What’s Your Differentiation?

There comes a point when the only difference between what products your store has and what products your competition has is whose store they are in. In this day and age of the fishing tackle industry, profit margins have grown thin enough. Try to cut prices any further and you will lose more than a sale – you could lose next month’s rent.

So how do you outsell your competition when both of you are carrying identical products for roughly the same price? This is one of small business owners’ biggest issues.

If you sit down in a room with ten small business owners from various industries and ask them what separates them from their competition, at least eight of them will reply their customer service. Shop at a few of their stores and you will realize that the customer service they think they are offering isn’t good enough to separate them from their competition. Is your customer service what you hang your hat on?

In business there is a term called Unique Selling Point or USP. Everything has a USP – sometimes you need to look deeper for some products’ or businesses’ USP but eventually you will find it. The Unique Selling Point for your business should be the difference-maker between you and your competition. Hopefully your customers will not have to look too hard to find it.

What is your Unique Selling Point? It could be how long you have been in business and the fact that you’re the most knowledgeable about not only the new products that are coming out each year, but that you also know about past products, are able to compare them and inform customers on why the newer products are better and why they need to upgrade.

Your USP could also be your location; you could have your store closest to the best fishing in the county or state. Or maybe you have one of the best-known local anglers working in your shop and sharing advice. No matter what it is, let people know about it.

If you do not have anything that you currently claim as your own USP, here are three ways you can differentiate your business from your competition.

Define Who You Are
You are your business, and your business should be a direct mirror of you. You put your life into it, and it has become your life for many of you. Define who you are, and what your business is. Find the core beliefs that you stand true to and have them visible in your business. If you believe charity work, or working with youth groups is important in your personal life, then do the same in your store. Define what matters most in your life and your store and become known for that fact. Many people talk the talk; define who you are by walking the walk. People will notice and be attracted to a business that stands behind what they believe in.

Be Innovative
While innovation normally means added expenses to many businesses, find ways to do something your competition is not doing yet. Go to trade shows and small business gatherings and ask other storeowners what they are doing in their stores. If they are not in the fishing tackle industry it is even better. They may be doing something that all of their competition is doing in their industry, but is new to the fishing tackle industry. If you need to tweak it to meet your needs, do so, but showcase to your customers that you are always pushing forward to bring them the best products and service that they can find in a tackle store.

Find Your Weakness
Every business has a weakness; some are more prevalent than others, but eventually your weaknesses will hurt you. One way to differentiate yourself from your competition is to know your weakness and overcome it. Make it your strength and take the advantage away from your competition. If your competition is able to stock twice as many lures than you due to a larger store, this is a weakness for you. Turn the tables and let your customers know that while you have a smaller selection, you stock more lures that work on the local waters and have little need to carry the extra overhead of lures that do not produce locally. By finding your weaknesses and exploiting them for the good of your own store, you will create an instant differentiation over your competition.

Every store has something unique to offer its customers; few take the time to make an inventory of what those unique traits are. These unique factors should be what you take pride in every day you open your store. Each night as you turn off the lights you should smile with pride knowing that you have done these things better than any other tackle store could on this day. Be proud of what you have accomplished – many tackle stores over the years are no longer in business because they failed to capitalize on their unique selling points and never attempted to differentiate themselves from the competition.

What do you take pride in about your fishing tackle store? Share your own USPs or ways you differentiate yourself from the competition on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group. Who knows, you could even pick up a few ideas from a fellow fishing tackle retailer as well.