9 Ways Mom and Pops Can Compete With Big Box Stores

March 24, 2021

March 29th, 2021 is National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted mom and pop shops the most. We’ve passed the first anniversary of the mandatory government shutdowns. We empathize with all of the independent businesses in our community that have struggled to keep their doors open. It is important to understand why celebrating mom and pop business is more important now than ever!

Mom-and-pop businesses offer unique goods and experiences.

These small businesses offer unique products such as jewelry, crafts, household goods, coffee, desserts, and more!

Small businesses make up almost half the nation’s payroll. These businesses must find ways to compete with big-box stores and big tech.

Shop local campaigns have surfaced in our community. This has reminded consumers of the importance of purchasing goods from a local mom-and-pop shop vs. a large organization.

The economy will not make a full recovery without small business owners learning how to compete with bigger entities.

Many business owners admit they are challenged to compete with big-box stores, online retailers, and national chains. Owners mention pricing, selection, service, along with limited financial means as challenges in competing with the competition.

How can mom and pops compete with Amazon and Walmart?

Here are nine ways your mom and pop shop can compete against big-box giants:

  1. Customer Service –

    Selling on price is ineffective because a competitor can always come in and undercut prices. Without the giants’ buying power, it will be challenging to offer the lowest price and be profitable. Undoubtedly, when the customer perceives value in a product or service, pricing becomes a non-issue. Customer service is an area in which a small business can really become competitive. Small businesses can build a repoire with their customers. Online retailers and big businesses cannot compete with small businesses’ ability to form a relationship. What do you currently offer that your customers may not be aware of? What else could you add to your product or service that would change the perception of the value that is provided? Ideas to add value and expand your customer service level may include training or workshops, advising and consulting, or standing behind your product or service with a guarantee.

  2. ¬† Testimonials –

    Product and service reviews are often viewed before consumers purchase or select a new brand to support. The average consumer reads four product reviews before making a purchase. Insert positive testimonials on your website to leverage the feedback. Implement the process of soliciting feedback from your customers as a regular practice. Showcasing positive testimonials will bring on new customers. When a review is not favorable, managers should respond professionally to the review, showing prospects that online reputation in addition to customer service is important to your brand.

  3. Communication

    Expectations can be understood and met when we are intentional about our communication. Brands that choose to communicate frequently and effectively experience increased customer retention. They are likely to be at the forefront of prospects’ minds, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Effective communication allows both parties to understand expectations and improves customer satisfaction. Customers that feel connected with a brand tend to be loyal. Understand preferred communication methods by soliciting feedback from your customers before execution. Different generations have different preferences, which may include mail or text messaging.

  4. Online Sales

    Mom and pop shops, in most cases, cannot afford not to offer their products online. This opens them up to a larger customer base. This can include even actively accepting text messages or social media messages to schedule appointments and more. Many are scheduling doctor appointments online. Business owners must be prepared to sell in manners that appeal to different customer types to remain competitive. Having an online store and enhanced presence will allow small businesses to compete with big techs, such as Amazon.

  5. Engagement

    Hold an event! Being a local mom and pop means one has the unique capability to connect with your customers and build a relationship. In-person events and online webinars are great ways to engage with customers. Mom and pop shops have the opportunity to offer customized unique experiences that will allow their brand to connect with customers and become memorable.

  6. Service

    Be willing to serve your customers in different ways that your customers may prefer and conveniently. This may include online ordering or reservations. As a result of the pandemic, delivery and curbside pick-up is trending for businesses that sell goods from a location. Customers taking advantage of these services may expect this level of service after the pandemic. Brainstorm with employees to come up with creative ways to service customers. The devil is in the details. Consider communicating via text message to confirm appointments or the status of an order.

  7. Personalization

    Loyalty and referral incentives are a great way to reward existing customers. When addressing customers, do so by name, if possible. Ask your printer or marketing agency if they can customize your greeting on emails and postcards to add that personal touch. Develop your own niche! Small businesses can get creative and really show their stuff off!

  8. Security

    Mom and pops typically do not have a loss management department like large businesses do. Small businesses must understand good loss prevention strategies. Networking with other business owners and trading tips can be helpful. We’ve all seen stories involving a trusted employee stealing thousands of dollars from a local business. No business owner wants to think that this could ever happen to them. Preventing losses could yield tremendous savings. Part of a loss prevention strategy includes measures to secure possessions from intruders. Other areas of security that are important parts of a loss prevention strategy include data integrity and shoplifting. Having checks and balances in place will allow your small business to be competitive with larger organizations.

  9. Expand your location

    Does your business collect customer data? Is there an area where your physical presence could lead to more foot traffic? Businesses that are not ready to purchase or lease another location may want to explore other options that could lead to business expansion. Do you offer a service, but you have prospective customers that do not want to travel to your existing location? Could you maybe trade office space with a power partner to reach more customers? Is there a shop that may allow you to offer a small amount of space for your goods with little overhead?

As mom and pops pull together to support each other, it will be important to collaborate and inspire one another.

Much small local business survived the big tech apocalypse. We will recover from the pandemic and prosper! We will do this by working together, inspiring one another, and utilizing the creativity that makes us special and unique!