We’ve spoken in the past about carving out a niche for your shop with the goal of creating a personality or brand that insulates you from the brutality of competing on price and the painful reliance on location, location, location. [level-members]
Not that price and location don’t matter, but if people only shop with you because your prices are low or because they’re already in the neighborhood, you’re in trouble in most cases. You want to be the reason people are shopping in your neighborhood, not the other way around.
Which is why developing a personality for your shop is so critical. And while it’s critical, it doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. (It’s not going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to include all the talk of “sensory stimuli” and “tone of messaging” and other high-falutin’ stuff that big-retail consultants drone on about.
There’s real value in what they are talking about; it simply applies differently to small retail operations. Some of the factors you might want to consider include:
Be the shop that is friendlier, does more, goes out of its way, remembers preferences and important occasions. Be remarkable and your customers will rave about you to their friends. What better advertising can you ask for?
You can make your shop the most stylish place around. That rubs off on the product, as I’m sure you’ve experience if you’ve ever been in an Apple Store or other high-concept retail environment. People begin to associate the same positive feelings about the store with the products.
You can be the shop that has or can get anything. If you can do it fast, all the better. If you can offer an alternative that the customer may not be aware of, that’s much, much better.
Depth of Knowledge
Become THE place for French wines and you’ll be more sought out than your neighbor with the little wine shop around the corner. Specialize and people will seek out your opinion.
You won’t win everyone with these approaches, but that’s sort of the point. Find your tribe, as Seth Godin might say, and be the best wine shop they could ever hope for. Forget the rest of the audience. You can’t win all of their hearts and in trying, you stand to lose the one group – whatever that group may be – that can make your shop a success.