Business Advice Centre

Sunday 4 December 2016

Problem Solver: Identify a gap in the market and take advice from industry before you make your pitch

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Feargal Quinn
Feargal Quinn

Q: I am planning to open a ladies fashion shop and I am trying to decide whether I should go for some of the labelled quality items at a higher price point, or lesser known labels at the lower price end of the market. Can you give me some advice?

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A: This is a difficult question to answer, and a lot will be decided by the location of your shop and the potential competitors around you. As always with a new business my first piece of advice is that you need to conduct extensive research and identify where the gap exists in the market.

I remember during my time in Superquinn, on a number of occasions we looked at a number of parts of Dublin which were heavily dominated by retailers at the discount end of the market. We could have concluded that there was no room for Superquinn, which had more of a premium food offer, but instead took a risk as all of our analysis had shown us that there should be a customer base there large enough to support our model of retailing.

In fact we were proven right and in some instances we stood the test of time and saw these price-focused competitors fall by the way side where we survived successfully in that region.

In some retail sectors now the price element has been overdone, and to some degree has become a little boring. It can be refreshing for consumers to have access to some more unusual brands or labels which focus more on the design element.

You must also remember that in general consumers have had to tighten their belt for the last six or seven years and given the right opportunity now may well be ready to spend a little bit more for a product that is ultimately quite different.

I started my response by saying the decision is not easy and as well as doing your research, you should also take lots of advice from those already in the industry. I am hearing from some independent fashion retailers that for the first time in a long time, they are experiencing renewed consumer interest in innovative designs at a more premium price point. I wish you well in your decision.

Send your small business questions to himself@feargalquinn.ie

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