Competition has no boundary in today’s C-Store Industry. There are pros and cons for this, but competition is on every retailers’ mind. Specifically, on the mind is how to beat the surrounding competition. It is important though to think about the bigger picture.
What does this mean? Every retailer, not just your neighbors, is competition.
For you, as an owner, to outdo the competition you must make your store different. It can be intimidating to stand up against giants like QuikTrip. However, you can do something to even the odds. Being different in a way your competitors cannot copy easily is called competitive advantage, and as a small retailer this can be what matters most.
Competitive Advantage should not be taken lightly. It is making sure you have the upper hand in business. You don’t have to reinvent the entire industry or create new projects that change the future. There are a few adjustments you can do to your store that cost little to nothing and increase the number of customers!
Build a Relationship
Treating your customers right is obvious. Never has it crossed your mind to fight a customer or even yell at one. This isn’t what we are talking about. Going the extra mile with customer service is the difference. By providing excellent service, you will be able to build a relationship with all your customers. Reminding your employees to do the following will create the foundation of the relationships with your customers:
Greet customers the moment they come in
Smile at every customer
Create small talk by asking about the customers’ day
Ask customers if they additional help
It can be difficult for large businesses to offer the same kind of customer service as smaller retailers. Because you are dealing with everyday tasks, more hands on, then you can administer the service better! In addition, these simple things do not cost a single penny! They will improve your customer service and will also build positive relationships with regulars and will also create new regulars.
Making Customers feel at Home
Imagine walking into your living room and seeing a complete disaster of a mess. This would make one feel unwelcome in your own home! We all have a messy house at time, but it is easily fixed with a broomstick. You should have the same mentality for your store(s). Your customers are like guests in your home. You want them to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. You do not want them to walk in and feel gross.
By cleaning daily and having a familiar store layout, it’ll make your customer very happy.
Wiping the counter
Sweeping the entrance
Accessible product placements
Those are just a few things that can be done in seconds but will be noticed by your customers. Making your customer feel at home in your store will guarantee them to come back and make future purchases!
Relate to your Community
By catering to your community, you can build a big name in your neighbored for your store! Yes, everyone knows the large names like Walmart and Target but just because those stores are well known, it doesn’t mean they have your community’s preference. As a smaller retailer, you are closer to your community than any competitor. You know your community better than anyone. Use this as an advantage. Depending on the surrounding citizens, sell products that they can’t find in large, generic retailers.
For example: Your store is located in a Hispanic environment. Therefore, most of your customers will be Hispanic. Since your customers share similar cultures, then sell Hispanic products, such as tortillas or Hispanic treats!
At the end of the day, your competitive advantage are the relationships you have with your customers and community. By being able to provide for you community in a way, large retailers cannot compare to will be the difference. Don’t lose the main focus which is the customer! If you feel there is a positive relationship with your customers, it most likely the feeling is mutual. The more solid your relationship becomes; the more loyalty is built with your customers. Remember, the competitive advantage is about being different. Being different for the customer’s sake.
Want to learn more about building the Ideal C-Store Experience? Clickhere.