Differentiating from Competitors Who Sell the Same Products
Think about major retailers you shop with all the time, and think about their competition. Why do you choose Brand A over Brand B, especially when they're so similar? Customers are in the same position with your company and your competitors. They're going to have to pick one over the other, and you want them to choose you instead of them. If you want to cement your place in your niche, you need to make yourself stand out.
Through Your Branding
Customers view brands like people. Even common household goods have something of a personality. Your goal is to be a better friend than your competitors. You understand what your customers like, and who they want to talk to. You can speak to them in their own language. Use branding colors, logos, and fonts they find visually appealing. Choose your taglines and create your advertisements to have an iconic impact on your audience.
Branding also extends throughout social media. Every post you make and every comment you respond to should be in your brand's voice. Your followers will feel like they're interacting with someone they know, and this strengthens their relationship with you. Even if they like your competitor's products exactly the same as they like yours, they're bound to think of you first because of that relationship.
By Creating a Loyalty Program
Give customers a perk for choosing you over your competition. It is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself when you're not only selling similar products, but selling them at a similar price. The incentive to shop with you would be that they're getting better deals. They're accumulating points that lead to discounts, special early access to sales, birthday gifts, or even free products.
Through a card that can be used at your brick-and-mortar locations or an app that can be used for virtual shopping, it's easy to track purchases. This tracking will help you get better data about what's selling and what shoppers frequently purchase together in one transaction, and it will also help you tailor offers to members of your loyalty program.
By Offering Something More
You offer the same products, but what can you offer that's different? Add more diverse options. Are there accessories you can offer or things you can upsell that your competition currently cannot? Can you retail other products customers like from different brands? Give them more than what your competitors are currently giving them. You'll become a one-stop shop for related needs, and that makes shoppers' lives a lot easier. People love convenience.
You can also offer more in the way of services. If your store retails cosmetics, hire a makeup artist who can teach your customers how to use them. If you store retails clothing, hire people with a background in fashion who would be able to help customers build and accessorize outfits. These extra touches will make customers feel compelled to come to you.
With Excellent Customer Service
The true measure of a company is how it responds when something goes wrong. What does your return policy look like? What do you do when a popular item runs out of stock during a huge sale? It's the products that get people through the door, but it's the service that keeps them coming back. That's why it's vital to develop a customer service strategy that makes your competitor's strategy look lackluster.
Make sure your customer service strategy extends across all areas of your business. You want your customer service to be just as amazing at your physical location as it is on your social media. Consistency is important. It will show your customers they can always expect the best from you no matter where they find you.
With In-Depth Customer Research
Customer research is what keeps you growing. Anticipating needs and innovating based on those needs will carry your retail business into the future. No one has a crystal ball - you can't intuitively anticipate everything your customers will want or need. Instead, you need to continually perform research about the attitudes and interests of your customers and continue to fulfill their needs as they evolve.
Market research is an ongoing process. If you don't already have a team who is constantly on it, it's time to hire one. This research will give you the competitive edge, allowing you to move faster than the competition. Speed is everything, especially if you and your competitors are growing at a similar rate. You need to get there before they get there, no matter where it is that you're going.
No matter how you decide to compete, don't sell yourself short. Don't lower your prices or cheapen your brand. Hold your head high and focus on playing to your strengths.
About the writer: Audrey Robinson is a Project Manager and Content Creator at Datastical, anonline database containing comprehensive data sets and statistics. Audrey is especially interested in effective ways of establishing and growing a successful business and is often found sharing her tips about marketing, lead generation or customer engagement. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter @AudreyyRobinson.
About the author:
Audrey Robinson, Datastical