Retail Competition: 30 Ways to Get the Edge

Know Thy Competition

You have competition – don’t close your eyes and ignore it; retail is one of the most competitive industries of them all.

Do people complain about something specific in your competitors’ stores? Build on the opposite in your shop.

You can get an edge on your supplier even with colour choices – look at the 2 big players in hardware these days. Doesn’t the one with the blue sign just feel cleaner than the khaki & red one?

Be gracious – never bad mouth your competition, just listen to what people are saying.

Learn from the pros – look at big successful companies and copy them in their methods. They wouldn’t be that size if they were doing the wrong thing!

No-one can do exactly what you can, where you can, and how you can. Sometimes, therefore, an alliance with your indirect competition could be to both your advantages.

Some competitors will play dirty. It’s not a perfect world – watch your competition for signs of underhand dealings, and take steps if it occurs.

People don’t buy ‘what’, they buy ‘why’. Build a convincing argument for your products. Stand behind what you do

The Relative Importance of Price

Price is a factor, people are hardwired to prefer cheaper prices when there is no other discernible differences

Price is only one factor – if you obsess about undercutting competition on price you will eventually lose money

Value is a much greater buying influencer then price – add value with extra information and perks.

Moving On-line

Online retailing is a growing area turning over approx. 20-25 billion AUD a year. Learning about it is to your advantage.

Online retailing is a relatively small sector in the retail industry, which turns over in excess of $200 billion a year in Australia. If you’re not in it yet, don’t lose sleep…. But do plan for the future.

If you can’t fight it, join it– approx. growth of online buying in Australia is between 8-12% p.a. catch some of that by starting your own online store

Better Yourself First

There is something special about you – find it and market that. Ask customers why they support you and you will get the information you need

Buyer experience costs you very little, but makes a huge impact. People like places that make them feel welcome – it might just be a smile and a swept entrance that does the trick

Be easy for people to buy from. Convenience is a great deciding factor – make it simple to buy your products.

Avoid red tape: no-one likes rigmarole with returns or other policies. Where possible, remove them altogether.

Stand out – be unique, and you’ll be memorable. Make your shop have personality

Ask for help if you need it. There are many people out there who are business mentors. Find someone who has been in retail themselves and ask them for advice

Be Known

They won’t come to you if you’re invisible. Advertising is important.

Pinpoint your market, and pinpoint your marketing. You will save money and people will feel like you’re speaking to them

Get an image. Don’t be a series of disjointed concepts, signs, walls or products – customer perception is based on what they see. Repetition is comforting to them (and they are more likely to remember you)

It’s the Customer That Does the Deciding

Build rapport: have a conversation, show them you are human. People will treat you as a friend rather than a supplier.

Train your staff to be efficient and friendly; don’t just train them to make sales.

Forget about yourself – far too many retailers think customers owe them something. Your competition thinks like that. You shouldn’t.

The company that tunes in to the customers WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) is the company that has the most success

Make people feel welcome – don’t over clutter your shop, don’t make it hard for them to engage with your products while they are deciding to buy.

Have parking spaces – if it takes a 45minute walk to get to your shop, who’s going to bother? They will go elsewhere

Encourage repeat buying. There’s no valuable customer like a repeat customer

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