Have you ever fallen into the trap of following your customers on social media, and tumbling into the giant vortex of “but they’re so much better than me”?
It’s easy to do, because social media is a show reel, showing only the highlights.
Next time you check out your competition, instead of tumbling into the comparison game, be shrewd, and see what you can find that will give you an advantage.
Here are 5 things your competitors can teach you when it comes to sales …
1. There’s always a (product) niche waiting to be filled
If you know where your customers are hanging out, then watch those stores to gauge what your customer is looking for. There will always be a product, a colourway, or even a service, that your customer wants, but your competitors don’t have, or won’t invest in.
Knowing what your customer is looking for gives you a competitive edge, and allows you to run an assessment of whether providing that product/colourway/service, would be a worthwhile investment.
2. Exploit customer service gaps
You know that business, the one that seems to be doing quite well, despite the fact that the customer service is … crap. You’ve been there. The staff are distant and not engaged (that’s if you can even find anyone), they never seem to listen to customer requests and people are always complaining that they take forever to ship items.
Enter – Your Store. Ensuring that your customer service is second to none, will have customers coming back again and again, just because your store is easy to deal with.
3. A more in-depth profile of your ultimate customer (via social media feeds)
Social media can sometimes feel like a burden, but the truth is there is so much information floating around freely, that with a little digging, can help you refine your Ultimate Customer profile, which in turn allows you to streamline your product range, advertise in the right places, and create promotions that convert into more sales.
Checking out your competitor’s customers, seeing how they compare with your customer profile, and tweak where you think necessary.
4. How price is not always relative
In retail, you’re not in the business of selling products. You’re selling feelings. Whether it’s luxury, convenience or happiness, when you satisfy a want (or a need), price is not a motivating factor, for those A-class customers (the 20% that give you 80% of your sales).
Think of Tiffany’s, even their entry level, sterling silver range is over the top, compared to a regular jeweller. Why, because the customer is paying to be associated with the Tiffany’s brand. The sense of style, the feeling of luxury. And you can bet that blue bag the jewellery came in will get used again and again. Because you’re in the business of selling feelings, and perceptions. By toting that Tiffany’s bag around, the world sees its owner as a certain kind of person, and THAT perception is what your customers will pay for, regardless of the price.
5. Where your policies are lacking
Hanging around with other retailers, whether it’s in real life or virtually, allows you to get a behind the scenes view of what’s happening in their store. Or what’s not happening. Paying attention to the hiccups that your competitors face that generally result in losing money, allows you to update your policies, so that you can circumvent those things happening. Think of your shipping policy, your returns and exchanges policies and breakages in your store. Having these all mapped out and regularly updated will mean that when once of these situations arises, your less likely to be out of pocket.
Shrewd business people are always learning from their competitors, searching out their weaknesses and exploiting opportunities that arise. When you move out of the “shop keeper” mindset and into the “business owner” mindset, what used to get you down about your competitors will turn into avenues that you can utilise to grow your business and move it forward.