By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|July 24, 2012
What do you do as a small, independent retailer when a major food chain, big-box store or national franchise becomes a direct competitor? All along you’ve been specializing in items that aren’t in the mainstream but sell well, and then some big outfit like Sears or Walmart decides they’re going to horn in on your action.
A perfect example is Kroger, the Ohio-based supermarket chain that recently began offering natural foods inside half of its 2,500 stores, setting aside aisles now designated as Nature’s Markets. When this happens, what can you as a 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. Yet there are steps that specialty merchants can take in order to maintain position. Here’s a list of 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:
- 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 Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
- 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…
Continue Reading: How To Compete with the Big Chains? Think Locally