Your Competitive Edge: YOU!

August 7, 2014 | By | Reply More


I’ve been working with a client who will be opening a store in the spring. This is her first venture into retail, and she’s working hard to do it right. We’ve been working on constructing a full merchandising plan by department and category, as well as a detailed cash flow plan. She’s opening a teachers store, so we’ve been also discussing a range of strategies for connecting one-on-one, face-to-face with as many teachers as possible, both pre-opening, and in the lead-up to the back-to-school season.

In the course of a conversation the other day, as we were discussing these issues, I asked her what she thought would really set her apart from any potential competition. What does she think her competitive edge would be? She looked a bit confused, because we’d talked before about her plans for the store and how she wanted to create a store that would truly meet the needs of the teacher community. She wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting at.

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I told her that she was her competitive edge.

For any independent retailer, their personal vision, passion and creativity, and their ability to communicate that to their customers and employees, represents their competitive edge. It is uniquely there’s, it’s what makes them uniquely them. It’s the one thing that can’t be readily copied or knocked off. It’s the thing that differentiates the very best independent retailers from all comers.

In this new-normal, post-recession, sort-of-recovery environment, there’s a lot of conversation about things like customer experience, total value and new media, and rightly so. What they all have in common is that they aim to build closer, more personal relationships with customers, and they all grow out of the vision, passion and creativity of an entrepreneurial mindset. The mass-market retailers are busily trying to re-engineer business models built around volume and economies of scale to become more “personal” and entrepreneurial. They’re really up against it.

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These are the things that come naturally to the very best independent retailers. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about them. No, you’re not suddenly going to be able to compete head-on with the mass-market retailers, but that’s never been your game. Independent retailers have long been about filling the niches, and delivering superior products and experiences to their customers.

The environment favors the passionate, the energetic, the committed and the entrepreneurial. You are your competitive edge. Use that competitive edge, and the future is yours.

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 Ted Hurlbut is a retail consultant, coach and speaker who helps independent retailers increase sales, profitability and cash flow by leveraging his deep expertise and proven retail know-how, Get his FREE report “The 16 Essential Elements of a WINNING Independent Retail Strategy” Visit: 

Your Competitive Edge: YOU!
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Your Competitive Edge: YOU!
If you are thinking of opening a store, what would set you apart from any potential competition? What will be your competitive edge? Learn what is the competitive advance of independent retailers
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