What’s this? Two gift basket businesses across the street from each other?
That’s what I found and asked myself about 10 years ago while traveling by car on a popular street in Montclair, New Jersey.
The sight of both stores inspired lots of questions.
- Why did the second store open so close to the competition?
- What did the owner of the first store think when the second one opened?
- How does each owner differentiate herself to draw people into her store?
I had to find out, and I did so by interviewing each owner for an article published in By Design, a former gift basket magazine.
The owners, both women, seemed to not mind the proximity between their businesses.
One owner operated a dedicated gift store. She formerly worked in a corporate setting, and when she opened her business, her marketing was primarly to those corporate contacts.
She specialized in baby and pre-school gifts and toys and designed a line of gift baskets that grew from that specialization.
The other owner sold two types of merchandise in her store – furniture and gift baskets. Seems like an odd combination, right? It worked for her.
Customers who entered this store purchased furniture for their homes and often needed gift baskets to welcome new residents as well as other gift-giving needs.
You realize, from this description, that each owner targeted different types of buyers. That made each business unique.
Eyes wide open
When you find a competitor in your area, it’s your mission to learn everything about them.
- What types of gift baskets do they make?
- Who are they going after for sales?
- How will you keep customers coming to you?
It’s important to protect your territory no matter how different the competition seems to be and who it serves.
My clients and I focus on their true competitors (we talk about who they are versus who they are not) and also prepare for seasonal competitors that come to town during holidays.
Competitive problems affect your bottom line, making a difference between getting a $10,000 sale and a $100,000 sale. That’s a huge incentive to watch your back.
What would you do if another gift basket maker set up camp across the street from your location?