As a small business it might feel overwhelming trying to find ways to compete with larger corporations. After all, small businesses have a harder time competing with fundamentals such as price, since they don't yet have the same market share or buying power that larger businesses do.
However, this doesn't mean there aren't any areas where small businesses could put up a fight – and in some cases smaller size can actually grant a better chance for succeeding.
We have identified four areas that we consider the most important and advantageous for small businesses in particular:
- customer experience
- omnichannel consistency
- value-based brand strategy
- personalised experinces
Fancy taking a closer look at each of these? Let's go.
Customer experience is key
If you think about reasons why someone decides to buy a certain product from a certain company, what comes to mind? Price, speed, convenience, and quality? Absolutely. Friendly service and helpful staff? Without any doubt.
Indeed, it has been shown that one of the most important factors guiding a purchase decision is the customer experience. A study from PwC found that people are more loyal to brands that provide exceptional value – and do that consistently.
This doesn't only mean being met by friendly salespeople but minimizing friction in any scenarios possible, and in every point of the customer journey. Is it easy to find information about your business and products as a consumer looking for solutions to their problem? Is the purchase process simple once the decision to buy has been made? And what about after the purchase? If your customer is facing any issues, like needing to return or exchange an item, can you continue providing a painless and uncomplicated experience?
After all, an exceptional customer experience is more likely to keep the customer coming back.
Tip nr 1: Digitise previously manual processes like receipts to create even better customer experience.
The future asks for omnichannel consistency
Now, let's take a moment to think about the customer visiting your restaurant or brick-and-mortar store, navigating to your website or interacting with one of your social media pages. Are they met the same way?
As people's shopping habits are changing, and shopping and ordering food happens increasingly online, businesses must find new ways to meet the needs of today's consumers and ensure there is a cohesion between a brand's online and offline experiences – in other words, businesses need to be omnichannel.
Even though omnichannel as a word may sound foreign and a bit pompous, the fundamental idea is simple: Making sure customers are met with the same standards no matter the channel. For example, if you want your business to appear warm and friendly, make sure your employees know how to personify that. Otherwise you quickly seem untrustworthy and pretentious, which will hurt your brand's reputation.
Tip nr 2: Digital solutions help connect online and offline activities and create closed-loop journeys, for example by allowing to re-engage customers after a purchase at an offline store or restaurant has been made.
Value-based brand strategy attracts modern customers
One of the best ways a small business can compete with larger corporations is to target customers who share the same values as the brand. A study by Kantar supports the argument, as they found out that in 2019, value-driven brands grew more than twice as much compared to their competitors.
For small businesses, identifying as one is one of the best practices when it comes to branding. Many want to support small and local businesses, so why shouldn't you aim to gain your reputation as one?
Tip nr 3: Take a moment to revisit your brand's values. Make sure to also check that these values are executed every step of the way, and through all your channels – again to ensure appearing consistent and trustworthy. For more tips, visit our previous blog about value-based shopping and how to find business opportunities in it.
Provide personalised experiences
The ultimate way to stand out from competitors? Provide personalised experiences.
Customers want to feel special, and personalising experiences is a great way to do so. Better product recommendations and personalised offers can delight customers in new ways, generating loyalty and increasing overall spend.
Personalisation means tailoring customer journeys based on what you already know about your customers. This is commonly done by tracking previous customer purchasing behaviour, patterns, and frequency of visits. It may sound complicated and costly, but by developing digital processes and tools, the process can be pretty much automated.
Tip nr 4: Solutions like ClowID allow you to send in-app customised push-up notifications to customers based on their previous interaction with your business.