Great article on Forbes.com - The Rebirth of the Small Video-Rental Shop
You should be able to find it at - www.forbes.com/entrepreneurs/2007/08/15/blockbuster-walmart-netflix-ent-manage-cx_mf_0815video.html
If not, I'm sure that the www.forbes.com search engine will pull it up for you
The articles lists some of the woes and challenges that independent video rental stores have deal with: national and regional chains specializing in their area; products going on the internet; national discounters and grocers and even dollar stores picking up their products, etc. (Does any of this sound familiar? If not , talk to someone with more than ten years of history in the natural products industry!)
What kind of state do you think the independent, local video-rental market is in? Would you believe that there are over 12,000 stores in that market! That number blew my mind!
Some of the strategies that these folks are using to survive and thrive include:
- Carving out a Niche; providing unique specialty items that their larger competitors aren't carrying
- Focusing on Customer Service - this is one area where an owner/operater has a huge opportunity!
- Offering Complementary Products - (See my prior entry on ironing my clothes at a hotel entitled Meaningful Add-On's) This idea offers not only great customer service, but also provides alternative revenue streams
- Crafting Flexing Payment Programs - I got a bit leery when I saw this one listed, but saw that the description of this was doing a loyalty-type program, like airline miles. Not a fit for everyone, but in general a great way to reward repeat shoppers and for you to gain a great understanding of their purchasing habits and patterns. If you use this data well, you can offer rewards of real value and increase both your value to the customer and their purchases at your store
I do believe that competition has a way of bringing out the best in people and businesses. To hear how these stores are doing in such a tough marketplace reinforced that to me in a great way!