How to Compete with the Big Box Stores
Unless you’re in a remote rural area, then your dealership is probably competing with a big box store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. The stores are everywhere and many dealers are wondering, especially in this recession, how they can compete with these discounting giants and still stay in business.
Well, the bad news is that you probably can’t compete with the big box stores, at least on price. They simply buy too much compared to smaller dealerships.
The good news is that you can leverage their traffic to get more sales.
Well, one way is to change your hours. Many dealerships close at noon on Saturdays and might close entirely on Sundays. But, many customers go out shopping late on Saturdays and on Sundays because that’s the only free time they have to go. So can you blame them for buying from a big box store? After all, you were closed.
So, make sure you’re open to receiving your customers when they’re ready to buy.
It’s also important to realize that, due to so much uncertainty with jobs and the economy, many people are feeling very skittish. They’re seeking the comfort of trusted relationships far more than they have in the past, which could be a real opportunity for dealers. That level of trust of familiarity simply isn’t there in the big box stores, which feature new faces almost every week.
Your dealership can offer your customers a stable, trusted environment, familiar faces, and a sense of community. But, you need to be open in order to support those relationships.
This is a theme you need to be using in your marketing as well. Your store is full of trusted experts that will take care of its customers. Home Depot can’t really say the same, not when their power equipment guy also works in plumbing and in the lumber department!
This is definitely an opportunity you, as a dealer, should be embracing right now.
Another smart way to compete is to use a portion of your marketing dollars to buy a billboard on the main route most people use to get to the big box store. This could be on the highway right before the exit, or on the main road, the big box store is on. Again, it’s important that your billboard is on the route towards the store (not leaving the store!).
Doing this means that your target customer sees your billboard as they’re on their way to Home Depot or Lowe’s. And by reminding them that you’re a trusted part of the community, and only a mile further up the road, you’re hitting them right when they need you the most.
If you have reliable outdoor power equipment management software, then you can keep track of how effective this billboard is for your business.
Remember, don’t expect to see results from your marketing overnight. Marketing has always been a process, not a quick fix! There are always opportunities to capture some of the traffic from big box stores, especially if you’re right up the road.