6 Ways to Compete With Big-Box Retailers
When a big-box store such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Costco or Sam's Club comes to town, local businesses get nervous. How can they compete with the "everyday low prices"? How will they keep their customers? How will they attract new ones? After all, they don't have the advertising budget, inventory or buying power that big-box retailers do. While there's some reality to all of the concerns that a local or small business might have, they're really just excuses. Plenty of local and small businesses flourish long after these larger stores move into their territory.
Here's the reality of the situation: It doesn't matter if it's a major chain store, a big-box store or a discount store. It doesn't matter if it's a small or local business. It doesn't matter what type of business or industry. Any type of business that moves into your area, large or small, will pose many of the same competitive threats. What can you do? Here are six ideas:
1. Decomoditize your business. A business gets caught in the commodity trap when it sells the same goods and services as its competitor. Other than price, consumers don't see a compelling reason to buy from one company over the other. This is where customer service becomes the strategy of choice. A company can distance itself from the competition with customer service that provides a significantly better overall customer experience.
2. Sell something that the competition doesn't. There's a small hardware store just down the street from a Home Depot. It's always busy. The reason is because it figured out what it can sell that Home Depot doesn't. What's more, Home Depot will actually refer business to it when it doesn't stock the item a shopper needs.
3. Find out what you do best and let consumers know it. Why should someone do business with you instead of the competition? Outside of great customer service and the different goods you sell, is there one thing that really separates you from the competition?