Big box competitors are scary when you are a small business. They almost always have lower prices, and there typically are few ways you can compete with that and still pay your bills. That doesn’t mean you can’t compete with them, though.
The key is to engage clients on several different levels. Find ways you can stand out to provide a better customer experience. People are willing to pay a little more if they feel like they’ve had service that makes it worth it. Check out these great strategies to help build that awesome experience.
1. Find a niche
Big box stores provide a variety of products and services, which can be convenient for people who want to get everything they are looking for from one place. But, it also can be troublesome if the customer is looking for the best of one particular good or service. That’s where you come in.
Instead of trying to be all things to all people, try to position yourself as the best in one particular area. Maybe you’re not really a perfect one-stop-shop for beauty products compared to some of your competitors—but maybe you specialize in skin care, with a good deal of knowledge and the ability to provide your clients with one-on-one advice to help their skin look better.
By establishing yourself as the expert who can meet one specific need, customers will become more confident in your business and know that they can come to you when they have a problem.
2. Get personal
As a small business, you have the luxury of getting to know your customers. As opposed to a giant corporation with a massive pool of representatives, clients have a good chance of engaging with the same sales team member more than once when dealing with a small business. That opens up the opportunity to form a personal relationship.
For example, if you have a customer who regularly buys the same product every month, your site should be personalized in such a way that those products are easily accessible.
You can also order products you think your customers will like based on their previous purchases and make recommendations. It helps to organize this information in a physical format, in case you ever need to meet with clients in person. Use individualized binders to create catalogs of items you think customers will like based on their previous purchases. Customers will appreciate the extra effort.
3. Give back
Giving back to the community not only helps build a stronger connection with your customers, it also shows a huge difference between you and your bigger competition. If a local animal rescue group wants to have an adoption event at your business or if the local Little League team needs a sponsor, you can do that. You also have the option to help a local family who recently lost their home in a fire. Smaller businesses have the flexibility to be able to make these sorts of decisions very quickly. After all, the family without a home needs help now, not in several weeks.
A bigger business, on the other hand, may be limited in the types of causes it supports based on the overall chain’s branding—but you can support as many different causes you want. Be sure to share what your company is doing on social media; you should avoid self-aggrandizing, but it doesn’t hurt to let people know that you care.
4. Have great customer service
Customer service is the best way to stand out, regardless of the size of your business. The biggest advantage of being a small business is the personalized service you can provide to your customers. This is best done by having well-trained employees.
In addition to the basics of your business and the goods or services you provide, prepare each new hire with information about the community you serve. Make sure they understand your target audience and the most common customers that visit your site. This will give your new employees insight into your clientele and help prepare them to better meet customers’ needs. Bigger competition cannot provide targeted training like that because they have so many locations. In many cases, big competition’s training is a one-size-fits-all package approved by a corporate entity.
You’re not going to win every customer over from those major competitors. For some customers, the lowest price is the bottom line. But, there are others who are willing to pay more for a good or service if they feel the experience was worth it. Those are the people you need to win over. Hopefully, these tips will help you build the experience your customers are willing to pay for and stand out from the competition.