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Top 10 reasons to shop the competition

If you’re like most retailers, you live in your store. You know where every product is, what everyone’s role is, and how often you need to change the light bulbs in the bathroom. While being that consumed in your business is a good thing most of the time, it can be a detriment to your business model and bring up more shoppers concerns. Here are top 10 reasons to shop the other grocery stores in your area, both mass and independent, and how it can help your business boom.

10.) Are you open when they are open?
Are your hours only from 9-5? You may be missing out on a prime market. Go to the other stores in your area and see when they are open and if they are taking customers from you because they have more flexible times. Knowing when you are losing business – and when you can take business – may set your store apart.

9.) Are you as creative as them?
How do your shelf talkers and signage look? Are they fresh and vibrant or plain and boring? If you’re only looking at your own signs, you may not know what they are missing. Checking out the competition and their signage may give you inspiration for new signs and ways of communicating with the customer.

8.)Do you have the same customers?
Look around the competition’s store. Do your shoppers look the same? Are they the same age range or ethnicities? Do you have more moms in your store than dads? Looking at the competition’s shoppers may give you an idea of demographics that you want to target more.

7.) How are the employees acting?
So your employees greet every customer that comes into the door with a smile. How are their employees acting? Are they offering help in the aisles and explaining confusing products? Looking at what other retailers put emphasis on for their staff may make you realize you need to do the same – or something different.

6.)How are they educating the customer?
So they have a calendar of events at the front of the store offering cooking demonstrations and lifestyle classes – what do you have? Do you know that your customers would prefer passive education through shelf talkers or are you realizing that more engaging classes might be the ticket? Get ideas for topics from the competition – and then make it better.

5.)How tech-friendly are they?
You started a website but you don’t know if Twitter or Facebook is right for your store. Plus, you don’t know what you’d want to say to your customers. Check out how the competition is reaching out to their customers online to get ideas and tweak it to meet your shoppers’ needs.

4.)What new products are they stocking?
Going to events like Natural Products Expo West is a great way to see new products and reach out to new manufacturers – but how do you actually implement them in a store? Did your competitor buy a product that you’ve never seen before? What are some products flying off the shelves? Make notes of new products that you’d like to include in your store.

3.) Can you brag about yourself?
Go into the other stores to feel good about what you are doing. Your competition may be stocking bruised fruit and expired cheese, but how would you know that and be able to market against that unless you checked them out?

2.) What do they cost?
Probably the most prominent concern on your list is how much cheaper or more expensive are you than the competition. Your customers will pick up on this the most, so you want to be sure to price competitively both in the natural and mass markets.

1.) How are you different? Can you show that?
After analyzing every spec of dirt on the floor of a competitor store, you should know how you are different. You merchandise differently, reach out to different demographics, price better, and offer better service – so market on that. Get an ad in the paper and address the concerns you had shopping the other stores, without calling them out. Pretty soon you’ll be getting more business walking through the door.

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