Just like supermarkets tuck shops are a very common line of business. In fact, you can be sure to say that these two lines of businesses are for the most part competitors. Starting a tuck shop business is actually a good decision owing to quite a number of reasons. Some of them are that it is much less expensive to start a tuck shop as opposed to a supermarket. The other one is that tuck shops can effectively niche and also drive repeat purchases by having a loyal customer base. Tuck shops are normally situated in neighbourhoods where they will be serving a certain target area. This is what makes the aforementioned issues easy to do. In this article we discuss some of the important things you must know if you are start a tuck shop business.

Market Research

Never mind that is just a small tuck shop; conduct market research first. Remember that you will be targeting people within the vicinity of the tuck shop’s location. That will be your core target market but these people also get into the central business district on a daily business. This means they might be so accustomed to buying their goods in town. Why are we mentioning this? It is to make you realize why it is important to conduct market research.

You have to ascertain that there is a market that you can serve. Even if it is not there or it is shallow you can cultivate and grow it. You have to study people’s buying habits. Do surveys to find out the most sought-after commodities that they look for. You must also look around for the presence of other established tuck shops. What type of services do they offer? How do they operate their businesses? Where are they located? These are some of the questions you might seek to answer because they will provide you with invaluable insights into starting your own tuck shop. Your competition is the most important case study in your market research. You also require a good tuck shop business plan.

Make Sure You Have A Comprehensive Tuck Shop Business Plan

The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The tuck shop business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the operations of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included in your tuck shop business plan:

  1. The mission, vision and operational strategy
  2. Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
  3. A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
  4. A marketing and customer care plan
  5. An organizational chart and human resource policy
  6. A three-year expansion outlook
  7. A risk and rewards Analysis

Location And Premises

The choice of location has to factor in proximity to target market, visibility, ease of access, presence of other competitors and so on. However, one of the overriding factors can be directives from local authorities. The thing is, you must consult with local authorities before setting up a tuck shop. Possibly you can be allowed to set up where you would have intended or you might not be allowed. So just bear that mind that it is recommended that you check with the local authorities before setting up the tuck shop. Of course other aspects such as being presentable, hygiene, and cleanliness must be ensured.

Products And Services

In communities where tuck shops are a thing they tend to be so many of them. If you are thinking of starting a tuck shop business in an area where they are few or none then that is better. Otherwise the tuck shop business tends to be characterised by fierce competition. This is usually because it is so easy and not that costly to set up a tuck shop. Some even set up their tuck shops at home or use low-cost mobile booth-like structures. So it would not be surprising to find tuck shops sprinkled all over a residential area. All these things are central to the issue of product range.

The products you have in-store can be the sole reason why you score high sales or low ones. Your aim should be to have in-store virtually anything people would ever look for. We are talking about basic commodities such as food, beverages, toiletries, cosmetics, detergents, stationery, airtime vouchers and so on. Depending on the size of your tuck shop you can include even more products that others will not be having to create a unique value proposition. So being able to stock well requires a close study of competitors and understanding the needs of your target market.

The other key issue pertains to suppliers where you get your stock from. You must look into that before starting the business so that you know where affordable, flexible and reliable suppliers are. Even as you run the business you must always be on lookout for better options when it comes to suppliers. You must work towards creating symbiotic working relationships with your suppliers. If done well this can lead to a lowering of your costs thus making it easy to adjust your prices. If you get to this point you can edge past your competitors by lowering you prices marginally to lure customers.

Depending on where you are you can also include financial technology (Fintech) services. Examples are mobile money services which are a growing thing in Africa particularly.

Staff And Management

Running a tuck shop is not usually labour-intensive since it can be effectively run by just one person. You as the business owner can do all the management-related issues without a problem. The serving of customers can be done by one person also. Whoever will be minding the tuck shop and interacting with customers must be cordial and sociable. Good customer service is a vital component that can lead to the sustainable growth of your business.

These are some of the things you must know in starting a tuck shop business. It is generally a simple and low-cost business to start with tremendous room for growth. Do not let that drive you into a slumber though; treat it like you are doing a big business. Use all the basic approaches to any business venture such as market research, customer relationship management, marketing and so on.