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How To Challenge And Beat The Big Boys In Local Sales

How To Challenge And Beat The Big Boys In Local Sales

As a small business or independent retailer, what do you do when a major chain, big-box store or national franchise becomes your neighbor and direct competitor? All along you've been specializing in items that aren't in the mainstream but sell well, and then some big chain - like Walmart or Amazon, for example - decides they're going to hone in on your action.

When this happens, what can you as a boutique or specialty retailer do to remain in business and retain your dominance in any niche market?

Your first reaction might be to lower prices in order to compete with the big stores. But that's like bringing a knife to a gunfight. There's no way you'll ever compete on price.

Here's a list of 5 things your business can do to maintain the customers you already have and win even more business when being forced to compete with a national chain:

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1) Connect with locals using social media.

Large chains and franchises typically do a terrible job of maintaining social media profiles in the local communities where they have stores. Set yourself apart by ramping up local engagement via social media marketing on 40Billion, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

2) Blog locally.

If the big boys even have a blog, they're not likely spending time focusing on local issues. By frequently blogging about topics that your local customers actually care about, you increase your store's odds of generating positive local search results online. Also, you're telling your customers they should have more information about the products and services you sell.

3) Support local causes.

National chains move slowly, especially when it comes to sponsoring or supporting local events. As a local, pay attention to what's coming up on the local events calendar and join up with civic-minded organizations that are targeting the same people who may want to buy your products or services. Supporting local causes endears your brand among your target demographic.

4) State your differences as positives.

Rather than bashing the competition, point out the clear differences between your offerings by speaking in positives, not negatives.

5) Use speed to your advantage.

In most cases, everything you see on the shelves of a big box or chain store, or being sold or offered by a franchise, is there because one person - a national buyer or category manager - approved it. You, however, can start selling a new item on a moment's notice. By specializing in the niche items that helped you build your enterprise, you'll continue to drive business in your direction.

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How To Challenge And Beat The Big Boys In Local Sales