First Person: How Niche Marketing Helped My Business Compete Against the Big Chains

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First Person: How Niche Marketing Helped My Business Compete Against the Big Chains
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First Person: How Niche Marketing Helped My Business Compete Against the Big Chains

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As a small business owner, one of your biggest competitors might be the large chain stores like Wal-Mart. As a large chain store, they order their products in mass quantities, usually granting them a discount in their wholesale prices and leaving them the ability to sell the same product you do at a lower price.

So, as a business owner, what can you do? Is there any way that you can really compete? The answer is yes, but you have to learn how to market your business and show potential customers just how your business can offer more. You need to find and market your business niche. What is a business niche you ask? A business niche, or a marketing niche, is finding an area of your business that other businesses are overlooking or that you can specialize in.

Years ago, I had a small retail gift basket business providing gift baskets for everyday occasions and corporate gifts. Business was thriving and going well for some time, but I gradually noticed my retail sales were declining. I couldn't figure out why until I went into my local Wal-Mart store. I was amazed to find gift baskets lining their shelves. While these baskets where nothing compared to mine in design, their prices were much lower than I could sell my baskets for and still make a profit. I realized that these cheap and inexpensive baskets being offered were the reason for my sales decline and knew that I had to figure out how I could get my customers back and save my business. I knew that as far as the price, there was no possible way I could compete and still make a profit, so I had to examine the market and figure out what I could do that they couldn't. I needed to find and create a business niche and emphasize that niche in all my marketing campaigns.

So, I examined my business, my products, and my customer history. I knew that price-wise I had no way to compete with the large stores, but I did have a few things that they couldn't offer. While the big stores had rows of gift baskets, they were all the same. My gifts could be personalized in any way to fit the recipient. Ok, so that was one thing, but was their more? I also offered delivery of my gifts, which was something the big stores would never even think of. I now had two things that I offered that were different. In addition to these two things, I also offered an event reminder service for my clients, where they could input birthdays and anniversaries and receive a reminder at a certain time before the event. So, I had these three business niches that I could use to market my business and show potential customers that while the big stores may have cheaper prices, my business came with personalized services to better serve them and make their gifting experience much easier.

When it comes to small businesses trying to compete with larger chains, finding a niche you can use to 'sell' your business to potential customers is one of the keys to success. Do not get discouraged when you see that you have larger competition moving in on your business, but use it as a motivation to show how you might be able to narrow your potential business niche down and promote that. Find something that your business can offer that the big guys can't, and use that as a focus in your marketing campaigns. By narrowing down your marketing to your business niche, your customers will see what it is that you, as a small business owner, offer that will appeal to them where the larger stores can't.

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