Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tips in Operating a Sari-Sari Store

In 2010, my mother and I set-up a sari-sari store in the ground floor of a three-storey apartment building owned by a relative. With a measly fund amounting to ten thousand pesos, my mother and I bought typical commodities in San Roque Supermarket. Then, we ordered soda from softdrink dealers in our area. To everyone’s dismay, our supposedly first customer asked for vetsin. There was none (since we don’t use vetsin at home, we didn’t know that there is a great demand for msg). After an hour, a man asked for a deodorant in sachet. Again, there was none. Have you ever wondered how it feels to get hit by a stone? On the first day, we were hit not once but twice in a row. The following day, we spent half-day in the grocery. And the rest is history.

After three years of operating a sari-sari store, I realized that though my education has been valuable, actual experience is still the best teacher. For those who are planning to set-up a sari-sari store here are my few tips:

Products and Prices
  • It’s good to have a piece of everything just be mindful of expiration date, discoloration and rusting tendency, quality of packaging, attraction insects etc.
  • Basic household goods should always be readily available. Coffee, food seasoning, noodles, soap, shampoo, conditioner, powder and bar detergents, liquid dishwashing and cooking oil are examples of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and therefore should be fully-loaded.
  • Take note that consumers have different preference in product brand names. Be familiar with your community so the next time you do your grocery shopping you can bring a more precise checklist.  
  • Know the existing market prices in your community. In a community where competition is stiff, expect the product prices to be very crucial (sa amin, pababaan ang labanan). You can choose to follow the trend or dare to be different.
Bottled Drinks
  • If you can order softdrinks direct from the distributor, you can save as much as PhP3.00 more.   
  • Retail stores can lend refrigerator from softdrink companies upon agreement that retailers can only store beverages from the distributor.   
  • Alcoholic beverages may be sold with restrictions by local ordinances. Follow this regulation to prevent getting into possible trouble.

  • Different supermarkets also vary in prices. In Malinta-Novaliches area, for instance, supermarkets are scattered all over (Savemore, Puregold, Ultra-Mega, San Roque Supermarket, Super8 , Ever Gotesco and local supermarkets). Personally, I do “shop hopping” once in a while since the groceries I mentioned are not too far from each other.  Some personal recommendation: buy pack of Milo 22g in Savemore; Summit 500ml bottled water in Puregold; Nescafe Cappucino in Ever Gotesco; Others in San Roque or in dry market.   
  • Some supermarkets have free delivery service with minimum purchase worth PhP5,000. Loyalty card/Rewards card/Points card is also offered to reward members with points every time they shop. The accumulated points can be used for future purchases.
  • Take advantage of product promos. Visit all supermarkets once in a while.
  • For wholesale shopping you might also want to check out Suy Sing.

Other Tips
  • Always keep your store clean and orderly. Otherwise, dust and pest will built a home in your storage cabinet.   
  • Recycle. Instead of throwing plastic packaging of biscuits, coffee etc. Collect and set them aside, you can use it to hold large orders.   
  • From the basic commodities, it’s good to have stocks of common medicines, office supplies, sim cards or anything that your community needs.   
  • Sell loads from all networks. Look for load distributors in your area or you may activate your Smart Money number or G-Cash to fund your load wallet which you may also use in money transfer. For details about Smart Money click here. For G-Cash products and services click here.   
  • Establish good relationship with your customers. Take care of your suki.   
  • And most importantly "Bawal ang utang". Well, that is if you can avoid it. If you can’t because your customers are your friends just don’t let it become bigger than a 100. Believe me pag siningil mo yan ikaw pa masama (buti nga kung masingil mo). Better yet, post a note “Bawal ang Utang” just use a text that everyone can see (and not rude). Just a simple reminder that your business aims to earn profit.
There's more but that's all for now. 

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