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Can a Little Store Compete with the Retail Giants?

By Richard Parker: President of The Resource Center for A Retail Business™ and author of How To Buy A Good Retail Business At A Great Price© .

You’re thinking of buying a store. What a great idea!

The problem is, you’re worried that your retail enterprise will never be able to compete against the mega-retailers. You’re right to be worried, but the information in this article will put your mind to rest.

So, will those giants make it impossible for your store to survive? The simple answer is, NO! Mega-stores make it harder for smaller stores to compete. But impossible to survive? Hardly.

What You Are Up Against

You have to accept the fact that huge retailers have competitive advantages that no smaller store can match. If you buy a toy store, for example, you will never be able to buy your merchandise in the vast quantities of a Wal-Mart, a Toys “R” Us, or any other big-box retailer. You will never be able to offer your customers the same low prices either. (And you have to be aware that customers, no matter what they say, will comparison shop and look for low prices whenever possible.) Nor will you be able to match the product selection of the mega stores. But at the same time, you can thrive by offering your customers distinct advantages that the big stores simply cannot provide:

  • A better location. Perhaps your store has a great location on “Main Street” that lies right in the path of your target customers. Such key locations allow you to charge more and to remain competitive, despite a smaller product selection and higher prices. And your convenient in-town location will become a bigger asset as gas prices continue to soar. 
  • Better service. You can ALWAYS compete on better service. Perhaps you offer great advice about the books or bicycles you sell. Or you throw in beautiful gift wrapping at no extra charge. Or you set up the gas grills you sell and haul your customers’ old ones away. Or you establish a good reputation for treating your customers fairly, accepting returns with a smile, and engaging in other enlightened forms of good customer service. Good service is the great equalizer in retail. It lets you compete with the big stores – and costs very little.
  • The flexibility to cooperate with other merchants. As part of a community of small merchants in a particular area, you get to develop cooperative promotions. If you own a gas station, for example, you can offer discounts to people who present register receipts from the supermarket that is across the street. In exchange, you build your customer base quickly. And being part of a community of small merchants offers you advantages that no big-box retailer can ever enjoy.
  • Better marketing. Good marketing and advertising can give you a competitive edge that lets you hold your own against the big retail players. And remember, your small size can actually be an advantage in this area. You can sponsor local organizations and events, or create a frequent buyer club for members of the community where your store does business. Smaller stores can be stronger, more agile marketers.
    Buying an existing retail store can be the wisest decision you will ever make! To learn more, be sure to order our guide, How to Buy a Good Retail Business at a Great Price© today.

This article represents a fraction of what you’ll learn in How To Buy A Good Retail Business At A Great Price© - the most widely used reference resource and strategy guide for anyone thinking about buying a retail store. Read a detailed listing of what you'll learn.

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