I grew up with our sari-sari store business for around 17 years. Our store is a bit big compared to other typical convenient store you can see here in our village because we provide both wholesale and retail. Yes, we supply other stores in our subdivision.
With that said, I’m about to share to you my long experience with sari-sari stores. I’ve experienced a lot of good and bad things in this business. I truly believe I can share with you vital things you need to consider if you want to start a successful sari-sari store business.
So here we go!
You might have heard or read somewhere that you need to plan the location of your sari-sari store business. This is true. I want to stress that no matter how good your products or services may be, if your store is on the desert, you will not earn big. A sari sari store’s earning greatly depends on it’s location.
Always look for area where many people are passing by. We’ve had 2 stores before and they are all situated on the main roads. Almost every people going inside our subdivision are passing by our store. That is one! build your store on a main road.
Next good locations are places where many people gather such as clubhouse, playground, park, and etc. Again, the idea is the same. The more there is traffic of people, the more you can earn with your store.
Another good locations are corner lots. With corner lots, you can maximize the viewability of your store. Unlike main roads, there are only to and fro. With corner lots, you can utilize 4 directions of the street or road you are in.
If you’re thinking the about the best location. It’s an area where people meet, situated on the main road and is on the corner lot. If your house is situated in this kind of place, your house is definitely a growing asset.
2. Sari Sari Store Design and Structure
You want your customers to see your products easily every time they’re looking for something. Similarly, you want your storekeepers to be able to navigate the product’s price and location easily inside your store.
For you to achieve this, you need to categorize your products accordingly. Here’s a typical sari sari store item list you might put inside your store:
- Candies & Sweets
- Drinks /Beverages
- Canned Goods (Sardines, Tuna, Canned milk, etc.)
- Noodles (Plastic and Cup)
- Powdered Drinks (Coffee, Milk, Chocolate powder, Juice, etc.)
- Big and Small Snacks (Chichirya)
- Toiletries (Shampoo, Soap, Toothpastes, Detergents, etc.)
- Cooking Aids (Cooking Oil, Soy Sauce, Salt, Pepper, Ginger, Garlic, Egg, Ketchup, etc.)
3. Friendly Storekeeper
In some way somehow, you need to build your store’s brand. For me personally, I’ve experienced preferring one store over another just because of the storekeeper’s manner. Even kids prefer to buy from smiling “palangiti” than frowning “palasimangot” storekeepers.
I know somebody here in our subdivision who greets everyone (yes, I mean everyone) “Good morning!” who pass by his stall of meriendas (Filipino morning snacks). Now, everybody calls him “good morning” because of that.
It’s a way to build your business’ brand in a very practical way. It’s also a healthy thing to do. 🙂
4. Monitor Your Expenses and Income
If you don’t know how much money going in and out of your business, you are a poor business owner. After all, the main reason why your store exists is because of profit.
Failure to monitor how much you are earning is simply nonsense. You need to always make sure that your store can at least sustain itself.
Do not ever combine your personal money with the money cycling in your store. You need to at least maintain your capital and save for future growth or maintenance. It is wrong to always get all the income.
5. Your Store is Not an Extension of Your House
No, not at all. This must be cleared to every member of the family. They cannot just simply get anything anytime they want.
Your store is not your refrigerator where you can get soft drinks and juice whenever you’re thirsty. I still remember the early days where my mom tries to sell ice cream in our store. Guess what? The ice cream business got bankrupt. Thanks to me. LOL.
6. Monitor How Fast Items are Moving
It’s as simple as this. You don’t want to sell something that would last 2 months or 3 months in your store’s shelves. You need to monitor your products list how many items are being disposed daily and weekly.
As much as possible, buy items just enough for a 1-week or 2-week store operation. Letting products stay on your shelves for more than a month or two is like letting your money sleep there.
If you’re successful in monitoring how fast products are moving in and out of your shelves, you can earn the most out of your capital.
Before buying anything for your store, always make sure to do a little research what items people are already buying in you area.
It’s always good to have a well designed banner in front and on top of your sari sari store. This way, people can easily notice your store and remember your store’s name.
Good naming strategy is to keep it short (make it only two syllables as much as possible) and easy to remember. You can put a tagline if you want to. Be creative. There’s nothing wrong with being creative. It makes your store stand out from others.
We personally had one big banner on top of our store and a standee.
Our store is named after my mother. And because my friends know that I’m living there, they’re calling me in my mom’s name. Funny and irritating. LOL.
8. First In First Out
One of the basic things you need to understand in doing business with perishable goods is this. You need to always follow the first in first out principle. This is to make sure that all of your items are fresh and good for consumption.
9. Shade & Bench
Not too many sari sari store owners realize the power of these two things. When you put up shade and bench in front of your sari sari store, you are attracting more customers. These two are like customer-magnets. People will prefer to buy from your store than others because of these.
This strategy is very effective specially during rainy and super sunny days. People walking may want to stop and get some shade. Guess what? Instant customers for your store.
Think of this..
SM and Waltermart are two of the top malls here in the Philippines. These two malls also are utilizing this similar strategy. Guess why? Because it’s just effective.
10. Seasonal Items
There will be seasonal items that you need to consider. For example, during school days, a lot of people are preparing snacks for their kids. You may want to buy more cupcakes, biscuits, and juice in tetra-packs during this season.
During summer, a lot of people are looking for ice and beverages. You might want to prepare an extra Styro box where you can preserve the coolness of your bottled drinks.
11. Don’t Entertain Credits
No, No, No. You need to replace the items that was took out of your shelves. Let’s admit the fact that a lot of Filipinos are generous. However, another fact is that a lot of Filipinos don’t know how to properly handle their money.
Most people will extend their credit as long as they can. This is bad for you and your business. For 17 years, I’ve seen my mom chasing a lot of customers for their unpaid debts. 17 years and nothing has changed much. People’s way of thinking with regards to credits did not changed.
Just place a placard in front of your store “Bawal Po Umutang” (no to credit) and that’s it!
I guess that’s it for now. I’ll update this post in the future. You can come back to this page regularly for more tips regarding your sari sari store business. If this post helped you, or you know somebody who owns a sari-sari store, please share this with them.
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