How Can a Small Company Differentiate Itself in a Crowded Industry?
In any industry dominated by big brand names and well known players an independent company needs a unique selling point. Only in this way can they differentiate themselves from their larger competitors. It’s not enough just to compete on price. That’s because pricing is a risky long-term business strategy that is difficult for smaller companies to win.
Consumers Have Lots of Choices
In many industries, especially with the growth of online retailers, consumers can be spoiled by too many choices. For instance, they can choose from the well known nationwide brands with prominent brick-and-mortar locations. Or they can buy from small online retailers through marketplaces such as Amazon. And they have the choice of just about every other option in between.
But all this choice doesn’t necessarily make it easier for the consumer to make the right decision. Sometimes having too many options can make their decisions harder. People who feel overwhelmed with choices tend to go with brands they trust. Or they simply choose with their wallets and buy cheap through Amazon and the like.
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Where Does This Leave Your Business?
So where does that leave the established, small- to medium-sized companies who have yet to make a big name for themselves?
Many smaller, independent companies have had to find ways to compete. Their rivals are either larger and better known or they are small companies who don’t have the overheads of premises and other business expenses.
One such independent company, the self-storage provider Storing.com, has been able to thrive. They do this by bucking the trend of confusing and often misleading discounts commonplace in their industry. Instead, they offer clear, fixed prices all the time. This is a rarity in the self-storage industry where most pricing models are based on high introductory discounts. The downside of these discounts for the consumer is the freedom on the part of the providers to increase prices with little notice.
Catering to Customers’ Demands
Storing.com conducted their own research to find out what consumers didn’t like about their larger rivals. They wanted to learn what was missing from their competitors’ services. What became clear was that self-storage customers wanted a pricing model that was easy to understand. They didn’t like unexpected price hikes. They also wanted extras, such as collection and delivery services. Such services would make it easier for them to get their possessions to their storage unit and retrieve them at the end of the storage period.
There are thousands of self-storage providers across the country. As a matter of fact, there has been massive expansion of the industry since Storing.com first started. Much of this is due to the increasing availability and falling cost of warehouse space.
How You, Too, Can Differentiate Yourself
This level of growth has meant that smaller independent self-storage providers have been forced to find ways to differentiate their companies from their larger rivals. However, the advantage that smaller, independent companies have is that they can adapt easily to a changing market.
This is true of smaller companies in any industry sector. Smaller companies can be flexible enough to introduce services that are lacking in their larger competitors. Plus, they have lower overheads. These advantages enable them to be competitive on pricing without underpricing their services.
Cost is obviously a factor for all consumers. However, in this digital age many people make buying choices through social media recommendations and by reading online reviews. This is where small companies can really compete. Online marketing can help smaller companies to gain a proportionately larger share of a crowded market than might otherwise be expected.
Storing.com has more than doubled their customer base in the past year. They do this by focusing on clear pricing that is a good value and fixed for 5 years. In addition, they provide services such as free collection and delivery with their own vehicles.
Focusing on the Long Term
In the case of Storing.com, they have a sister logistics business. This means they have vehicles that deliver goods daily to large retail outlets. However, these vehicles were returning empty to their warehouse facilities.
With a creative stroke of business genius, they developed a business model that satisfied customers’ desires for collection and delivery services. They do this by using the vehicles’ return journey, when they would otherwise be empty, to transport self-storage customers’ possessions to their facilities.
This strategy is more cost-effective and hassle-free for customers than hiring a van or using their own vehicle. Professional two-person teams accompany each vehicle, giving customers peace of mind. They know their possessions are in safe hands on the journey to or from the self-storage facility.
This unique selling point focuses on providing services that are missing from their rivals’ offerings. At the same time, it also provides good value at a fixed price. This means that Storing.com can offer self-storage services that even its largest rivals cannot.
This business model has contributed to its growing success. And it’s a long-term strategy that that they can sustain because of their working partnership with their sister logistics company.