10 tips for retailers to beat the competition
Having a business within a highly competitive industry can be challenging. However, implementing the right strategies, analysing consumer behaviour and keeping an eye on industry trends can help you to stay afloat and above the competition. We’ve listed ten ways that retailers can beat the competition.
Create a strong brand identity
A strong brand identity is vital when standing out from the crowd. Differentiating yourself from the competition involves having a consistent, recognisable look and mission, which is essential when customers are making purchasing decisions. For example, if you and your competitor sell the same product, you want your customer to choose your product over the other; the way to achieve this is by giving them something to associate you with. Trust, reliability, quality, and appearance are all things that customers associate with products when making a decision.
You want to create a strong brand identity so that when customers need a product, they envision your company.
Create a unique shopping experience
To beat the competition in business, you must create a memorable experience whenever a customer enters your store online or physically, as you can’t survive just by merely selling. Consumers crave a personal connection nowadays and want more from companies and their services; they want an experience that leaves a positive impression. Positive shopping experiences focus less on what they are selling and more on how they sell it. If your customers associate you with a positive shopping experience, they won’t need to go elsewhere.
Ways you can create a unique shopping experience:
- Offer samples of your products.
- Provide excellent customer service.
- Be ready to help if and when needed, but don’t overdo this, as this can feel like nagging.
- Don’t neglect post-purchase care.
Educate your customers through content
Educating your customers through content is a perfect and easy way of staying ahead of the competition. Educated content boosts the overall customer experience by improving satisfaction and loyalty and decreasing product returns. You are viewed as a reliable, trustworthy source when you can educate, as it allows consumers to make informed decisions, building long-lasting relationships.
Gain customer reviews and feedback
If there’s one way to stay ahead of the competition, it is to gain customer reviews and feedback. You want to be the best you can be, and the only way to do this is by hearing off the people who purchase from you. Ask for feedback, take it on and act on it when you receive it. There could be elements you never considered improving until a customer mentions them.
Focus on long-lasting customer relationships
Building and prioritising long-lasting relationships is highly beneficial for beating your competition. You are more likely to remain successful and on top if you have loyal and retained customers compared to one-time purchasers. With loyal customers spending 31% more than new customers and 46% of loyal customers more likely to continue purchasing after a negative experience, this shows you exactly why you should focus on building these close relationships. Some ways of building long-lasting relationships:
- Treat your customers as individuals.
- Reward them.
- Say, thank you.
- Provide post-purchase care.
- Create value for your customers.
Prioritise customer service support
Customer service is an area of a business that will either retain your customers or deter them. You must check in on your customer service team and ensure they provide the correct service and meet your customers’ needs. If a customer has a question or a problem that the customer service team cannot solve, this could prevent them from returning. Customers can ask any questions, so ensure that all your customer service team members know about all your products and services.
Use competitive pricing
Competitive pricing is a strategy where two competitors set their product prices based on the competition to draw their consumers away and instead sell their products based on other factors such as quality and features. A great example is Amazon, which offers excellent competitive pricing, where more customers will buy their favourite brands from the retail giant rather than from the direct brand themselves.
Competitive pricing offers several advantages to a business: it’s easy to implement, and you’re guaranteed customer satisfaction and a higher share in the market, which is precisely what you want when beating your competition.
Offer incentives that competitors don’t have
A great way to stay ahead of the competition? Offer something that they aren’t. This could be a significant discount, a free item or a loyalty points program. Not only does this instantly draw a customer away from the competition, but it also puts you in a good light as you show that you care about and appreciate the customer.
Understand your customer’s needs
Understanding your customer’s needs is a must when wanting to stay competitive. How will you satisfy your consumers if you don’t know what they need from you? When it comes to retail and, more specifically, online retailers, customers are more willing to jump ship if they find that you are not meeting their needs in any way.
What exactly is a customer ‘need?’ A need is the physical and psychological motivators that push customers to buy a product or service. Physical needs can be a lot easier to understand than psychological, and this is because it runs a little deeper into categories of beliefs, opinions and desires. Customers’ needs could be affordable prices, convenience and high-quality customer service.
How do you find out your customer’s needs?
- Collect direct feedback from the customers themselves (tracking social media, questionnaires, reviews, etc.)
- Look closely into your competitors; what do customers think about their offerings? You can complete a competitive analysis.
- Map your customer journey.
- Measure customer satisfaction.
Keep an eye on your competitors
Keeping a close eye on your competitors is necessary if you want to remain competitive in the retail industry. You must keep updated with trends; otherwise, customers could turn to other retailers. Looking into your competitors also enables you to adjust and develop your USP where necessary, as well as improvement within your products and services.
The key for retailers to stay competitive
Staying competitive within the retail industry is a challenge and always will be. The key to achieving this is through staying on top of trends, analysing your consumer behaviour to ensure you’re meeting their needs and continuously improving USP, products and services.
Why is it important to monitor your competitors?
Monitoring competition lets you identify the key businesses you are head-to-head with. You can track their strategies to know threats that competitors could be facing, that you could then be facing. It’s important to know what they are up to; whether they are following new trends or implementing new technology, you must ensure you don’t fall behind.
How can I maintain my competitive advantage?
You must invest in your expertise and develop within those areas to maintain your competitive advantage. You must also be the first to market with unique products or services and ensure that you continuously improve these and change along with consumer buyer behaviour and trends.
What are some competitive strategies?
Cost leadership strategy – You keep your product and service prices lower than your competitors to encourage your customers to purchase your lower-costing products.
Differentiation strategy – You can differentiate yourself from the competition by emphasising specific features.
Cost focus strategy – Similar to the cost leadership strategy. Instead, you will cater to a specific market segment. You will offer a lower price but target a unique market with different needs and preferences.
Differentiation focus strategy – Similar to the differentiation strategy, you will focus on a more specific market; this doesn’t prioritise the cost but more the features.
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