How small businesses can compete with big brands

April 2, 2024

As a small business, it can be a challenge to compete with all the big brands. In many ways, they have the advantage when it comes to convenience, familiarity, and pricing. They have the resources to make more convenient and affordable experiences for their customers. 

Customers might choose to go for a large business because it’s already familiar to them, it’s the most convenient option, or perhaps because their pricing is more affordable.

So how can small businesses compete with big brands like this?

How small businesses can compete with big brands is by standing out.

As a small business, you do have some advantages over the more prominent brands. You just have to focus on the valuable services you can offer your customers and run with it, and you’ll find your small business will thrive even amongst the big brands threatening to overshadow you. 

It’s important to remember that all the large businesses that rule the market started somewhere. They all started as small businesses just like yours. With the right business plan, your small business could grow into a sizeable and recognizable brand.

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How small businesses can compete with big brands:

Focus on personalized customer service 

Often, customer service is where big companies are lacking. Large companies typically rely on automated services, and with the sheer volume of staff and customers, their customer service is usually spread pretty thin. 

A small business like yours can excel by providing more personalized services and making a real connection with your customers. 85% of buyers are willing to pay more for better customer service. If they feel like your staff remember them and genuinely want to help them, they will be far more likely to return. 

Plus, happy customers are far more likely to refer you to their friends and family. Word of mouth referrals like this is far more valuable than spending your budget on ads. 

If your small business uses a POS, you can give better, personalized customer service by utilizing customer profiles on your POS. Customer profiles help you keep track of your customers, their purchase history, as well as any notes you and your staff want to take about their preferences or any other helpful information. +

how small businesses can compete with big brands
Small retail business Johnny Ruth showcasing their products in an experiential display. Source: Johnny Ruth’s Instagram

Offer a unique experience or expert advice

One of the advantages of having a small business is that you can be more flexible and innovative. Use this to your advantage, and create a memorable experience for your customers. 

Make a shopping experience more authentic and helpful by offering genuine expert advice. No matter what service or product you’re selling, having a staff knowledgeable about what you’re selling, and can give valuable tips and information to your customers, will be essential.

Likewise, finding a way to make the in-store experience unexpected, fun, or unique will get people talking. Let your customers be more hands-on with your products or display your products in an exciting, experiential way.

Create a social media presence

According to Oberlo, 54% of social media browsers use social media to research products, and that number is continuously increasing. 

Having a social media presence helps build brand awareness and trust with your customers.  Daily updates will help promote your business to the right people and will enhance your brand image. It’s a free tool that no company should be skipping. 

Beyond informing, education and entertaining your target market, social media is also ideal for strengthening your connection with customers. 
“Small businesses which take the effort to engage with their customers on social media, will build strong followings and deep connections – essential for taking their business to the next level,” says Donald Chan, founder of IMPACT, a Singapore-based social media agency.

Social media is an excellent tool for enhancing your connection with your customers. Social media is interactive, so you and your customers (or potential customers) can like or comment on each other’s content or private message each other if they have any questions about your business or your products and services. It’s an excellent, free way to build lasting relationships with your customers. 

Organize events

Slipping a photo booth rental into the mix at your brand’s event can be a total game changer for a small business looking to make some noise. It’s like this hidden gem that not only gets people buzzing at the event but also all over social media afterward. People love sharing those fun, quirky photos, and each share is like a high-five for your brand’s visibility. Plus, it’s budget-friendly, which is always a win, right? It adds this whole layer of vibe and authenticity to the gathering, giving people something tangible to remember the day by. So, yeah, rolling out a photo booth can seriously dial up your brand’s cool factor, making sure it’s not just another face in the crowd.

Find your niche

While larger companies and corporations tend to focus on reaching a broader more generalized market, smaller businesses should narrow down their scope to service a niche market. This way, your targets will be specific and compelling, and you’ll be able to service a particular group to the best of your ability instead of trying to please a broader range of customers. 

Once you have built a name for yourself, you can start expanding your target market.

Recruit talented employees

If you want to deliver top-notch customer service, you need to hire reliable and knowledgeable employees who will give the best customer service. Your staff are the face of your company, and they will be the ones interacting with your customers and making the most sales. 

That’s why you should invest some time and effort into finding competent and responsible employees to represent your business. Equally as important, take the time to train them extensively to ensure they have the proper knowledge your customers need to know. 

Take your store online

No matter the size of your business, having an online store is essential. Ecommerce is slowly taking over, making up 22% of global retail sales.

Customers will often browse online stores before coming into the physical store. Having an online store guarantees that your customers will be able to shop with you around the clock, instead of limiting it to just your store hours. If customers are searching for a specific product or service, many will research online first, and do some comparison shopping for committing to establish your online presence, the first step is securing a memorable domain name that reflects your brand identity. A unique domain name not only helps customers find your online store easily but also contributes to building a strong online brand image.Having an online store lets your customers research your products and services before purchasing. 

To some small businesses, starting an online store might seem like a daunting process, especially if you have a limited budget or don’t have the tech skills to create an online store yourself. 

WooCommerce is a popular choice for many small businesses because of its low cost and customizability. However, some will opt for other options like Squarepace or Shopify because they offer pre-built templates for most of your eCommerce store, so most of the work is done for you. However, these platforms can be costly and also give you very little control over your website. 

The main deterrent from WooCommerce is that for business owners who aren’t tech-savvy, WooCommerce can be overwhelming. With services like PressHero, which offer WordPress and WooCommerce services for an affordable cost, small business owners can take control of their online store without worrying about the tech side of things. PressHero’s dedicated support team helps you build your WooCommerce site and does all the maintenance to ensure your site is up and running smoothly.

To keep your online store in sync with your in-store sales, Oliver POS for WooCommerce keeps your inventory and store data synced in real-time. Just install Oliver into your online store, and all of your store information will automatically sync and stay synced. 

PressHero and Oliver POS have teamed up to make running an omnichannel WooCommerce store as straightforward as possible. Learn more here.

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