Every time that a customer decides between two businesses, a number of factors run through their mind, including price, location, and the product/service rendered. But it’s not always these more obvious factors that end up determining their final decision. A business’s competitive edge can be the sum of many things.
Picture this example. You’re presented with two separate stores, offering the same product, at the same price, all located within a comparable traveling distance. Which store will you ultimately choose? Your decision is going to be informed by the little things.
As it just so happens, I can offer a real-world experience to match this example. I live about five minutes from the local Walmart and Target. Both stores are across the street from each other. Getting to one or the other is never an issue. Each is a major department store offering thousands of items at comparable price points. (Not everything is always the same price, but there’s been enough instances…)
Anyway, there’s really no easy answer. I have good reasons for visiting both stores, despite their similarities. Both stores do things better than the other. Let’s take a look.
Reasons I’ll pick Target
I’ll get it out of the way and admit my bias. Gun to my head, Target is my go-to choice. Why? It’s really a matter of experience. To me, that’s where Target wins-out in a major way. I’ve always found the overall experience of shopping at Target to be superior. Three crucial reasons why are service, aesthetics, and quality.
- Service. Friendly, helpful, and courteous, I always have an excellent time dealing with Target employees. Customer service is easy to deal with, employees frequently ask if there’s anything they can help me find, and there are numerous employee call buttons located around the store.
- Aesthetics. Everything in Target is just so pleasing. From the reds of the shopping carts to the neatly organized aisles, it all seems just right.
- Quality. Having bought Target’s store-brand products frequently over the years, I’ve always been impressed with the quality of their goods.
Reasons I’ll pick Walmart
Despite my personal preference for Target, I do visit Walmart from time-to-time. Here are the reasons why.
- Availability. Simply put, Walmart has everything. You name it. Not only will they have what you’re looking for, they’ll have multiple. And then they’ll have a selection of substitute brands to boot.
- Great hours. My Walmart is open 24/7. If I need something at midnight or early in the morning, Walmart becomes the default choice.
- “Value.” Like I said, Walmart and Target typically have comparable price points on items that they both stock. But what Walmart has been very successful in establishing is its value-based image. If you’re familiar with Walmart at all, you know about Walmart prices, which typically end in odd numbers ($9.87 vs. $9.99). At Walmart, you feel like you’re getting the best value for your money, as if they’ve shaved off every possible cent.
Get customers to pick your business
Your business’s competitive edge will not be exactly the same as Walmart or Target. However, what these stores are doing can give you some insight into how your business can better tackle competitors.
Your store may not have the resources to stock every brand or stay open 24/7. But don’t compare yourself to Walmart. What are your local competitors doing? Could you open an hour earlier or later? Could you stock that one brand that your competitor’s are missing?
If, on the other hand, your local competitors are a Walmart or a Target, then the same strategy applies. Look at what they’re doing, and try to determine how you can differentiate yourself from them.
And of course, if you’re having a tough time with that, we have a solution for you.
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What does your business do to get the competitive edge? Let us know in the comments!