The chains are now imitating the independents – what can indies do?
Last week it was revealed that Waterstones had opened 3 stores under different names, a move that their chief exec’ explained was because they wanted the new stores to have “…a more independent feel…”. After Tesco’s “fictional farms ” last year where does all this imitation leave the real independent businesses?
Independent businesses still offer something better and unrivalled by the big brands BUT how can they stand apart when big brands are copying them so voraciously?
Personal connection with customers
Regardless of how much the big brands can build relationships using social media, it’s nothing like connecting with an indie. With big brands consumers are aware they are talking to a member of a large team, who is doing a job rather than fulfilling a vocation. Connecting with an indie is much different. You can differentiate by making customers feel closer and more important – because they are.
Truly bespoke & personalisation
As an indie you can offer a level of personalisation only rivalled by the very high-end luxury brands. Even if bespoke is not your main offering, it’s likely you have the flexibility and decision-making ability to tailor your products and services much more than the high-street.
You; You; You…and your gang!
When you really boil it down the only thing original is you and the people who work with you. This is a point of difference no one can deny. So you can make it work for you. Make you and your team known to your customers. Share your story, your origins and your vision to bring people on board in a way that the chains can’t.
Simple ways to do this on your website
- Great photos and videos of your team on your website.
- Regular individual blogs and vlogs from team members.
- Direct contact information for individuals such as their work mobile numbers and direct email not just generic sales@ or info@ email addresses.
- Options to sign-up for updates, to keep your fans in the loop.
- Promotion of any bespoke or personalised offering with enjoyable and engaging ways of them telling you their wants & needs to avoid laborious form filling.
- Candid video showing your backstory as well as how you work now.
- Client VIP areas where you can offer exclusive content or offers, you could go further and send individual customers personalised tips or messages, just for them.
- Individual stories, case studies or similar that not only showcase examples of what you do but show your personal connections and your attention to detail.
Have a look at the closest high street, mass market, national or global company to you. A company who sells a similar product, or the household version of what you do differently. The biggest name in your industry. And see what they are doing right now to make their name. Then think about EXACTLY HOW you are different and better. This will give you heaps of ideas of how you can differentiate yourself more clearly.