How to Open a Supermarket: Your 5-Step Guide

You can’t start construction on a building without a blueprint. Opening a supermarket is equally difficult without a proper plan or strategy.

There are many pieces to consider when opening a grocery store, and it’s easy to miss steps or components without proper planning. The grocery industry has unique obstacles and challenges. Success depends on getting the right start and making a comprehensive plan for opening your store.

With over 25 years of experience in the grocery industry, we’ve got you covered with our six-step guide to opening a supermarket. Read on so you can cover all the bases as you work on opening your market.


How to Open a Supermarket: Building From the Ground Up

The retail industry is incredibly dynamic, fast-paced, competitive, and relatively unforgiving. Building a supermarket from the ground up means creating a business plan from conception to execution — and covering all business operations. 

Despite e-commerce becoming a growing option for consumers, people still gravitate towards shopping in stores, with 79 percent of retail sales in 2022 still generated through in-store shopping. 

Supermarkets remain a popular experience for consumers as they provide face-to-face interactions. In-store shopping enables consumers to find new and exciting products in person. 

However, while opening a supermarket may seem exciting, there are several vital things to consider so you can get started the right way. Doing so gives you the best chance to serve your community as best as possible and run a profitable business simultaneously.


Step 1. Create a Business Plan 

The first few building blocks of a building are vital to ensure the rest of the construction can happen. Creating a business plan is one of the most critical steps in opening your supermarket. 

Start by documenting the steps and actions required to open your store. This can include:

  • Finding a location
  • Getting contractors to build your store the way you want it to look, OR
  • Leasing an existing location
  • Considering stock and where to order products
  • Employees and hiring
  • Finding a POS system
  • Creating a Marketing and Operations plan
  • Determining your Executive team
  • Creating a financial plan
  • Conducting a competitor analysis

Documenting what you need to accomplish can help you ensure you don’t miss anything and can serve as a checklist for you in the process. Checking off some of these more significant tasks can also help keep you on the right track when opening your store.


Step 2. Open Your Business Accounts (Asset Accounts, Operating Expenses) 

Accounting is a core component in opening any business. Setting up the correct business accounts and obtaining an employee identification number from the IRS should be one of the first steps you take when opening your business. Set up business accounting, and record various expenses and income to make taxes less complicated in the future.

This also means factoring in all expenses and ongoing costs, including software subscriptions, employee wages, taxes, utilities, and all other operational fees. Planning for all operational fees can help you determine how much revenue you need to make to stay above your bottom line. 

POS systems like IT Retail can provide you with sales reports and data. This information can help you accurately track revenue performance and lets you know whether you’re on track for profitability or if you need to make some changes to your business.

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Step 3. Obtain the Right Permits, Licenses, and Insurance 

A business can only operate with the proper permits, licenses, and insurance. From specific products you sell, to protecting your business in case of emergency, theft, or unexpected situations, skipping out on essential licenses or insurance can harm you and your business.

General Liability Insurance protects you against accidents inside and outside your store, Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides financial assistance and medical care to any employees injured while on the job, and lLiquor and tTobacco permits are required if you want to sell any of those kinds of products.

Covering your bases from a compliance standpoint is easy to overlook, but not a minor consideration when it comes to the longevity and success of your business.


Step 4. Find The Right POS System

Once your physical store is up and ready to operate, you must start considering your day-to-day operations. A modern and robust POS system can jumpstart your business through features designed to make your business processes more manageable. 

Features and benefits to look for in a POS system can include:

Departments may need specific equipment or tools to process labels and barcodes. An efficient POS system will be able to integrate with different scale systems to support transactions for all kinds of unique products.

Operational uptime is also an important consideration. A cloud-based POS system is paramount for any organization, as it ensures you can operate your store processes at all times. Many POS systems even offer an offline mode, which allows you to make sales if your internet connection is down. 

An effective POS system is more than just a checkout process. It can help you optimize and manage most, if not all, of your day-to-day store operations, allowing you to focus on creating a fantastic experience for your customers and strengthening your relationship with your community.


Step 5. Create Marketing Campaigns and Establish Your Brand

For any new business, a marketing plan is vital in attracting new customers. Potential marketing tactics can include:

  • Social media
  • Paid advertisements
  • Local newspaper ads
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Promotional campaigns

Setting aside a budget for marketing can help you attract new customers. Consider setting up social media accounts and finding ways to interact digitally with your local communities. Facebook groups and Reddit threads can help you find and connect with locals to invite into your store.

Establishing your brand identity and how you want customers to feel when you walk into your store is vital to your business. You want them to feel like you care about your customers. This starts with how you market yourself and how your customers feel when they walk in. Does someone welcome them? Is it easy for them to find what they need? Are your bags branded? Are employees happy and helpful?

Loyalty programs are also excellent customer marketing tools that can keep your customers coming back, as it rewards them for shopping with you regularly. IT Retail lets you create customizable loyalty programs and rewards with our POS system. This makes it easier for customers to get rewarded for shopping with you regularly.


How to Open a Supermarket and How to be Successful

There are several key considerations when opening a supermarket, but the process doesn’t have to be overly complicated as long as you set yourself up for success. Set aside time to create a business plan with actionable tasks and steps so you can record your progress along the way. 

Consider the physical experience, environment, and location. Where is your store, and how is it going to look? Where are your products coming from, and are you creating a relationship with distributors? Figure out specific business logistics, operational expenses, hiring, licenses, permits, and everything required from a legal or operational standpoint. Create a marketing plan. How will you bring customers in, and how will you keep them there? 

Find the right POS system for your business, keeping in mind that some offer more functionality than others. A solution like IT Retail can help make your grocery business operations significantly more manageable. From inventory management to sales, revenue reports to customer data, it can help get you started on the right foot and make a profit from the beginning. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we can help you get your supermarket off the ground and running in the most efficient way possible.