Before You Open A Liquor Store, Consider These 6 Things First

Lights, cameras, action! Nothing is more exciting than the opening day of a movie premiere. 

But does anyone ever stop to consider the amount of work, planning, time, and resources that go into creating that movie from conception to completion? 

Opening a liquor store is similar. Several key considerations and steps need to be taken before your store has its "box office open."

While it can be exciting to think about the final product, taking the right steps and considering all factors when opening a liquor store is the best way to set yourself up for success. The market is incredibly competitive. So what should you be doing now to ensure success in a saturated market?

With over 20 years of experience in the liquor store industry, we've seen it all, and we're here to help. Here are six key considerations you should think about before opening a liquor store.

What to Know When You Open a Liquor Store

Opening up a liquor store is a journey full of surprises. The benefits can outweigh the negatives, but it requires taking the proper steps and planning to ensure this is your reality. 

You need to approach a liquor store business with the proper foundation, inventory management, and equipment to make your store operational and successful. Whether you're at the beginning, middle, or end of your journey in planning to open a liquor store, there may be a few things you have yet to consider.

You might think you've turned over every stone when it comes to knowing everything necessary for opening a liquor store, but here are some factors that are worth considering if you haven't already.

how to open a liquor store - Bottle POS

1. Location

The location of your liquor store is the physical foundation of your business.

You don't want to open a liquor store too close to another one, so keep in mind where potential competitors are located. Also, consider your target demographics, where they live, and zoning restrictions for alcohol sales. It's best to ensure you're contacting the right people to account for any and all requirements.

In addition to zoning requirements, there are strict regulations for advertisements relating to the consumption of alcohol, depending on the city you are in. Research any restrictions before you launch any visual ideas for your liquor store.

2. Target Audience

Once you've decided where you're opening your store, think about who's around and your target audience. 

Your audience will look very different if you open a store in a busy downtown district or if you're opening in the suburbs. Marketing is vital for attracting your ideal customer base, and with the right strategies, you can cultivate loyal customers that will keep coming back.

Your target audience can also determine what kinds of products you should consider selling and what you want to test. Do you want to focus on wine products? Spirits? Beer? Remember your target market's preferences and incorporate that into your product sales.

3. Advertising

As mentioned above, marketing is critical for attracting your customer base. Especially as a new store, it's essential to introduce yourself to the community. Getting started on the right foot can mean building a loyal customer base right off the bat or struggling to sell product for the first few months. 

Marketing and advertising also means determining your brand identity. How do you want customers to feel when they walk into your store, and what kinds of customers do you want to keep coming back? 

Your business' voice and tone should reflect who you are as an owner and make your liquor store feel relatable, comfortable, and inviting. This is embodied in your customer service and product offerings:

  • Do you have reusable bags with fun designs? 

  • What's the music in your store like? 

  • What colors are prominent around your establishment? 

Considering these things can help distinguish your brand from other liquor stores and create an in-store experience unique to you.

4. Customer Loyalty Programs

Once you've started getting good in-store traffic, your focus should shift to keeping them coming back. People love rewards programs and enjoy knowing that their loyalty is being rewarded.

Customer loyalty programs can be created within your POS system software. You can also use retail sales data to track popularity which may help you make better marketing strategies for your popular products. 

Bottle POS, for example, offers integrated SMS marketing features that work perfectly with customer loyalty programs. A simple text message lets customers know what promotions or campaigns are relevant to them. Taking advantage of online loyalty programs can also help increase adoption and foot traffic, as it reduces the friction of carrying around point cards. 

Step one is getting customers through your doors, and step two is getting them to come back. Think about integrating your store into your customer's regular routines. Running a weekly promotion on Thursday nights for loyalty members could get customers to replenish their liquor cabinets before the weekend. 

5. Licenses and Permits

Liquor stores are different from most retail businesses. The sale of the liquor itself has many ramifications if the liquor store is missing proper licenses and permits for operation.

Licenses and permits vary from state to state and even among smaller cities. With all the different types of licenses and permits related to liquor, it's essential to do research ahead of time so you know what is required of you from a legal standpoint.

Securing a liquor license is time-consuming, and the number of licenses available can be restricted, so you must start the process early on in deciding to open your store.

6. Liquor Store Business Processes

It's important to think about your day-to-day operations before you even get started on opening your store. Core processes include inventory management, replenishment, checkout counters, and more.

Liquor bottles have many SKUs; the quantities of categories, brands, flavors, price points, and size variations can quickly pile up. POS systems like Bottle POS can make scanning products into your inventory significantly easier with an existing database of products. What would normally take two to five minutes per product takes at most 30 seconds.

Considering things like inventory management before opening your store, you can make the necessary investments to get yourself started on the right foot. A solution like Bottle POS can simplify day-to-day processes, allowing you to focus on growth and metrics that matter.

It's important to note that stocking up on inventory requires a substantial upfront investment. This is one of the aspects of liquor store ownership that often catches new owners off guard.

You must consider a POS system that can help simplify your inventory management and guide buying decisions. With a centralized database, you can look at popular products, reducing the risk of buying products that won't sell.

Stock is automatically updated when shipments are received, and you can turn on auto ordering for popular products, so you don't have to worry about creating purchase orders. The best part of working with a platform like Bottle POS is that all information is on the cloud, so  you can access your data from anywhere with an internet connection. You can look at product databases and get an idea of what products sell well.

POS system software automates many time-consuming processes, making it easier for your business to simplify and inform daily operations and focus on the growth of your business.

Your Guide to Successfully Opening a Liquor Store

The liquor store business is highly complex and incredibly competitive. Getting yourself started on the right foot and with the proper considerations can help optimize your chances for success. 

Once you've locked in your location, license, and permits, your focus should be on a POS system for your store. With an all-in-one liquor store POS system, your liquor store will thrive on the first day of operations. 

Features like a centralized inventory database, inventory management, auto-replenishment, and more can benefit you as an owner and turn you into a product expert in no time. A POS system should minimize time spent on daily tasks and help inform important business decisions.

Automation from the beginning gets the ball rolling for all facets of your business. From inventory control to marketing, POS system software makes every day in the liquor store smooth and efficient. Bottle POS has helped countless liquor stores grow their businesses and make life better and easier for store owners. 

If you're ready to take the plunge and dive into the liquor industry head-on, get in touch with us, and we can walk you through how Bottle POS can help.

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