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Playing With the Big Boys ­­ How to compete with chain stores

Ashley opened a posh, little gift shop and decided that the bestway to ... was a 15 second spot on one of the ... ... Her ... ... that people ... by for th

Ashley opened a posh, little gift shop and decided that the best
way to advertise was a 15 second spot on one of the local
television stations. Her commercial emphasized that people should
stop by for the grand opening. When her shop first opened,
it was visited by a steady stream of customers, many who came by
because they had seen the commercial.

After her shop had been open for several weeks, business began to
taper off. Ashley visited several of the larger, chain gift shops
in town and found that business was booming.

Ashley couldn't figure out what the problem was. She felt that
her products were unique and stylish. She thought customers would
be intrigued by a shopping experience that was more personal than
that in stores like Pier 1 Imports and Pottery Barn.

In her advertising, Ashley emphasized that people should come by
for the grand opening, but she figured the shop would sell itself.
She didn't understand that people might fail to see the benefits of
shopping in her store if those benefits weren’t pointed out to them.

Here are some advertising techniques small businesses can utilize
to compete with chains:

* Emphasize the uniqueness of the product. People are often
attracted to the idea of getting something unique from a smaller,
independently owned business, but are used to the larger selection
a chain store can offer. Ashley could have featured the originality
of her stock as compared to the universal stock a chain store offers.

* Shoppers often create a comfort zone of buying from stores that
have everything. They know what they are going to find there, and
that means they don’t have to take the time to search. However,
many people shop because they enjoy it. Always knowing what you
are going to find can be boring. Ashley's store offers mystery.
People won’t receive a catalogue that shows everything they would
see if they went to the store.

* Although Ashley's store is not at the same economic level as the
larger chain storesArticle Search, she should make her business as recognizable
as possible.

One way to do that is hire a designer to create a logo that
represents your business. Many companies spend millions of
dollars making their logo familiar to the public. One could also
include a jingle or an original piece of music in commercial spots;
something a viewer can become familiar with.

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Alvin Apple helps everyday people start businesses they will
enjoy. Then he teaches them how to succeed. Read all his
helpful strategies, including his latest article, "How to write
the perfect classified ad" at Reach Alvin
at 801-328-9006 or

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