Are you searching for retail business ideas in India? Retail business is considered to be one of the most profitable and lucrative opportunities not only in metropolitan cities but also in small towns and tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India.
Recently, as developed nations begin to emerge from recession, their economies recover, and unemployment rates begin to fall, the market segments are experiencing some renewed growth.
Here in this article, you will find the most profitable retail business opportunities in India in different segments. It includes agriculture, automobile, apparel & clothing, food & beverages, education, beauty & healthcare, and home & furnishing.
List of 65 Retail Business Ideas in India
#1. Farm Machinery Selling
Agriculture is the most important sector in the economy of India. Still today, most of the village demographics are engaged in agriculture and farming. Farm machinery and equipment are important items in the agriculture industry. So, if you live in a village or small town, you can consider this opportunity.
#2. Fertilizer Distribution
Fertilizer comes under the segment of agricultural input in India. The local supply of different types of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides completely depends on the small fertilizer stores in the area. With fertilizer, you can also sell seeds and other tools to the farmers. You need a proper license and permission from the concerned authority also.
#3. Hydroponic Store
Actually, hydroponic is a specific practice of growing plants without soil. Here, growers use only water and water-soluble nutrients. As hydroponics has several advantages over traditional agriculture, the demand is growing for hydroponics equipment in our country.
#4. Plant Nursery Shop
A plant nursery shop is a profitable business in India. If you have a hobby of gardening, you can transfer your hobby into a profitable venture. Additionally, the low infrastructure cost makes the business revenue-wise more lucrative.
#5. Retail Seed Store
Basically, seed is the very primary input in agriculture and farming. Farmers can grow only a quality product if they use quality seeds. In India, some of the most important seeds are paddy, wheat, mustard, potato, and other vegetable seeds. If you have some previous experience, you can start both seed retailing and distribution.
#6. Auto Parts Shop
You can start an auto parts shop business in both rural and city areas of India. Even, the business is perfect for small towns. Basically, the auto parts industry caters to a wide range of subcategories. It includes two-wheeler, four-wheelers, construction vehicles, etc. However, it is advisable you focus on a specific niche.
#7. Car Washing Zone
The automobile industry is very promising in our country. The vehicle population is also growing very fast. In this scenario, initiating a car washing zone is a highly lucrative retail business for new entrepreneurs. Generally, washing zones also provide value-added services like air pressure checking, etc.
#8. Fuel Station/Petrol Pump
If you want to start a business in the oil and gas industry, you can consider starting a fuel station or petrol pump business in India. In starting a petrol pump, you must have a large space at a prime location. You can also sell other utility items from the fuel station. Sometimes, fuel stations run coffee shops or restaurants also.
#9. Two Wheeler Showroom
Two-wheeler is an important means of conveyance for both rural and urban populations. In the villages, it’s more of a necessity and in the metro cities, it’s more of a style. Initiating a motorcycle showroom requires specific permission and moderate capital investment.
#10. Open a Tyre Store
Tyres have a specific lifespan. And after that certain period, it needs replacement. The tyre industry in India is very vibrant. However, opening a tyre shop business needs reasonable capital investment and wide space in a good location.
#11. Alteration Business
If you enjoy sewing and making outfits perfect for others, you can consider this business. Basically, an alter shop is an evergreen business. Additionally, the business demands a very small capital investment. Even, you can start with a 100 Sq Ft retail space.
#12. Apparel Boutique
This is one of the most trending businesses both in developed and developing countries. Basically, the apparel boutique offers designer garments and several accessories items with unique designs. However, you must have some design sense and fashion expertise in starting this business.
#13. Blouse Shop
If you want to start a retail business in India in the garment industry with small capital, you can consider this. You can find a lot of designer blouse manufacturers and wholesalers to start this business. Also, this business type of retail store requires a small space to operate.
#14. Embroidery Unit
If you have embroidery designing skills, you can open an embroidery unit. However, you will need to procure the stitching machines, threads, and other tools for running the unit. Also, you can start the business from home or in a retail location.
#15. Fabric Store
Actually, a fabric store is a traditional retail business. Additionally, the business is easy to start and operate. You can keep the stock of fabrics according to the local market demand. However, the business demands substantial capital investment in creating the inventory stock.
#16. Kids Store
You can open a kid’s store as a small, medium, and also as a large store. Nowadays, kid’s stores sell a wide range of products. The list includes garments, accessories, toys, shoes, kids’ home decor items, books, CDs, educational stationery, etc. However, you must concentrate on a specific age group and keep the materials of good quality.
#17. Ladies Garments Store
In the readymade garment industry, ladies’ garment is the most promising segment. Women are passionate about their outfits. Also, they buy frequently not only during celebration time but also on a regular basis. A wide range of manufacturers and wholesalers are also available to get the startup inventory.
#18. Leather Fashion Store
If you want to start a high-value business in the fashion industry, you can consider opening a leather fashion store. Actually, leather fashion stores sell leather-made fashion apparel. The list may include leather jackets, gloves, bags, and other utility items.
#19. Saree Shop
A saree is predominantly an Indian attire. And you can find a lot of different types of regional sarees here. Some of the most popular are Kanjivaram, Banarasi, Sambalpuri, Tant, Phulkari. Chikankari, etc. However, the overall success of a saree shop hugely depends on the collection and quality of products.
#20. Shoe Laundry
The shoe laundry business includes the services of collecting shoes, getting them cleaned and repaired if required, making delivery of the shoes to the client’s doorsteps, and getting the payments. Additionally, you can offer different services like cleaning, washing, repairs, color correction, maintenance services, footwear restoration, etc.
#21. Banquet Hall
Basically, the banquet hall is a large building or room used for feasts. They are specially used for parties, functions, ceremonies, occasions, or celebrations. Generally, people hire banquet halls for different purposes. The list may include birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, social gatherings, personal events, festivals, and corporate parties.
#22. Bar with Restaurant
Bar with a restaurant is one of the most profitable food retail businesses nowadays. However, the business demands moderate to high capital investment. Additionally, you must conduct market research before initiating the business.
#23. Biryani Shop
In India, you can find a lot of different types of biryani depending on the region and the taste of the local demographics. These are Dhakai biryani, Haji biryani, Hyderabadi biryani, Sindhi biryani, Chettinad biryani, Kalyani biryani, etc.
#24. Butcher Shop
Starting a small butcher shop is an ideal business in both small towns and metro cities. From the shop, you can sell different types of animal protein items like chicken, mutton, etc. However, obtaining registration, and maintaining hygiene properly is important.
#25. Cake Shop
Basically, starting a cake shop is a lucrative food retail business. The business is easy to start and manage. Additionally, the cake retailing business is perfect for women entrepreneurs too. Any individual can start this business by taking a minimum financial risk.
#26. Coffee Shop
Basically, people consider the coffee shop as the third most comfortable destination after home and office. In addition, the coffee shop is an ideal destination for having chats with friends relatives, and even clients and colleagues. Therefore, the demand for coffee shops is increasing very fast.
#27. Grocery Store
Basically, starting a grocery store is one of the easiest businesses to start. Actually, a convenience store keeps and sells a range of everyday items. The list may include groceries, snack foods, confectionery, soft drinks, tobacco products, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines.
#28. Fast Food Restaurant
A small-scale fast-food restaurant is a profitable business. Depending upon your investment capacity, you can keep it small and simple or large. However, this business is not so easy. You must conduct intensive market research and craft a business plan before commencing the business. additionally, select the menu and tariff very carefully.
#29. Food Truck
Basically, the food truck is a moving restaurant. Sometimes the business is more profitable even from a restaurant. With some ready-eat and cooked foods, you can roam around the busy areas during working hours. However, the business demands moderate capital investment and licensing from the Govt. authority.
#30. Ice Cream Parlor
Ice cream is one of the most popular food items among every age group of people. Apart from opening your own brand, you can consider starting a franchise. There are several reputed brands you can find that offer franchises for selective locations.
#31. Live Bakery
Basically, the live bakery is a new concept of the traditional bakery. Here, you will operate the entire operation live in front of the customers. The customer can see the cake baking and packaging system live. However, the business demands adequate retail space and substantial capital investment.
Basically, a microbrewery sells craft beers of different tastes and flavors. Additionally, you can sell different types of snacks and main course food items too. The business demands substantial capital investment and strategic marketing planning.
#33. Pizza Store
Basically, pizza is an Italian food item. Currently, a lot of national and foreign brands are getting huge popularity in pizza delivery activity. It’s better to start as a franchise partner of a reputed brand. And these days, initiating a pizza franchise requires a lot of funds.
#34. Open a Quick-Service Restaurant
Basically, the restaurant business comes under the food retail segment. Currently, it is a Rs 75000 crore industry according to industry experts. Also, it is growing at an annual rate of 7%. Some of the highest-growing segments are quick-service restaurants, casual dining, cafe, and fine dining.
#35. South Indian Restaurant
Throughout India, people prefer South Indian foods. Dosa, Idli, Uttapam, and Badas are delicious and tasty food items that have a hot and sour taste. Also, you can consider starting a South Indian restaurant as a franchise partner of an established brand.
#36. Sweets & Snack Store
A small sweets and snacks store business is a very much profitable and lucrative opportunity for first-generation entrepreneurs. Generally, this type of store sells fresh sweets and snacks to retail consumers. And most traditional shopkeepers produce products of their own. Also, the business is profitable in small towns.
#37. Tea Stall
Probably, a tea stall is the most common retail business across India. And also the most low-cost too. Simply, you can open a tea stall even with Rs 10000 cash. Currently, you can find some franchise opportunities also in the tea stall business.
#38. Wine Store
If you are looking for a highly lucrative retail opportunity, then a wine store is just perfect for you. The business requires a good location, specific licensing, and a lot of funds to take off.
#39. Retail Book Store
Even in this internet era, books are still very relevant for students, law years, and researchers. Also, many people still consider books as good gift items. Hence starting a brick & mortar bookstore is a profitable business in both metro cities and small towns.
#40. Coaching Center
Students need proper coaching. Also, they need coaching for competitive exams like joint entrance and service exams. Depending on your specific area of interest, you can open a coaching center with a small capital investment.
#41. Toys Store
Children love toys. Also, toys help them in developing their minds properly. Toys help in learning also. So, most of the time parents look for innovative and good-quality toys for their kids. Initiating a toy store requires moderate capital investment and a good location.
#42. Nursing Training Center
This is another promising sector in the education industry in India. As the medical industry is growing rapidly, the demand for skilled and experienced nurses is also growing. Big hospital brands prefer employing personnel directly from nursing schools. So, if you have an interest in this segment, you can consider opening a nursing training institute in your area.
Playschool or preschool is one of the most successful education businesses in India. It is an easy-to-start business. also, it requires moderate capital investment. If you love spending time with kids, you can definitely consider this opportunity.
#44. School Stationery Store
School and office stationery include a wide range of products including pens, pencils, erasers, exercise books, drawing copy, glue, art paper, etc. You can collect the inventory from the local wholesalers and sell them from your small retail store.
#45. Xerox Shop
Xerox shop is a perfect business to start nearby offices, schools, colleges, and residential areas. With Xerox, you can offer other value-added services like bookbinding, lamination, etc. In this business, you need startup capital in purchasing the Xerox machine, and papers and establishing the store.
#46. Barber Shop
Initiating a barbershop is a financially lucrative business in India. And you can earn a handsome profit from a store. However, the overall success of the business highly depends on the location, store amenities, and efficient manpower.
#47. Beauty Salon
If you want to start a business in the beauty industry, then you can consider starting a beauty salon business. Additionally, the business offers several niche opportunities to the owners. Also, the business is very suitable for women entrepreneurs.
#48. Cosmetics Shop
The use of cosmetics is increasing very fast globally. It is not only women, but men are also very much conscious about looks. Hence, you can consider starting a cosmetics store at your location with a range of items. You can keep both the chemical and organic items to address the bigger audience.
#49. Open a Gym
If you enjoy working out and have specific knowledge, you can start a gym. In starting, you can open the gym at your home also to keep the startup cost low. However, a commercial retail operation ensures better profitability. The business demands moderate capital investment.
#50. Hair Salon
In the beauty industry, a simple hair-cutting salon can ensure good ROI. Additionally, for starting a hair salon business, you don’t need to be a beauty expert. Even, if you don’t have any prior experience, you can start the business after attending a hair-cutting training session. Additionally, you can open the salon with a comparatively small retail space.
#51. Imitation Jewelry Shop
Imitation jewelry is also popular as artificial jewelry or costume jewelry. As the price of gold and silver is increasing, the common people can only afford imitation jewelry for both regular and occasional use. It is an easy business. And it requires a very small investment to start.
#52. Medicine Shop/Pharmacy
If you have an educational background in chemistry, you can open a medicine shop or pharmacy. The medical industry is growing and the growth rate is 18% per annum in India. Study the existing competition and check the licensing issues in your locality. Also, you can promote your retail medicine store online from a small eCommerce store of your own.
#53. Nail Art Shop
This is another emerging business in the beauty industry. Right from nail painting and decorating, the nail art industry is booming now. Additionally, you can start this business with a small retail space. However, a mall kiosk or shop-in-shop is the best location for starting a nail art shop business.
#54. Pearl Jewellery Store
If you want to start a jewelry store, you can consider pearl jewelry, Basically, pearls are semi-precious items. Additionally, the pearls come in different colors and shapes. Some of the most popular items are bangles, necklaces, earrings, etc. Also, you can consider starting a pearl jewelry store as a franchise.
#55. Retail Perfume Store
Do you enjoy different types of fragrances? If yes, you can start a perfume store with moderate capital investment. Actually, perfume is a luxury item and you will need to conduct thorough market research before commencing the business. Generally, a mall kiosk operation works best in the perfume retailing business.
It’s an emerging business in the beauty and healthcare segment of the country. Spa rejuvenates the whole body and mind too. People living in metro cities may consider starting this business.
#57. Aquarium House
Probably, fishes are the most beautiful pet. Nowadays, people keep and maintain aquarium beautification also. If you love caring for fish and decorating aquariums, you can start this business with a small capital investment.
#58. Craft Store
People always love to buy utility and gift items from craft stores. Because craft stores offer unique and innovative products to clients. You can procure the products from the home-based craftsmen of your area and sell them from your store.
#59. Crockery Store
Crockery store is a very common and easy-to-start business. Apart from home use, people buy crockery sets for gifting purposes also. You will need to find out the right wholesalers and suppliers to get the inventory for starting a crockery store.
#60. Departmental Store
Basically, departmental stores offer a wide range of products in different product categories. The category list includes clothing, furniture, home appliances, toys, cosmetics, houseware, gardening, toiletries, sporting goods, etc. It also caters to food, books, jewelry, electronics, stationery, photographic equipment, baby products, etc.
#61. Electrical & Electronics Store
This is another great sector to invest in. Additionally, the electrical and electronics segment offers a wide range of business models. Also, you can start with only lighting or electrification equipment, etc. However, craft a detailed business plan before commencing the business.
The florist is actually a retail flower shop. You can sell loose flowers, bouquets, ornamental plants, etc. Additionally, you can take orders for decorating gates or occasion venues. The business is profitable if you can source fresh flowers in the right way. Additionally, you must have a good storage system for keeping the flowers fresh.
#63. Furniture Store
Currently, small towns and cities in India are witnessing a major shift in consumer lifestyle and preferences and have thus emerged as attractive markets for retailers to expand their presence. Also, the big brands are offering free home delivery and fittings facilities. Hence, a full-scale furniture shop with home decor and lighting options is a perfect opportunity for the retail entrepreneurs
#64. Mobile Store
A multi-brand mobile store is a profitable business in both developed and developing countries. In today’s era of the internet, the demand for different types of smartphones and feature phones and increasing very fast. Also, you can sell different types of mobile accessories from your store.
#65. Pet Store
A pet store is a very lucrative business basically for pet lovers in India. First of all, try to configure the pet population of your locality and judge the potential competition. Generally, a pet store sells a wide range of products related to pets. The list includes food, clothing, accessories, skin care products, grooming items, etc.
Is Retail Business Profitable in India?
The Indian retail industry has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries due to the entry of several new organized players. During the last few years, the Indian retail market has seen considerable growth in the organized segment.
Major domestic players have entered the retail arena and have ambitious plans to expand in the future years across verticals, formats, and cities. For example, companies like Reliance, Tata, Bharti, and Adani Enterprise, have been investing considerably in the booming Indian retail sector.
In addition to this, a number of transnational corporations have also set up retail chains in collaboration with big Indian companies.
The Indian retail sector is highly fragmented and the unorganized sector has around 13 million retail outlets that account for around 95-96% of the total Indian retail industry.
The Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India published a report titled, ‘Retail 2020: Retrospect, Reinvent, Rewrite’, highlighting that India’s retail market is expected to nearly double to US$ 1 trillion by 2020 from US$ 600 billion in 2015, driven by income growth, urbanization, and attitudinal shifts.
However, going forward, the organized sector’s growth potential will increase due to globalization, high economic growth, and changing lifestyles. Moreover, high consumer spending over the years by the young population (more than 31% of the country is below 14 years) and the sharp rise in disposable income are driving the Indian organized retail sector’s growth.
Generally, the overall success of the retail business depends on the product knowledge of the entrepreneur and the conviction toward that particular product. We hope the list of retail business ideas is enough inspiring for starting a small retail business of your own.
Rupak is the founder of MUVSI. He is a small business consultant by profession. His mission is to make people know how to make money and understand personal finance for a better living.