One of the easiest ways to stand out is to offer great customer service. It’s inexpensive to implement (provided you already have friendly and helpful employees) and it’s a great differentiating factor. Focus on where you can make improvements internally to provide an outstanding customer experience, and then make it your mission to carry out those efforts through every customer touchpoint – on your website, in-store, through emails, etc.
Reward your customers for their loyalty by giving them perks for choosing your business to make them feel even more valued. Authentic gratitude is one form of customer service that some small businesses don’t even bother with, which will make you stand out even more.
Providing good value isn’t about lowering your prices – it’s about offering more to your customers for the same price. The service component that we just talked about is one piece of value, but there are many other components as well. Great value comes from giving a customer more than they’d expect – giftwrapping, a coupon off their next visit, an in-store demonstration by an expert, a little freebie gift, DIY resources to take home, a personal shopper program to help select the right items, a warranty, included repairs, etc. Any of these add-ons can sweeten the deal, making shopping at your small business a better value for local shoppers.
Customers want to feel like people, not just a revenue stream. Anything you can to do recognize people and customize their shopping experience is a great way to set yourself apart. Whether this means having a chalk board on your changing rooms to write a shopper’s name on while he/she tries on clothes or remembering people’s preferences by using a digital rewards program, make customers feel like they matter as individuals.
Having something that no one else has is a surefire way to differentiate yourself. You don’t need to have the biggest selection, you just need to have a niche. Simply put – do one thing, and do it well! Set yourself apart by being the absolute best place to go for _________ (fill in the blank). This will ensure that as long as there’s still a demand for the thing that you do well, you’ll never be able to be replaced.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Business Blogging and Web Copywriting. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and son and enjoys cooking, watching sports, and spending time together as a family. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about current marketing trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!