shock.
POS Nation has provided retail point of sale solutions to many beer store start-ups in the past 20 years. Here are the five top tips we recommend following to open a profitable beer store.
1. Review Local Laws & Regulations
The first and most obvious tip we have is to obtain a license to sell beer. Every state has different requirements for the type of licensure you need for your store, so be sure to review them beforehand. But your regulatory requirements don’t end with a liquor license.
Some states require additional documentation, such as proof that your employees have attended the necessary training to sell packaged beer. You also need to consider laws and regulations when it comes to advertising your store. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates this nationally, but your state or municipality may have additional rules you need to follow. Be sure to review them before running any ads for your store.
2. Lock Down Your Location & Customer Base
It goes without saying that location is one of the most important (and often overlooked) components of a high-growth beer store. To have success with your beer store, you’re going to want to select a storefront in a high-traffic area. You’ll also need to offer plenty of convenient parking at your store and a window appropriate for a window display if possible.
The other important piece of the puzzle here is to get to know your customers. You should conduct market research to see what sorts of beer and beer-related products the customers in your target area are looking for.
Additionally, scope out the existing beer stores in that area. What products are they offering? And, more importantly, what products are they not offering? Do your best to find an unfulfilled niche in your market, in addition to providing local crowd-pleasing favorites.
3. Market-Test New Products
Nothing makes a store the hot place to shop like always having the newest options and products on the shelf. If you’re interested in making your store a popular destination for beer enthusiasts in your area, you may want to consider offering to market-test new products for your suppliers.
Suppliers are always looking for stores willing to take a chance on their newest inventory to get some market research. Coordinate with your vendors to identify incoming products that may appeal to your customer base and offer to test them in your store. This practice will give customers a reason to visit your store instead of your competitors.
4. Invest in a Quality POS and Inventory System
Inventory for a beer store can be expensive, especially if you’re catering to beer drinkers who enjoy beer from local or microbreweries. As a result, it’s imperative that you have solid inventory management processes in place. A vital part of those processes is investing in a POS system capable of assisting with those efforts.
You will need a POS system for your beer store that is capable of transaction functions like age validation and discount pricing, as well as inventory management processes, including case break inventory tracking.
A robust POS software like CAP Retail by POS Nation does all of this and more, including employee time-clocking functionality, security features, and reporting capability. Set yourself up for success by investing in a system with these capabilities right off the bat, so you don’t need to try to play catch-up with your retail inventory methods later on down the road.
5. Build a Professional Support Team
Our last tip for opening a successful beer store is to build a professional support team. First and foremost, you need to make sure you are hiring employees you trust. More than 33 percent of retail theft across surveyed small businesses came from employee theft. You can save yourself headaches down the line if you take the time to make measured hiring decisions upfront.
Additionally, we recommend partnering with a trusted accountant from the outset of your store’s journey. This will help you ensure your finances are in order so you can worry about running the day-to-day operations of your store.
Opening a Beer Store
With these five tips, you should have the tools you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work opening your new beer store! By taking measured steps upfront in building your team and choosing your location, following laws and regulations by getting the proper licenses, and getting the puzzle pieces in place to offer your customer base new and exciting products, you’ll be able to make your store a success.
Once the doors are open, don’t forget the importance of the right point of sale system to make sure you can manage your business efficiently and effectively. POS Nation offers solutions for POS hardware and software, specializing in small businesses and startup retailers. Take a look at our options, and build and price your beer store’s perfect POS system today.