(ROCKWALL – September 22, 2013) Good news: Rockwall and Rowlett have growing economies.
In Rockwall, the Trend Tower is going up swiftly. Retail centers and restaurants are popping up. Big stores with big names seem to be appearing on every corner. New banks are opening, and local ones are growing. In Rowlett, there’s a four-story office building that’s been recently completed. The intersection of Highway 66 and the George Bush Turnpike had its retail storefronts filled almost as soon as the parking lots were paved. There are acres and acres of land along the Bush Turnpike that will be developed in the next 5 years.
Good news, right?
I subscribe to the idea that economic growth is good for everyone. More jobs in the area mean more people eating in restaurants, buying clothes, getting their cars fixed, etc. On the other hand, national business isn’t always great for local business.
Downtown areas see less foot traffic. Local restaurants lose their occasional and less loyal customers to the franchise restaurant that everyone is so excited finally came to our town. Local retailers now have competition from chains that can afford to have sales and everyday prices that they can’t match. Maybe it’s not all bad news, but it’s not all good, either.
Here’s my list of to-do’s and to-don’t’s when it comes to competing with the new business down the street that can outmatch you in branding, prices, and inventory.
- DON’T try to compete on price. You’ll lose. And even if you win, you lose.
- DON’T try to match them item for item, menu for menu, sale for sale.
- DON’T try to be them. You’ll lose sight of what made your customers loyal to you in the first place.
- DO have fun in your marketing, either by poking fun at yourself for not being one of the big boys, or by having a little fun at their expense. Make your customers laugh a bit.
- DO become a resource for your customers and prospects. One thing you can do they can’t is educate a customer by building a relationship.
- DO make sure your loyalty program is up running strong. Stay in touch with your customers. If you know a big store is coming in that will compete for your customer base, build a ladder of loyalty that will give customers increasing benefits the more they buy from you.
- DO mystery shop your new big box competitor. Find the holes in their customer service. Do best what they miss.
More relationships and deeper trust because the big guy moved in down the street? Sounds like good news to me.