3 Simple Steps to Effectively Enter A New Geographic Market

By Tonita Proulx, Business Partnerships

Published: April 8, 2016

Expanding into new geographic markets, whether online or in retail brick and mortar locations, is one of the most common stepping-stones for business growth. And while the notion is attractive particularly for business leaders, even the slightest flaw in process and execution can result in market failure.

This is why it is vital to develop a comprehensive strategy and plan before you move. Otherwise, your business can fall to the wayside, as other companies do a better job executing on their growth strategies.

The Key Considerations

In working with companies in several verticals, we’ve discovered three critical components that can help a new entrant successfully fill a geographic market void.

  1. Know your customer before you go. Always, always, always begin with the customer in mind. Before stepping into a new market, stand in their shoes and see through the lens of the people. What are their tastes? What do they value? How much are they willing to pay? How do they like to shop? This is the foundation for any successful transition. Without audience understanding, you will fail.
  2. Clearly define a strategy and plan. Begin by looking at your existing strategy and plan. Starting here allows you to capitalize on what’s already working or not working. Then based on the new customer, develop a comprehensive strategy adjusted for new market nuances. Identify entry points, choose channels, develop messaging that will create buzz, resonate with the right people, and ultimately drive in-store visits.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of digital. Gone are the days of a purely PR focused approach to a new store. Focus less on the billboards and megaphone-type tactics and more on cultivating relationships, having conversations, and sharing stories. In 2016, PR is different. It’s not about public relations, it’s about personal relationships. Rely on digital to obtain brand awareness and pre-market expansion so you’re well positioned before the store even opens.

A Growing Grocery Store

With a focus on providing exceptional foods and delivering an extraordinary experience, Festival Foods is a leading independent grocer in the Midwest. With a strong history, inviting culture, and true focus on guest satisfaction, expansion into two new markets in the last year was a given. From 20 to 22 locations, Festival Foods recently opened their doors in Janesville and Madison, Wisconsin.

Yet, for the 70-year-old company, the move to a new neighborhood wasn’t taken lightly – especially into the vibrant, urban Madison community. A grocery store used to serving suburban Moms and Dads with a small town community feel needed to appeal to young professionals focused on an active lifestyle, healthy living, quality experiences, and big city amenities. Already prior to store opening, Festival Foods has reached more than 92% of the Madison market.

Looking to expand your geographic markets? Take a look at our checklist.