There has been an alarming rise in small businesses closing down in recent years. With an ever-growing surplus of chain stores, many small business owners struggle to keep their shops afloat. Manufacturers who produce goods for these large chains can afford to sell cheaper versions of the same product because they pay less for raw materials, have higher production yields, and have larger advertising budgets. Small shops need to find a way to compete with these larger firms without breaking the bank. Here are some things small shops should consider when trying to compete with large manufacturers.
1. Develop a Niche
Many manufacturers produce a wide scope of products, but they are often more interested in capitalizing on those that do not differ from end user to end user. With this in mind, creating a product that differentiates itself from other similar products may be the only way for small shops to stand out. Taking on custom orders can help you develop this niche product, and it could also help you stand apart from competitors in the eyes of potential customers, each having their own unique needs.
2. Tap into the Power of Social Media
A small shop has a far lower chance of being noticed than a large retailer. To reach customers, small shops need to use social media and digital marketing tools to get their message across. Networking with like-minded people will help you spot marketing opportunities and give your shop the courage to be seen. You can market your business on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, all of which are typically free to use, to gain more exposure.
3: Offer Free Samples
To attract new customers, many small shops will offer free samples or free demos of their services offered. This gives potential customers a glimpse at what your business can do at no cost to them. Inviting people for a free trial run of your products and services is worthwhile as it makes them more receptive to your marketing efforts and more open to the idea of utilizing your business in the future.
4: Focus on Processes & Customer Service
Large firms often have a reputation for high-yielding, efficient processes but may lack quality customer service. Small shops can take a different approach by thinking big while remaining small. Implementing a turnkey ERP solution can be an effective step toward automating specific tasks and increasing efficiency without scaling your shop’s current workforce or facility. Customers want to feel that their needs are being met quickly and efficiently while also feeling valued by your business. Optimizing your shop’s processes without sacrificing customer service is the best way to accomplish this.
5: Offer a Unique Selling Proposition
Even though large retailers often have higher profit margins, they are unlikely to be interested in marketing a niche product. The only way to promote a niche product will be if you sell it yourself and make it known that it is available through your business only.
6: Enlist Quality Website Design
Many small shops still need their website, which must be well-designed too. If you can provide a professional-looking website that is easy to navigate and you become prominent in the web searches of your target market, your chances of selling through it will increase. Ensure it contains relevant content and images so customers can easily find what they need. It will help to know that the site is entirely secure, as this will reassure potential customers.
7: Develop the Right Image
People who visit your shop need to feel that they are in a place where they can get the quality goods and services they are looking for. Potential customers will be more likely to stay if you have staff who appear keen and caring. Your business will also need to match people’s expectations of what a small business should look like, so make sure it is clean, tidy, and feels welcoming.
Although it is difficult for small businesses to compete with large manufacturing chains, there are ways to differentiate your business from the competition. Your business must provide a niche product and be delivered to potential customers in the form of effective social media and digital marketing campaigns. You should also consider the importance of offering free samples or trial runs, providing efficiency coupled with excellent customer service, and maintaining a sound public image.