I had this interesting conversation earlier about analytics while at a BNI meeting.
I started explaining to the person I was sitting next to what I do and he asked can analytics really help any business?
Of course I said yes.
He asked even a Sari Sari store?
For those of you who don’t know much about Sari Sari stores, let me tell you a bit about them.
By far the most common form of self-employment in the Philippines are small, family operated convenience stores. Called Sari-Sari stores, there are an estimated 1 million Sari Sari stores across the Philippines. Per wikipedia, this counts for an estimated 30% of all retail sales in the Philippines.
Sari-Sari, which is Tagalog for variety, are an important economic and social pieces of just about every Filipino community. Most are privately run, family owned and are operated from the front of the owners house.
Commodities are displayed behind a large mesh screen to both allow customers to see what is available and to prevent shoplifting. The most common goods sold are candy, snacks and other non-perishable food items. Cigarettes and mobile phone cards are also popular items for sale. Household needs like soap, detergent and cleaning supplies are also common. Some stores have small refrigerators to offer cold drinks like soda and beer.
Sari-sari stores generally have higher prices when compared to supermarkets which is a tradeoff for proximity to their customers. It is also common to buy single units of a product versus an entire package as paying more to meet a quick need is valued over planning and budgeting bulk purchase over the long term.
Some Sari Sari stores also offer credit to neighbors. Micro lending of this scale is wide spread and generally done under the rule that if the credit is not repaid, the store owner will report this to the local government officials.
Some Sari Sari stores barter goods and services with farmer, fishermen and other businesses.
Most Sari Sari store proprietors buy their goods at supermarkets then mark up the prices for resale (on the average 20%). In some areas, businessmen make act a middle man offering bulk products to the Sari Sari store.
It is my belief that most Sari Sari stores can benefit from a simple strategic business plan and some very basic analytics.
My understanding is that Sari Sari stores operate on a very tactical level with little long term planning and operate with little market awareness.
If I ever to consult with the owner of a Sari Sari store, my initial approach would be to develop a business strategy plan and build a basic analytics process to gather data and provide a proof of concept.
This approach would be broken into the following steps:
- Business Strategy Assessment — How do they conduct business?
- Competitive Landscape — Who do they compete with?
- Demographic Profile — Who are their customers?
- Market Assessment — How much upside is in their market?
- Inventory Analysis — How to they optimize inventory?
- Facilities Assessment — Are they getting the most of their location?
- Risk & Security Assessment — What risks do they face?
I will flesh out each of these steps in upcoming blog posts.
Once I have complied data from these 7 steps, I can develop a business strategy plan unique to the individual Sari Sari store.
After my presentation of the business plan, I can make a determination if they Sari Sari store will enter Phase Two of the plan.
I would work with the proprietor store for a set period of time in a consulting role to determine viability of operations and if they meet our program standards (detailed later in this document).
In addition to offering a consulting solution, through my company, I can also offer additional services including cash management, accounting, marketing, inventory and fulfillment assistance, and other solutions as they arise.
Its my experience that the busiest Sari Sari stores offer something unique. Some might have an ice cream maker, or a special dish they prepare, or some have home baked goods. Regardless, they generally have something that sets them apart from a store that just offers traditional goods.
So, the final piece of my involvement would be cross selling our unique products to Sari Sari stores in need of a unique product to build their business around.
After that consultation, I would expect that three things would happen:
- the Sari Sari store proprietor would have a better grasp of a strategic business strategy.
- the Sari Sari store would increase profits and
- the Sari Sari store would expand its customer base and build up loyalty with existing customers.
So, to get back to the question… how can analytics help a Sari Sari store?
By applying some lessons from the corporate world.
Analytics in the Philippines — The Philippines is at the center of the action when it comes to solutions to the global need for analytics. Blessed with a solid foundation of young, educated and English speaking workforce, companies around the world are look for Filipino analytics talent to fill analytics positions.
Daniel Meyer heads Sonic Analytics, an analytics firm with offices in Manila, the San Francisco Bay Area and Ocala, FL. With over 20 years in Big Data, Dan is one of the most sought-after public speakers in Asia and offers big data coaching and analytics training seminars on both sides of the Pacific. Dan has also recently joined the Powerteam International family as a small business analytics resource speaker.
Sonic Analytics(www.sonicanalytics.com) brings big data analytics solutions like business intelligence, business dashboards and data storytelling to small and medium sized organizations looking to enhance their data-driven decision-making capabilities. We also advocate the use of analytics for civic responsibility through training, consulting and education.
As citizens of this great democracy, we need to look at the data (analytics), plan a course of action (strategy) and share our data-driven viewpoints (presentation). This approach to a data savvy work force starts in school. So, we started an internship program to empower our youth to use Analytics, plan Strategy and Present their insights… ASP!
When not training current and future analysts, you can find Dan championing the use of analytics to empower data-driven citizenship by volunteering his expertise with schools and non-profits dedicated to evidence-based social progress like Saint Leo University’s Women in STEAM 2020 Conference.