In just a few short years, the retail industry has shifted and changed dramatically. In fact, data from IBM shows that the pandemic quickly accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce. While many stores today are offering customers the opportunity to shop online without ever leaving their homes, there is still great opportunity in the retail industry with the right business idea. In a world dominated by e-commerce, there are many products today that consumers would prefer to pick out and choose themselves rather than have them delivered to their doorstep.
To help inspire you on your entrepreneurial journey, read on to discover five unique retail startup business ideas! If anything catches your interest, remember to keep these options at your fingertips with our free Small Business Startup app—available for both Apple and Android.
Health Food Store
One of the greatest advantages of a health food store is its relatively simple business model. These stores cater to both health-conscious shoppers and athletes in your community. Typically, health food stores offer nutritional supplements, vitamins, homeopathic products, pre-workout, protein isolates, and more. In 2022, the global health and wellness food market was valued at $841 billion. By 2026, the market size is projected to grow to one trillion dollars.
As a whole, the coffee industry generates approximately $70 billion a year in the United States alone. Even better, coffee shops are one of the few retail options that don’t require a hefty startup investment right away. If you choose this avenue, your upfront costs will mostly consist of your storefront itself along with a bit of equipment—espresso machines, blenders, refrigerator, etc. Other expenses will likely include coffee grinders, drip coffee machines, and a restaurant phone system—all of which are relatively cheap. Additionally, coffee generally sells at higher profit margins than other food products! They also tend to operate with lower overhead than other business models. On average, it’s estimated that a small coffee shop owner will make between $60,000 and $160,000 annually.
As the ancient proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” This is the story of the CBD market. This industry is expected to reach $20 billion by 2024 and is growing at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 28.30% by 2028. CBD stores can be highly profitable for business owners. In fact, data shows that many businesses see net profit margins at 40% and higher.
In the United States alone, the food truck industry is worth $1.4 billion. Similar to coffee shops, food trucks are another retail option that benefits from lower startup costs. On average, food truck owners in the United States generate $250,000 to $500,000 in revenue annually. You’ll often find that the most successful food trucks have a niche, whether it is acai bowls, vegan food, or another specialty cuisine. On average, start-up costs can range from $50,000 to $250,000.
Auto Parts Shop
In the United States alone, the market size of the car and automobile manufacturing industry was $100.9 billion in 2022. Many Americans simply love their cars, the phenomenon of weekend cars and collector cars is real!
An auto parts shop with the right approach can be extremely profitable. Depending on your community, you could very likely take advantage of a niche market within the automotive industry. For example, on a per-capita basis, Corvettes are quite popular in Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Choosing a niche in the industry also presents an opportunity to differentiate yourself from big-box auto parts stores.
Break Into the Retail Industry Today
We hope this guide has helped you imagine the many ways to break into the retail industry. Keep in mind that the above list is only the beginning! You can also find more opportunities in niche markets including pet care, beauty, video games and consoles, and more.
As many people in the merchandising industry know, successful retail is all about the 5 Rs: the right products, the right place, the right time, the right quantity, and the right price. Figuring out all these details on your own can be overwhelming. That’s why, sometimes, it makes more sense to invest in an opportunity that already exists. We call these “Franchise Opportunities” and they offer several benefits to entrepreneurs including the recognition of a well-established brand and a proven track record of success.
To learn more, start by exploring a few retail franchise opportunities, below! Remember, if anything catches your interest, download the free Small Business Startup app to keep all these options at your fingertips—available for both Apple and Android!