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How Your Business Can Compete With Large Retailers

Published: 21st Oct 17

Categories: Customer Service, Money, Success

How Your Business Can Compete With Large Retailers

How Your Business Can Compete With Large Retailers

The prospect of competing with a large retailer can be daunting, and many small businesses constantly worry about being put out of business by larger businesses.

Having said that, it is reassuring to know that many small businesses have fought off the competition and it does not have to cost a fortune to set your small business apart.

Here are seven things you can do to help your small business compete with the big players:

1. Carve out a niche

Set your business apart by finding your niche and developing expertise in that niche. This is particularly important in retail. Small businesses can be tempted to offer many products and services in the hope that one of those products or services will make the big bucks, they merely mirror other businesses without offering customers anything different.

If there is nothing different about your business or customers are not clear what your business stands for, they are more likely to patronise a larger retailer whose brand they know and probably already trust.

2. Take advantage of ecommerce and social media

With more and more consumers buying items online and using social media than ever before, investing time and effort into developing an online presence is a wise move.

Conducting business online can help small businesses in many ways because it provides access to a greater number of customers than the business would have had, it is quite inexpensive to develop and enables interaction with customers.

3. Identify gaps in the market

It is easy to assume that the larger retailers are attending to all the consumer needs there are in a particular geographic location or within a demographic. Closer research often reveals otherwise. You should constantly research the competition to identify areas of weakness, so that you can offer an improved service.

It may involve something as simple as opening hours, for example. Your research may show that a larger business does not open early enough or close late enough for certain consumers. Those weaknesses present an opportunity for your business to capitalise on. In a situation like this, extending your opening hours if you have the resources, could be a game changer.

4. Excellent customer service

Poor customer service can be a real deal breaker for any business, large or small, but more so for a small business where every sale usually counts. Strive to provide excellent customer service and develop your own style of serving your customers.

Rather than copy another business that sends out birthday cards to customers, you should know your style of customer relations and do things that suit that style.

Things like responding to customers promptly and courteously and addressing complaints are the bare minimum, so think of the extras you can add to the service you provide that makes your business special.

5. Connect with the community

Large businesses can be quite unwieldy and may not always have the flexibility or capacity to undertake or support community or sector specific initiatives.

You could gain some publicity for your small business by networking with other local businesses, schools and community groups to form relationships that overtime could lead to a loyal customer base.

You could also find ways to give back to the community where your small business is located or the sector it serves. You could, for example, support events in the community, or develop some within the sector by communicating insight on sector specific issues through your business website or blog.

6. Reward customers

Think of ways to reward customers for their business. Many businesses use a points system where customers accumulate points for each purchase from a business and receive a reward on reaching a certain threshold.

Whether you use a points system or any other method of rewarding customers, the important thing to bear in mind is that showing customers you appreciate their business is a tried and tested way of building loyalty.

7. Hire quality staff

If you are not a sole trader, chances are you will look to recruit staff at some stage. Hire quality staff who are committed to the aims and values of your business.

Virgate Accounts specialise in supporting retail businesses.  If you want to find how we can help you to compete with large retailers then get in touch today – call us on 01452 226111 or drop us a line.


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