Be a market leader

Tips for running a successful store

Spaza and tuck shop traders are facing more competition than they ever have before. At the same time, they occupy a special place in the market. Residents rely on their local tuck shops because they don't have to travel as far for their groceries. So what makes shoppers choose between one shop and the next? It's a question of being a market leader where you operate. Success demands that you pay attention to detail, look ahead, and are prepared to lead by example. Here are some key focus areas.

Manage your inventory

Unless you're careful, your inventory can lose you a lot of money. If you have too much extra product that you can't sell, or goods that go bad before you can put them on display, money is being wasted. At the same time, if you have too little product, you might get a reputation for always running out of things. It's important to know at all times how much you have and how much you're selling. It's a good idea to use software or spreadsheets to organise this information and identify your buying and selling patterns. These days there are many integrated point-of-sale (POS) systems that help you track your inventory. 

Spaza and tuck shop traders are facing more competition than they ever have before. At the same time, they occupy a special place in the market.

Promotions

You can grow a lot of business by using promotions. The idea is to call customers to action by advertising how they can benefit from shopping at your store. Place adverts in places that reach your customers. Merely by circulating a hand-bill that says “Maize meal half price this weekend only!” you will create a lot of interest. If you have the budget, the community newspaper is a good bet. Facebook is another option. You could create your own system of coupons, too. It's important not to have the same deal all the time, and consider the time of year. If your sales start getting really successful, you'll need to coordinate with your suppliers to make sure you don't run out of stock. Of course, you need to calculate how much you lose by discounting items against how many more customers will be walking through your door.

Staff

One of the best weapons at your disposal is your staff. Friendly, capable people who are prepared to go the extra mile for customers will boost your reputation. That means you might have to pay them a little more than average , but the advantage is that they will stay with you, and customers will keep coming back. In a smaller store, it's important to train employees to be able to do each other's jobs, so your cashier, for example, can see when stock is low. You might want to buy uniforms or matching outfits to give your staff a distinctive look. Also pay attention to safety gear, for example, shoes that don't slip.

Keep things in order

Nothing puts customers off so much as a dirty, unwelcoming environment, so make sure your store is the opposite of that. Manage your produce and make sure that no bad produce ever goes on the shelf. If you have a bathroom, it has to be spotless and must always have paper and soap. The floor must always be swept and the check-out counter must be neat and tidy. There should be towels at the till in case something spills. Put cleanliness at the top of your list.


Connect with the community

Of course, as a supplier of products to residents, you're already part of the community, but you can take it further. One way to win the hearts and minds of the local resident is to sponsor clubs and events. You could hold a food drive for the elderly and lead the way by putting out collection bins with items of your own in them. If you have food that has past its sell-by date but has not gone off, you could donate it to a charitable organisation. Responding to what communities need is another way to become a market leader.