Have you ever dreamed about having your own record store? This was the ultimate dream for many people with a lifelong passion for music and an interest in business up until record stores started to go under about a decade ago, thanks to the rise of digital music. However, it’s not all over for your dream. But the game has changed and the playing field for record stores has moved to an online setting. How do you go about starting a record store in this day and age? Read on to find out.
Be a Specialist Player
While the general music retail industry is relatively tough to enter, there’s a bright spot for those who will focus on a niche sector. Tapping into a specific market and catering to their needs instead of being the ultimate music source for all music tastes is the way to go. With a defined niche, you can focus your campaigns, positioning and branding to attract the right customers.
So, what should be your niche? You might be surprised to learn that vinyl records have actually been selling like hot cakes for the past year now. Sales have grown steadily since the 1990s with a record 33 percent increase in 2013 for a total of about 6 million albums sold. This means making vinyl records the niche of your business can be profitable.
You then need to decide whether to sell new records from distributors of music labels or if you want to concentrate on selling second hand vinyl records sourced from private sellers. It’s also possible to retail both as some independent labels are beginning to press new vinyl releases.
Why Set Up an Online Store?
Once you know what kind of record store to open, the next task would be to actually set up your store online. Why create an online business?
- Lower costs: With an online record store, you don’t have to worry about spiraling rental fees and other utility costs associated with setting up and running a physical store. Of course, website administration and maintenance as well as Internet marketing would still cost money but the overhead expenses of an online store are obviously significantly lower than a traditional business.
- Wider market reach: The mantra “location, location, location”, which is vital to a physical store, is irrelevant to the success of an online business. By selling online, you will be able to reach potential customers anywhere in the country or outside regardless of where you are whereas a physical store limits you to the people who will come to your store.
- No time restrictions: Since your customers can access your online store 24/7, they can buy from you any time of the day. Even when you’re sound asleep, you can be making money from your online store. This ability to do round-the-clock business is a clear advantage over an offline business.
- It’s no longer an option: The truth is that selling online, whether exclusively or not, is no longer an option but a necessity for a business to succeed these days. Otherwise, such a huge opportunity is lost and it’s just like giving away your business to your competition.
Building Your Store
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to pay a web developer or designer to build you an ecommerce website. There are available resources online that can get you started in building a website at no cost and teach you how to leverage your online presence to grow your business.
More than concerns about the cost of setting up a website, you need to pay careful attention to creating a good website design. Your online store should have a personality of a brick-and-mortar record store to entice your target audience.
Connect with your customers and make their shopping experience more personal, so you’re not just another faceless online store. You can also differentiate your store by offering your knowledge and expertise in music to customers who are searching for particular albums or new artists to listen to. Make your store a fun place to shop and discover music and build your customer base into a community of music-lovers to grow your business.
Get the Training You Need to Succeed
An online record store may be more practical to set up than a physical record shop but it doesn’t mean it’s an easy undertaking. To survive and succeed, you need to get the right training and tools on how to start and grow an online business. If you’re looking for the best advice on how to get your online business started, there’s no substitute for real-world advice from people who have started their own online businesses and succeeded.
Wealthy Affiliate, a trustworthy online affiliate community, is an excellent resource for training would-be entrepreneurs with or without experience in business or marketing. It offers lessons, tools and amazing support from fellow entrepreneurs and online business experts. Try out the free Starter account to see how it can help get your online business off the ground.