Expansion is the ultimate goal for most retailers. You want your product on as many doorsteps as possible, and you want those customers to keep returning. After all, accessing more loyal customers translates directly into higher profits, which keeps you doing what you do best.
But expansion can be risky – or at least, it used to be risky. In the past, expanding a retail business meant shouldering massive costs like hiring, real estate space, and “stubbornly high” shipping costs. If you weren’t careful, you could easily over-extend yourself, sinking cash into a growth plan that was far from assured.
Luckily, there’s a risk-free way to expand your retail business by leveraging proximity and technology in retail. Here are the few simple steps you need to take to grow your outfit without worry.
Step One: Join a Retail Distribution Network
Here’s where the magic happens. Rather than paying to lease a single, central brick-and-mortar location (and all the staff and shipping costs that accompany it), partner with a company that also commands a retail distribution network. This game-changing model isn’t yet common within the retail industry, but some companies – like the boundary-pushing tech firm, REEF, have used it help retail brands and businesses expand quickly, effortlessly and sustainably.
Reef’s retail distribution network – or “proximity network” –is precisely how it sounds. It’s a decentralized network of retail hubs that are spread out over hundreds of cities across several continents. You work with them to pinpoint promising markets for your products, and then they map out the logistics of getting your products to those places. From there, they take care of the last-mile fulfillment.
Step Two: Grow with Minimal Overhead
Because partners like REEF take care of all the processes traditionally shouldered by retailers – staffing, operations, fulfillment, etc. –you don’t have to worry about upfront investment. You don’t even have to worry about a lease. You just pocket the profits.
Step Three: Choose a Partnership Model that Suits Your Business
There are a few ways you can define your relationship to their tail distribution network. None are better than the others, and which model you choose ultimately depends on the nature of your business, your goals, and your comfort level. You can choose to use them a few different ways:
- For fulfillment alone: In this model, you operate your digital storefront like normal, relying on the network for fulfillment. When someone adds your product to their cart, they kick into action.
- Your products, their storefronts: In this model, they stock your products on their direct-to-consumer digital storefronts to reach customers in new markets.
- Your storefronts: In this model, you provide them with your bulk inventory and brand guidelines, and they create digital storefronts and support e-commerce sales on your behalf.
Each model has its merits, and each model allows you to expand your retail business with minimal overhead and no risk.
The retail industry can be precarious, which is why expanding the traditional way is so risky. However, by partnering with a company that offers a retail distribution network, you can reach new customers, new markets and new ways of selling your products without the risk. If you want your products in the hands of new customers, it’s the best way to go.