Marketing expert, George Torok helps businesses gain an unfair marketing advantage over the competition. A bestselling author, he consults with business owners and is available for speaking engagements. Power Marketing is a registered trademark.
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The owner of a woman’s clothing store asked
me, “What can we do to stand out from the competition?” She posed the question
as if she were throwing down a challenge gauntlet.
She added that she had tried to think of
something that would differentiate her store from others but had hit a dead
end. “There’s nothing we can do.”
I looked at her and responded, “Hmm, let me
think a moment.” Perhaps my pause was too long for her because she interjected,
“See I told you, there’s nothing.” She actually looked pleased.
I then said, “Let me think out loud and
play with this. My understanding is that shopping especially for clothes is
different for women than it is for men. Men usually want to get in, buy what
they came for and leave. Women treat shopping as an activity. They want to
enjoy the experience. What could you do to enhance that experience? How about
offering gourmet coffee?”
“Oh no, I can’t do that” she snapped.
“What do you mean you can’t? Perhaps what you
really mean is, you won’t”
We discussed this a bit. Naturally her
concern was about someone spilling coffee on a garment and possibly ruining it
– or at the least creating cleaning charges and discounted merchandise.
Yes, those are real risks. The important
question is, would the coffee service generate enough revenue to more that
cover those associate costs? That would be easy to measure.
I don’t know if coffee was the right answer
for her but it was curious to see how quickly she blocked my first suggestion.
She wasn’t ready for change.
If you want to stand out then you need to
do something that your competition won’t do. If you really want to
differentiate yourself, start listing the common practices or rules of your
industry. Then examine each for ways to break that rule or change the practice.
Weigh the benefits against the risks. If you still can’t decide then flip a
coin. What have you got to lose?
Every change carries a risk. If you want to
change you must be willing to weigh and consider the risks, investment and
Also keep in mind that ignoring change or
refusing to change also carries risks.