Whether they're always on your mind or you pay no attention to them at all, your c-store has competitors, and they're hungry for some of your market share. Do you know who your competitors are? You might have more than you initially think, especially in the convenience industry where you not only have to worry about other c-stores, but grocery stores both big and small as well.
In this post, we’ll give you some helpful hints to identify your competitors and learn from them, along with the idea of working together in a mutually-beneficial way.
How to Learn More About Your Competitors
Besides just going off the top of your head to identify competitors in the area, you should use the Internet to research other stores in your area. The best way to cast a wider net is to search online for stores that carry the same products as you as well since other c-stores aren’t your only competitors. We recommend you search Google for other food stores in the area and don’t limit the results to only c-stores.
Yes, other c-stores are your direct competitors, but grocery stores and other retail outlets will also offer the same products as well. Additionally, your distributor might be able to fill you in a little bit about other stores they sell to, but you’re probably better off figuring it out yourself by visiting the stores in person.
Keep Them in Mind When Making Decisions
Your competition should play a big part when you're making decisions for your c-store. Your competitor's pricing is one of the most significant aspects that you should take into consideration. Although you're probably well aware, you don't want to stray too far away from their pricing. This doesn't mean you should slash prices across the board to undercut them, but on some items, if you can take a reduced profit margin, it might be beneficial to reduce prices below your competition.
Additionally, you should try and see the segment of the market that they occupy. Do they specialize in a variety of premium products or just the bare-bones, everyday essentials? This could be huge in deciding the niche you want to fill to beat them out of the market.
The old saying goes, “keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” This saying rings true when it comes to business as well. We're not advising you see your competitors as "enemies" by any means, but you should find ways to work with your competitors. When two stores don't get along, mutually-detrimental things such as price wars can result in a race to the bottom and evaporating profit margins for both stores as a result.
We recommend that you find a way to work with competitors without jeopardizing your own business. For instance, you could approach them and work out a plan where you both make money by exclusively offering different items at each store. Not everyone always goes along with partnerships or mutual agreements, but it's worth a try.
Do you know your competitors? If you follow these tips, you should be one step closer to understanding them and carefully considering them when making decisions. And who knows; maybe you can even reach a friendly agreement with them as well.