Explore how small businesses can compete with the big chains by implementing our best practices for your business to stand out.
In tough economic times, small businesses can struggle. Big multinational chains often have the scale to undercut local competitors and survive even when times get tough.
What can small businesses do to retain and attract customers in a competitive market?
Table of Contents
Ways to compete with the big chain businesses
1. Identify your business’s advantages
Think about what your business can offer that a multinational operator cannot. For example, you might have the edge on:
- Local knowledge
- Close relationships with customers
- Personalised service
- Easier parking
- Specific products and services
- Immediate availability of products
- An excellent loyalty scheme
- Community support
- Local events
If you’re not sure what your big selling points are, ask your customers.
2. Show off your advantages online
Leverage your business’s selling points through your online presence. While it might be prohibitively expensive to build a whole new office or store frontage, your online shop-front can be impressive at a fraction of the price.
Step up your social media activity, paying particular attention to sites where local people are active. Invest in outstanding photography, too.
3. Invest in reviews
Can you find a way to nudge your best customers into providing online feedback? Positive reviews are a vital tool for small businesses to grow their customer base.
- Make it easy for people to leave reviews – send them an email reminder with a link included.
- Address negative reviews immediately and professionally.
- Consider an incentive to provide a review, such as a free extra item immediately or a $5 discount code off their next order. Alternatively they could go in the draw to win a bigger prize. This may also encourage them to shop with you again.
4. Be boutique
Lean into being small. Customers are willing to pay more for businesses that employ great people, provide quality service and a high-end experience. Invest in providing a polished experience for all your customers.
5. Appeal to ethical customers
Many shoppers are happy to pay more for sustainable, ethical products and services. Have measurable sustainability credentials and show them off whenever you can.
So, what can small businesses do to retain and attract customers in a competitive market?
Small businesses can retain and attract customers in a competitive market by prioritizing exceptional customer service, implementing loyalty programs to reward repeat business, maintaining a strong online presence through user-friendly websites and social media engagement, actively participating in the local community through events and sponsorships, and emphasizing a unique selling proposition to stand out from competitors.
Additionally, providing quality products and services, personalized marketing based on customer data, ensuring convenience and accessibility in purchasing, gathering and utilizing customer feedback for continuous improvement, investing in employee training and satisfaction, maintaining competitive pricing, and regular communication with customers through newsletters or social media updates are crucial strategies to build a positive brand image and foster long-term customer relationships.
How do small firms compete with large firms?
Small firms can compete with large firms by focusing on their unique strengths, leveraging personalized customer experiences, utilizing niche marketing strategies, emphasizing agility and innovation, and building strong relationships with customers and local communities.
Why is it difficult for small businesses to compete with large retailers?
Small businesses often struggle to compete with large retailers due to factors such as limited resources, brand recognition, economies of scale, and pricing power.
How a small business can compete with a big box store to be successful?
By offering personalized customer experiences, focusing on niche markets, and leveraging online platforms for marketing and sales.
How do small firms survive competition from large firms?
By focusing on their unique value proposition, offering specialized services or products, targeting niche markets, building strong customer relationships, optimizing operational efficiency, and leveraging digital marketing strategies.
Need help on how your small businesses can compete with the big chains?
For more ideas that are tailored to your business, we can help. Drop us a note or give us a call – we’d love to hear from you.
Related Link: Support for businesses in Australia | business.gov.au