These days, retailers have their work cut out for them. There’s an intimidating volume of competitors out there, and if you want to win more customers and elevate your brand, you’re going to need to find a way to differentiate from them.
How can you stand to beat your most innovative competitors?
Technology and Innovation
One of the best ways to beat your competitors is to somehow get ahead of them in terms of technological development. Access to better technology gives you several fundamental advantages, enabling you to innovate new products and services, serve your customers in novel ways, gather and analyze more data, save time and money, and ultimately streamline your operations.
For example, generative AI for retailers can be used in countless different ways to save money, save time, and serve your customers better. You can use it to create content, generate ideas for your sales and marketing campaigns, train new staff members, and even handle customer service matters – and that’s just the beginning.
Better technology isn’t a strictly good thing by itself; you’re not going to beat your most innovative competitors by hemorrhaging your money on a collection of shiny new tools that barely get used. What’s important is that you have a deliberate, focused plan for how to harness the power of technology to achieve your business goals. Do that, and you’ll instantly gain an edge over even your fiercest competitors.
Next, you can consider competing with your competitors in terms of product quality. You may be simply reselling products that have been made by other people, meaning you don’t have direct control over quality assurance. But what you can do is partner with better producers, so you can be sure that your store shelves are always stocked with the best possible products.
A variable you have more direct control over is the quality of your customer service. From the time they initially set foot in your store through interactions with customer service agents in pursuit of resolving a problem, your customers should feel welcomed and appreciated. This is something that doesn’t cost much time or money, but it can instantly make your retail business differentiated amongst the competition. Provide your customer service agents, cashiers, and other customer-facing staff members with adequate training and education (as well as incentives) to ensure optimal performance.
If you can sell what your competitors sell for less money, you’ll win a ton of new business. You may have slim profit margins as it is, but with skillful negotiation and creative pricing strategies, you can get the edge on your competitors. For example, you can sell certain types of products for the slimmest of profit margins, or even at a loss, so you can make up the difference selling other materials at a higher price.
If you’re struggling to compete with your rivals directly, typically because you don’t have the budget or resources necessary to take them head-on, one alternative option is to target a different niche or a different set of demographics. Doing this may be challenging, especially if you’re practically forced to pivot the entire business. But if you can avoid your top competitors by focusing on an untapped market, it might be a lucrative opportunity.
Superior Marketing and Advertising
If you can beat your main competitors with better marketing and advertising, your brand will become more visible, more trusted, and ultimately more patronized. The question is, what constitutes superior marketing and advertising?
This is a complicated question, and the answer looks a little different for every retail business. Depending on the context, that could mean better understanding your target audience, increasing your spending to achieve a larger presence, or engaging in much more creative, interesting campaigns. If your top competitors are masters of marketing and advertising, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
The Importance of Knowing the Competition
Which of these strategies should you use? That all depends on who your competitors are. Before you can put together a set of tactics to beat your top competitors, you need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. There are probably certain areas of their business that are practically untouchable, but others that can be easily conquered. Focus on the low-hanging fruit – and make sure you don’t take on an impractical challenge purely for the sake of dominating the field. In other words, choose your battles wisely.
The retail space may be incredibly competitive, but every business owner has a chance to viably compete. As long as you’re aware of the differences between you and your rivals, and you’re willing to experiment with different strategies to gain an edge over them, you can eventually reform your business to be much more competitive.