Have you ever heard a retailer saying “I want to be the next Zara” or H&M, or Amazon?
I heard it, many times. I like people with big ambitions, but it’s easier to win the lottery than being one of the biggest retailers on earth.
In reality, many big retailers don’t have a successful store.
Find a niche
So, first lesson. You have to find a niche market.
“I want to be the next hit for teen shoes”
“the best 40-50 years old women’s fashion store in my town”
This last one is what I call an ambitious but realistic goal.
OK, now that you have a realistic goal. How are you going to do it?
If there’s no fashion store in your town, for women in their 40’s-50’s, then you just have to open the store. And there you go – “You’ve got the best store”. If not, you have only two simple (but not easy) strategies.
1 – Be better.
Study hard your competition, talk to people in town. In this example, talk to women in their 40’s-50’s. See what they want. Also see what your competition is doing wrong and then … make it better.
- If people think their prices are high, have lower prices.
- If their service sucks, hire good salespeople.
- If the store design is outdated, design a fancy store.
- and on, and on.
2 – Be different
In this strategy, you don’t try to do better than your competition.
Study your competition, and then… do the opposite.
- If all the other storefronts are white, paint yours in pink.
- Be the more expensive store in town.
- You’re trying to sell to people in their 40’s-50’s. And they expect a classic store design. What you do? You design a store for younger people. Maybe they prefer to shop in an environment that makes them remember their youth.
- And many others, you just have to be imaginative.
Which one of these strategies is a better strategy for a successful store?
Both are viable. Being better is less risky, but it will take more time to achieve success. Being different is riskier but if you succeed, it will be almost immediate.
Personally, I prefer the “different” approach.