Log In


How to Set Up a Retail Business in Singapore

10 Oct 2023
how to set up a retail business in Singapore Have you ever wanted to open a store? In this article, we will guide you through the crucial steps of setting up a successful retail business in Singapore.

Market Research and Business Planning

If you're uncertain about which kind of retail store to choose, explore the most popular retail business ideas in Singapore in our helpful article.

With a retail business idea in mind, the first step is to conduct market research and create a well-crafted business plan. Here's how to approach the critical steps. 

Conducting Market Research

Identify Target Audience: Define your target demographic. Understand their preferences, purchasing behavior, and the factors influencing their buying decisions.

Competitor Analysis: Analyze existing competitors in the Singaporean market. Identify gaps in the market and areas where your business can offer a unique value proposition.

Trend Analysis: Stay abreast of current market trends. This includes not only product trends but also changes in consumer behavior and emerging technologies.

Creating a Comprehensive Business Plan

Executive Summary: Provide a concise overview of your business, its mission, and key objectives.

Market Analysis: Incorporate findings from your market research. Detail the size of the market, target demographics, and competitive landscape.

Operational Plan: Outline how your retail business will operate, from sourcing products to inventory management and customer service.

Marketing Strategy: Define how you will promote and position your business. Include both online and offline strategies to maximize reach.

Financial Projections: Provide realistic financial forecasts, including startup costs, revenue projections, and break-even analysis.

plan for opening a store in singapore

Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Starting a Retail Business in Singapore

Starting a retail business in Singapore requires a solid understanding of the legal and regulatory landscape. Here's a comprehensive overview:

Types of Business Structures Suitable for Retail in Singapore

Sole-Proprietorship and Partnership

Sole-Proprietorship: Suitable for single-owner businesses.

Partnership: Suitable for businesses with two or more owners.

Limited Partnership (LP)

Comprises general partners (with unlimited liability) and limited partners (with liability limited to their investment). LPs are less common in retail businesses.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Combines elements of partnerships and companies, offering limited liability to its partners. LLPs are suitable for professional services but may not be as common in traditional retail.


Private Limited Company (Pte Ltd) is a commonly chosen structure for retail businesses. It provides limited liability to its shareholders.

Registration and Licensing Requirements in Singapore

Business Registration

Register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Choose a unique business name and provide necessary details about the business structure.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) Registration

If your annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold, GST registration is mandatory.


Depending on the nature of your retail business, you may need specific licenses. For example, a food and beverage retailer may require a food establishment license.

Acquire EntrePass for Relocation (Foreigner)

The EntrePass is a work pass designed for foreign entrepreneurs who intend to start and operate a business in Singapore. This pass allows them to stay in the country and oversee the daily operations of their business.

Compliance with Consumer Protection Laws in Singapore

Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act

Ensure transparency in your business dealings, providing accurate information about products and services.

Lemon Law

Understand the obligations related to defective goods and consumer rights for replacement or refund.

Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)

Safeguard customer data and comply with regulations regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.

choose a location to set up your retail store

Choosing the Right Location for Your Retail Business

Selecting the right location is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact the success of your retail business. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed choice:

Factors to Consider when Selecting a Retail Location

Foot Traffic

Assess the volume of pedestrian traffic in the area. A high footfall often translates to increased visibility and potential customers.

Target Demographics

Ensure the location aligns with your target audience. Consider factors such as age, income level, and lifestyle preferences of the local population.


Analyze the presence of competitors in the vicinity. While some competition can be healthy, an oversaturated market might pose challenges.


Evaluate the accessibility of the location for both pedestrians and vehicles. Proximity to public transportation and parking facilities is crucial.

Costs and Rent

Consider the overall costs of operating in a specific location, including rent, utilities, and additional expenses. Balance this with your budget and revenue projections. If you need help managing your business finances, head to Swiftly for personalized accounting support.

Zoning Regulations

Be aware of local zoning regulations to ensure your business activities align with the designated purpose of the area.

Understanding the Different Commercial Spaces Available

Shopping Malls

Ideal for businesses targeting a wide audience and benefit from shared marketing efforts and amenities.

Street Retail/High Street

Offers visibility and foot traffic but may have higher rental costs. Suitable for businesses with a unique or niche appeal.

Commercial Complexes

Often a blend of offices and retail spaces, providing a mix of daytime and evening foot traffic.

Pop-up Stores

Temporary retail spaces that can be beneficial for testing new markets or products without a long-term commitment.

Online Presence

In the digital age, consider the viability of an online store, whether standalone or in conjunction with a physical location.

By carefully evaluating these factors and understanding the available commercial spaces, you can strategically position your retail business for success in the chosen location.

Setting Up Your Retail Store

Once you've chosen the ideal location for your retail business, it's time to move on to the exciting phase of setting up your store. This involves translating your vision into a physical space that not only attracts customers but also provides a seamless shopping experience. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the setup process:

Store Layout and Design

Plan the Layout: Consider the flow of customer traffic within the store. Ensure that high-demand products are strategically placed for maximum visibility.

Create a Welcoming Atmosphere: Use appealing colors, lighting, and decor to create a welcoming ambiance that resonates with your brand and target audience.

Merchandising and Inventory Management

Effective Merchandising: Display products in a visually appealing manner. Consider seasonal promotions and create eye-catching displays to attract customer attention.

Inventory Organization: Implement a system for efficient inventory management. Categorize products logically and ensure proper storage.

Point of Sale (POS) System

Select a Reliable POS System: Invest in a Point of Sale system that suits the needs of your retail business. This includes features such as inventory tracking, sales reporting, and seamless payment processing.

Technology Integration

E-commerce Integration: If applicable, integrate your physical store with an online presence. This allows for a unified customer experience and expands your market reach. Check out how to start an e-commerce business here.

Security Systems: Install security systems such as surveillance cameras and alarm systems to protect your store from theft and ensure the safety of your customers and staff.

employee training for retail business

Employee Training

Staff Training: Provide thorough training to your staff on customer service, product knowledge, and operating procedures. Well-trained staff contribute to a positive customer experience.

Grand Opening and Marketing

Launch Strategy: Plan a grand opening event to generate buzz and attract customers. Utilize marketing strategies, both online and offline, to promote the opening of your retail store.

Loyalty Programs: Consider implementing loyalty programs to encourage repeat business and build a loyal customer base.

By meticulously addressing these steps, you'll not only set up a functional and visually appealing retail store but also create an environment conducive to customer satisfaction and business success.

Explore Swiftly for Effortless Incorporation Today

If you already have a retail business idea, Swiftly is your key to fast incorporation, transforming your concepts into a fully registered business in no time. With our cutting-edge technology, you can generate necessary legal documents in seconds, saving you both time and effort.

And it doesn't end there. Swiftly offers a suite of services beyond incorporation. From accounting to nominee director and company secretary services in Singapore, we are here to support every aspect of your business journey.

More Blogs

Blog image

Unlocking Success: A Definitive Guide to Seamless Company Incorporation in Singapore

03 Jan 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, Singapore stands out as a beacon for...

Blog image

14 New Retail Business Ideas in Singapore 2023

10 Oct 2023

In this article, we will explore some promising retail business ideas for 2023, providing insights...