Take any given town or any given city. What you’ll notice is that there are all these kinds of small shops. You’ll find bakers, grocery stores, book stores, chocolate stores, fruit & vegetable stores, … the list goes on. Now as you can tell I’m not talking B2B but B2C.These stores are at the core of every society. Because most, if not every town starts out with a few of them. Before a town can even begin to grow into a city there was this one guy that decided to start selling bread at his house or start a small vegetable store and then there was another guy starting to sell clothes in a small store. It all started with these little shops and from there on the town began to grow into a bigger town and on and on into a city and these little shops kept getting bigger themselves and more little ones kept getting added to the mix. The main thing all of these shops have in common eventually is COMPETITORS. That’s where the cookie crumbles.
Because when it’s a town in its earliest stage it’s all fine to keep doing the same old stuff you’ve always been doing in and with your business. When there are no competitors consumers will have no choice but to go to your shop. After all it’s the only place to get ex. clothes. But when there start to be 2 or more of the same shop the shop get’s a problem. Because the clientele will keep coming back for a while out of habit and it’s it’ll go from 90% returning to 70% to 50% etc. and they’ll start spreading out to other competitors doing the same business. Another element making it even harder after that is the introduction of what I like to call “the big ones that ruin it for the small ones” (hypermarkets/chains/supermarkets/shopping malls/… ).
So when these small shops either starting or vintage get trouble because of the emergence of one of these two sorts of competitors they do something amazing to counter them: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
Most of them think its ok, my clients will keep returning because they always have. They think they won’t feel any effects from it and that it won’t affect growing potential. Because how better to cope with fear than to stay blissfully ignorant about upcoming problems? At most they start doing a special promotion or give out cards to save points on. All inevitably leading them to the one point of a crashing business.
The solution here? There are many tools to implement on surviving as a business. Like I said in my previous article: “Think about it and keep improving that business because a business that stops improving is just waiting for the next improving competitor to take it down and take it’s place”.
The solution I’d like to present in this one is the one of “added value”. These shops have to keep their focus, their sights and energy on their customers being you and me. So what is the main thing a customer likes when everything about shops and businesses is the same except for the pricing? That’s right, it’s difference!
Belgium is known for it’s chocolate so take for example this chocolate shop I came across a little while back:
Most chocolate shops are boring to go at. You come in and a lady white gloves looking all fancy asks you what chocolate you want. You chose some random amount and pay. That’s all there is to it for most. But this chocolate shop thought about it and found a solution to attract customers and make it fun to go at:
#1 They rolled out a red carpet at the doorway. Attracting customer attention.
#2 They placed chocolate creations throughout the shop:
#4 They placed a cash desk at the center of the shop, not the exits so people could choose to buy chocolate or not and feel less obligated.
See what I mean here? This is just one idea of many of how to differentiate yourself amongst competitors. If you have an idea yourself don’t be scared to implement it. But never don’t be doing nothing.
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