This small retail store had a really small shelf space, that you would have to inform the sales clerks of your orders and wait for it since they will need to get the stocks from their backyard.
The only thing that I noticed was that, they had this attractive posters that announce brand names and certain promos like "buy 3 soap of brand x and get one for free" or "2% off on all sandwich spreads of brand z".
And on the exterior of that small retail store, they had big tarpaulins that said "first 150 customers get 2 lotto tickets for free".
Almost every week they had catchy tarpaulins outside that describe a short summary of their ongoing promo for the week.
After 20 years, that little store has become a giant grocery store, alongside it are three more buildings.
A mall, a commercial building, and a call center and they own all of these properties.
That small-humid retail store suddenly became a giant business in our city in just a span of 20 years.
One weekend I went to that giant grocery store to buy snack items for my wife (she likes to eat dark chocolate and chips a lot) and had a chance to see the owner (currently president of their corporation) of the "now" giant company.
He was actually doing his usual rounds to check the store's promotional merchandising.
I actually knew the owner since my grandmother was one of her biggest customers on their business start up.
My grandmother used to bake cakes and other pastries that she sells to many small canteens in our city.
Also, when I was still working as an account executive for one the biggest companies in the Philippines, his store was one on my clients list.
Although during that time, I was already talking to his purchaser, we had conversations from time to time.
He told me he just got back from his trip to London, so I got a bit curious and I asked him "what is a 67-year-old man bothering to check little details like promotional merchandising, shouldn't you be resting?".
I was floored and sort of humiliated by his answer "Well son, that little detail has been the x-factor of our successful business".
He added saying "no business enterprise can survive without having tactical and promotional merchandising".
Having been in the world of marketing and business, I thought to myself he certainly has a point.
We, as a new emerging entrepreneurs, have really taken for granted the importance of Merchandising.
Well I want you all to be guided since we are talking of business start up ideas here, so I urge you to follow that old man's strategy.
But first, let's define what Merchandising is so we are at the same page.
In a nutshell, merchandising is just maximizing the sales of your products through good display, good product design, packaging, visual pricing, and product description.
So here are the business ideas that I have learned from our conversation: Idea # 1 - Merchandising does not involve much additional cost.
In most cases, the product description, packaging, pricing are already included in your initial business start up research, so cost is actually involve.
The important thing that all point-of-sales merchandising are emphasize on your product itself.
Idea # 2 - Visual Merchandising does not take much time from the customer.
I think you all agree with me that we are all living in an ever fast environment.
Hence, having good display merchandising attracts customers who are pressed for time and therefore picks up a product without second thoughts and go directly to the check out counter.
A visual merchandising strategy is often considered the "availability of all consumer needs" in which in one scan he can already find what his looking for.
Idea # - Highlighted Promotional Merchandising works.
Based on experience, promotions really work in boosting sales for your business start up.
I remember when I started in my distribution business, we sold canned condensed milk to retail stores in our city and had a very good price advantage over competition.
But even with this advantage, sales never really came in that well.
So I did a back check on my top 20 customers and found out that almost all of my product shelving were not at an eye-level, and worse, it did not have highlighted pricing.
I talked to all the owners of my top 20 customers and were able to get a "free" compromise to adjust display sharing and give me eye-level display between my competitors.
Also I instructed all their respective display personnel to provide emphasis on pricing through well-designed price strips and price talkers.
And the results were amazing, during that week alone we are able to grow our sales for canned milk to 227% just by using a few promotional merchandising techniques.
Now I hope you already get the business start up idea on how simple but effective merchandising works.
It does not only apply to consumer products but also even to any business start up.
As long as you want to get a message across, use good merchandising materials that are straight forward and attractive.
Now go and apply this to your thriving business start up.