December 8, 2022

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35 Low Cost Retail Business Ideas

6 min read

Opening a retail store is a popular way to start your own business. There are a huge array of products to sell, and you can run your business either in-person or online. Some retail business ideas can require a lot of capital, but this isn’t true for all. Here are some options for those with a limited budget.



What Is a Retail Business?

A retail business includes any company that sells goods or services directly to consumers for their consumption or use. Traditionally, retail businesses have included physical storefronts where people purchase tangible goods. But many now offer products online or over the phone and ship products to consumers.

The Retail Industry in 2022

The retail industry has shifted dramatically in the past few decades. Many stores are now online or even completely mobile. The pandemic shifted the industry even further away from an in-person model. However, with the right retail business idea in the right market, any type of storefront can still succeed.

Read more: Retail Statistics You Should Know

Why You Should Consider Starting a Retail Business

If you’re looking for a profitable business to start in 2022, the retail industry offers many opportunities. Here are some top benefits of starting a retail business:

  • Variety of opportunities: No matter what you’re interested in, there’s a retail business that relates to it.
  • Community involvement: With a physical retail business, you can create a more vibrant downtown district and take part in community outreach and events.
  • Simple business model: Some businesses have complicated offerings. But a retail store generally just sells products at a slight profit. So it’s easier to manage the basic planning.
  • Personal interactions: With a brick-and-mortar location, you can interact with customers all day long, ideal for extroverts.
  • Low-cost options: Some retail business ideas may require significant capital. But there are also online storefronts and microbusinesses that can start for next to nothing.

Profitable Retail Business Ideas

Many stores and small town business ideas don’t require much startup capital. So there’s plenty of room to earn profit over time. Here are some top retail business ideas to consider in 2022.

1. Health Food Store

A health food store is usually a physical retail business, since it may offer fresh options. However, you can still start this type of business online and ship packaged foods.

2. Coffee Shop

Coffee shops serve local customers fresh beverages and snacks. Create a comfortable environment and extra amenities like free wifi to attract customers.

3. Organic Food Store

Organic foods are those grown or produced without pesticides or chemicals. Many consumers prefer natural food for health or environmental reasons.

4. Pet Store

With a pet store, you can offer animals, food, and accessories to members of your local community. Many also include extra services like grooming.

5. Food Truck Business

Food trucks are actually retail businesses since they sell food items directly to consumers. This is also a fairly low-cost business idea since you don’t need a full storefront.

6. Thrift Store

Thrift stores sell secondhand goods like furniture, clothing, and home decor at discounted prices. Many accept donations or run on consignment, so you can keep your profit margin high.

7. Furniture Business

With a furniture business, you can either sell pieces from top manufacturers or produce your own. Inventory can cost more, but pieces usually sell at higher prices.

8. Ice Cream Shop

If you have space for a small shop, an ice cream shop may be ideal. Just set up a counter with a few flavors and toppings.

9. Subscription Box Service

Subscription boxes include a set of related items sent directly to subscribers periodically. This has become an increasingly successful business model in recent years.

10. Mobile Store

A mobile store can sell basically anything. The shop would be hosted on an app or mobile website.

Read more: 3 Rules to Help Your Retail Business Provide the New Products Customers Demand

11. Candy Shop

Candy is an inexpensive and easy product to sell at either a local or online store.

12. Sports Shop

Sports shops sell a variety of equipment and apparel for local athletes. You may even offer products online.

13. Dollar Stores

Dollar stores offer a huge array of products for a dollar. Buy inexpensive products in bulk to maximize profits.

14. Flower Shop

Flower shops sell cut flowers, bouquets, and custom arrangements for special events.

15. Beauty Salon

Beauty salons are considered retail businesses since they provide services directly to consumers. Many also sell hair and beauty products.

16. Craft Beer Retailer

Craft beer is gaining popularity in many markets. Stock unique flavors and brands for customers to try.

17. Newsstand

Newsstands are small outdoor businesses that stock newspapers, magazines, and convenience items. Startup costs are usually low due to the small location and inexpensive inventory.

18. Vape Shop Business

Vape shops are booming in 2022. There’s a huge array of flavors and accessories to stock.

19. Fashion Boutique

Fashion boutiques carry clothing and accessories either in person or online.

20. Online Store

Online stores can sell basically anything. You don’t even have to physically carry inventory if you have an off-site fulfillment service.

Read more: Small Business Ideas for Beginners

21. Local Market

Local markets may carry grocery products or any items popular in your neighborhood. They’re generally known for friendly, personal service.

22. Vending Machines

Vending machines are like automated retail businesses. Place them in busy locations with people interested in your products.

23. Gift Shop

Gift shops carry small items perfect for gifting. They’re especially popular in downtown districts and tourist spots.

24. Bakery

Bakeries offer cakes, pastries, and various desserts.

25. Kids Store

A kids’ store can carry various toys, clothing, and gear for children and families.

26. Auto Parts Store

Auto parts are always in demand. Shops can carry a variety, or specialize in one item like tires.

27. Used Bookshop

Used books are fairly inexpensive. And many consumers like the experience of browsing these shops.

28. Tech Accessories Shop

Tech accessories like phone cases and Bluetooth speakers are quite popular. And many are inexpensive to carry.

29. Art Supply Store

Art supply stores are especially popular in cities and college towns. Many also carry craft items and home goods.

30. Medical Device Store

Medical device stores are fairly recession-proof and help community members in need.

31. Record Store

Records are enjoying a resurgence. Stock these by purchasing lots from individuals or estate sales.

32. Collectibles Seller

Collectibles like trading cards and coins always sell for decent prices, both in-person and online.

33. Handmade Seller

Handmade businesses are quite popular online. But there are also some physical retail stores featuring these items.

34. Farmers Market Vendor

Farmers and food producers can offer their products directly at local markets.

35. Pharmacy

Pharmacies sell medicinal items, and many also carry additional products like cards and cosmetics.

What Is the Best Low-Cost Retail Business Idea to Start?

If you’re trying to save money while starting a retail business, start an online shop. You only need a domain, hosting, and inventory, instead of a physical store. You can also cut costs using marketplace sites or fulfillment and dropshipping services.

What Type of Retail Shop Is Most Profitable?

Retail profits vary widely by industry. Some options with high-profit margins include medical supplies, pharmacy products, and tech accessories. Online stores also tend to be most profitable right away, since startup costs are low.

How Can You Open a Retail Store With No Money?

Opening an online store is the easiest way to start a retail store with no money. There are many marketplace sites that let you list products for next to nothing and pay a small commission when they sell. Start with used items you already own, like collectibles, and use the profits to purchase other inventory.

Image: Envato Elements


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