I've been running my kitchenware shop for about four years now, and it has become more difficult to compete against the big box stores (Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's). They're able to offer lower prices, but I'm proud of the great customer service I can provide. I know when a customer comes in looking for a great standing mixer that I am selling them the best for the job based on their needs. How can I convince my customers to choose my store over my cheaper competitors?
 
Hey Jessica! Thanks for making a separate thread about the issues you're facing with your business.

I think this is a problem a lot of small businesses experience, especially with stores like Target and Macy's being absolutely everywhere, and online services like Amazon being able to deliver almost anything anywhere. While this can be a bit of a bummer, you're not alone and there are plenty of solutions!

For instance, many people who shop at small businesses know and like the fact that they're supporting an individual's dream, as well as the local economy. Maybe you could emphasize that by shopping at your store, your customers are maintaining their town's/city's/county's economy and helping a local's dream (AKA your dream) come true. I'd definitely recommend participating in Small Business Saturdays as they come (like by advertising it on your social media and website, or maybe putting up a poster in your window).

You could also add something unique to your business! Can you host a cooking class at your shop for a reasonable price? Can you do small demos, where you show customers how a coffee machine works and give them samples of the coffee? What about giving customers one free recipe they can use with the product they purchase (like a baking pan or a pizza stone)?

Finally, you could also consider giving customers coupons to use on their next purchase. Discounts like "$20 off your purchase of $150 or more" gives them incentive to come back, but also ensures that you're still pulling a profit.

Hope this helps!
 
Hey Jessica! Thanks for making a separate thread about the issues you're facing with your business.

I think this is a problem a lot of small businesses experience, especially with stores like Target and Macy's being absolutely everywhere, and online services like Amazon being able to deliver almost anything anywhere. While this can be a bit of a bummer, you're not alone and there are plenty of solutions!

For instance, many people who shop at small businesses know and like the fact that they're supporting an individual's dream, as well as the local economy. Maybe you could emphasize that by shopping at your store, your customers are maintaining their town's/city's/county's economy and helping a local's dream (AKA your dream) come true. I'd definitely recommend participating in Small Business Saturdays as they come (like by advertising it on your social media and website, or maybe putting up a poster in your window).

You could also add something unique to your business! Can you host a cooking class at your shop for a reasonable price? Can you do small demos, where you show customers how a coffee machine works and give them samples of the coffee? What about giving customers one free recipe they can use with the product they purchase (like a baking pan or a pizza stone)?

Finally, you could also consider giving customers coupons to use on their next purchase. Discounts like "$20 off your purchase of $150 or more" gives them incentive to come back, but also ensures that you're still pulling a profit.

Hope this helps!
Thank you so much, Josephine! I'll definitely look into "Small Business Saturdays."

I have done demos before, and they seemed to do alright (we happen to be right next to a restaurant serving their own food outside). I'll talk to my team and see if they're interested in starting them up again. Sadly, we do not have enough room to teach a cooking class, but that sounds wonderful!

I'll also have to look into coupons. I might have to run the books to see what I can afford.

Thanks again!
 

azgold

MVP
Can you host a cooking class at your shop for a reasonable price? Can you do small demos, where you show customers how a coffee machine works and give them samples of the coffee? What about giving customers one free recipe they can use with the product they purchase (like a baking pan or a pizza stone)?

Finally, you could also consider giving customers coupons to use on their next purchase. Discounts like "$20 off your purchase of $150 or more" gives them incentive to come back, but also ensures that you're still pulling a profit.

I think these are great ideas!

A lot of people are willing to pay a little more to shop local, too.

Do you exhibit at trade shows, teach cooking classes at a community college (just an example), stuff like that to get known?
 
A lot of people are willing to pay a little more to shop local, too.
This is certainly true for me. I buy very basic stuff (groceries, cleaning supplies, etc) at "big box stores" to save some money, but I definitely go out of my way to buy other stuff (house plants, books, decor, etc) from local shops, even if it's a bit pricier. I, like @Josephine Stuart pointed out, like to feel like I'm supporting individuals and families who live in my community.

Teaching cooking classes at a community college may be a good idea. It'll give you the space you need, and you can use the equipment you sell at your shop.
 
I think these are great ideas!

A lot of people are willing to pay a little more to shop local, too.

Do you exhibit at trade shows, teach cooking classes at a community college (just an example), stuff like that to get known?

I'm not sure my company qualifies for a lot of the trade shows I usually see around LA. Do you know any for small businesses?
 
This is certainly true for me. I buy very basic stuff (groceries, cleaning supplies, etc) at "big box stores" to save some money, but I definitely go out of my way to buy other stuff (house plants, books, decor, etc) from local shops, even if it's a bit pricier. I, like @Josephine Stuart pointed out, like to feel like I'm supporting individuals and families who live in my community.

Teaching cooking classes at a community college may be a good idea. It'll give you the space you need, and you can use the equipment you sell at your shop.

I looked into it, and there seem to be many permits needed for cooking classes (both at my store, at the college, and at shows). Do you have any advice on where to start?
 

azgold

MVP
I'm not sure my company qualifies for a lot of the trade shows I usually see around LA. Do you know any for small businesses?

No, sorry. I'm in a different country.

Might be something here that would work for you:

trade shows for small business in los angeles area at DuckDuckGo

If you need permits for cooking, is another way of promoting your products that allows you to skip the cooking part? Another feature or benefit you can play up, maybe with a specific theme that involves more than one product?

I've never sold kitchenwear, so maybe that doesn't make sense.

I was trying to brainstorm workshop or trade show exhibition possibilities:

- Top 10 Mixers/blenders/whatever - have them on display, tell them why and what they do that the lesser quality ones don't
- Fashion colour co-ordination in the kitchen - display some examples, maybe mixer, spatulas, bowls, etc. in matching colours
- Best kitchen tool packages for shower or bridal gifts - again, have displays already made up (bridal shows?)
- Do you sell spices and can you do that without a permit?
- What to look for when purchasing a {insert name of high end product} to avoid buyer regret
- How to spot a bad/good {something}
- Does it need repair or should I throw it away/replace it?

Okay, I'll stop. Like I said, I know nothing about your industry, these are just ideas off the top of my head. :)
 
No, sorry. I'm in a different country.

Might be something here that would work for you:

trade shows for small business in los angeles area at DuckDuckGo

If you need permits for cooking, is another way of promoting your products that allows you to skip the cooking part? Another feature or benefit you can play up, maybe with a specific theme that involves more than one product?

I've never sold kitchenwear, so maybe that doesn't make sense.

I was trying to brainstorm workshop or trade show exhibition possibilities:

- Top 10 Mixers/blenders/whatever - have them on display, tell them why and what they do that the lesser quality ones don't
- Fashion colour co-ordination in the kitchen - display some examples, maybe mixer, spatulas, bowls, etc. in matching colours
- Best kitchen tool packages for shower or bridal gifts - again, have displays already made up (bridal shows?)
- Do you sell spices and can you do that without a permit?
- What to look for when purchasing a {insert name of high end product} to avoid buyer regret
- How to spot a bad/good {something}
- Does it need repair or should I throw it away/replace it?

Okay, I'll stop. Like I said, I know nothing about your industry, these are just ideas off the top of my head. :)

That link is great, thank you! And thank you for the suggestions, too!

I actually just did some brainstorming with the help of @djbaxter's post "Why Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing" and I could talk about those ideas plus teach cooking classes on a YouTube channel. I can at least start there, build viewers, and work on gaining permits to teach live at my store, at a local school, or at a trade show.
 

azgold

MVP
That link is great, thank you! And thank you for the suggestions, too!

I actually just did some brainstorming with the help of @djbaxter's post "Why Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing" and I could talk about those ideas plus teach cooking classes on a YouTube channel. I can at least start there, build viewers, and work on gaining permits to teach live at my store, at a local school, or at a trade show.

You're welcome and you're right, you absolutely can start on YT. In fact, that will be cheaper and faster to get going. Like I said in DJ's thread, don't forget your keyword research and put your site link at the very beginning in the description area.

After that....drive traffic to it. :)
 

Racheywegs

Member
Hi Jessica,

As some members have mentioned, focusing on specific elements of your digital marketing will definitely be helpful in competing against larger retailers like Target.

Also consider where they demonstrate most experience, like eCommerce sites, large or small businesses, local or international businesses. If you decide to hire an agency, research some questions you should ask to evaluate an SEO agency.

Like for example,
1) What services they provide (is it all local, or do they outsource internationally)
2) Type of reporting they offer (what they do, why, and progress as a result of these actions)
3) What will they do in the first month?
4) Pricing structure (are they completely transparent with their pricing)
5 ) What does the optimization process look like?

Good luck!
 
Industry teaming may supplement your marketing plan dramatically. Synergism is paramount in teaming with any size company, whether in a lead or follower role. There should be technical, management and market segment similarities between you and any company with whom you are considering teaming. Your prospective team member ideally will not be a direct competitor; rather a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.

Relationships must be developed with larger firms and other small businesses that can help you, team with you and keep you in mind as they search for success. That takes time, patience and open-minded, out of the box thinking. It also takes more than a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), a teaming agreement (TA) to succeed. It takes dynamic marketing and communication with strong partners and hard, innovative work. Nice buzz words you say - but it is the truth and you have to find what that truth means to you.
 
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