“Who should I consider my competition and what should I do to position my store in a competitive marketplace ?”. Great question. I get asked this several times a week during my one on one coaching sessions.
Simply stated your competition is any store that carries similar products to you. In most marketplace areas there is a healthy mix of large to medium store sizes. Although in some marketplaces the shear number and mix is overly healthy. Hear this from my experience. Don’t place a store in an area that is saturated. Look else where. If you are a store that has been in a market place for a while and has been affected by growing competition read on. You must step up your attention to the following details.
Retail specialty stores and large chains coexist with in a market place area. Let’s be more specific and clarify who the competition really is in your market
place. Step one is to designate your market place. With a bird’s eye view map of your location in front of you, put a dot where your store is then draw a circle on the map with a 25 kilometer radius then complete the full circle. You have just designated your market place. Research shows that the average Canadian consumer will not travel more then 25 Kilometers approx. to shop. Now list the competitors in your market place.
What you need to know about your competitors:
- the products or services they provide and how they market them to customers
- the prices they charge
- how they distribute and deliver
- the devices they employ to enhance customer loyalty and what back-up service they offer
- their brand and design values
- whether they innovate – business methods as well as products
- their staff numbers and the caliber of staff that they attract
- how they use IT – for example, if they’re technology-aware and offer a website and email
- who owns the business and what sort of person they are
- their media activities – check local newspapers, radio, television and any outdoor advertising
- their online presence – check online networking sites as well as their website
Studies show people purchase a higher percentage of their merchandise from the mass merchandisers and consequently a lower percentage from local merchants. Despite this reality many retail specialty stores thrive and survive in competitive market places.
Strategies and best practices must be implemented to overcome pricing issues and wider product selection .
Customer service, treat each customer as your best customer. Customers want value for their money these days. It’s simple deliver the best customer service in your market place area. It’s good business and customers will show their appreciation by coming back and shopping at your store for a life time. As well they will spread the word and tell their family and friends about you.
Niche products and services are custom made for retail specialty stores. By understanding your market place and the needs of your customers the products you offer will be more appealing. Also, focus on what makes your business unique and different from the other businesses in the area.
Store design can set you apart from your competition. Retail specialty stores have the luxury of creating a comfortable, cozy atmosphere within their stores. This gives your store a personality which is often lacking at the big stores.
Relationship selling is what must be happening in your store. You want to gain the trust of your customers and have them coming back to your store for years to come. It’s a win win situation for both you the store owner and the customer. Remember it costs 5 times more to get a new customer into your store then keep an old one.
Product knowledge in the hands of a well trained staff. That’s what people are looking for. Consumers have confidence in sales people that know their stuff . Make sure that people think of your store first when they think of their shopping experience and who to buy what they need from.
Check out what I have shared with you. Your point of difference in your area is to deliver great customer service , sell niche product and services, and create a friendly, cozy store thru your store design. Create relationships with your customers while selling what you carry and be known for having the most comprehensive knowledge about the products you sell.