Article

How can small business compete with big chains?

In tough economic times, small businesses can struggle. Big multinational chains often have the scale to undercut local competitors and survive even when times get tough.

How can your small business retain and attract customers in a competitive market?

Identify your business’s advantages

Think about what your business can offer that a multinational operator cannot. For example, you might have the edge on:

  • Local knowledge
  • Close relationships with customers
  • Personalised service
  • Bespoke products and services
  • Immediate availability of products
  • An excellent loyalty scheme
  • Community support and local events

If you’re not sure what your big selling points are, ask your customers.

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Show off your business’s advantages online

Leverage your business’s selling points by telling customers about them on your website, social media, and email channels. Step up your social media activity, paying particular attention to sites where local people are active. Invest in great photography to ensure you stand out.

Invest in reviews

Can you find a way to nudge your best customers into providing online feedback? Positive reviews are a vital tool for small businesses to grow their customer base. Make it easy for people to leave reviews – send them an email reminder with a link included, or use review software to automate the process. Address negative reviews immediately and professionally.

Appeal to ethical customers

Many shoppers are happy to pay more for sustainable, ethical products and services. Have measurable sustainability credentials and show them off whenever you can.

Be boutique

Lean into being small and local. Customers are willing to pay more for businesses that employ great people, provide quality service and a great experience.

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