How to make more money than a big box store (% wise that is)

If you fear the big box stores moving in, then you are going to want to read this.

Most of you, as I did, feared the big box stores coming to town.  I even tried competing with them.  In fact they opened at the same time I launched a new rifle line.  Even though I had spent the better part of a year researching, pricing, sourcing parts, field testing and conducting market testing I decided to change one rifle three weeks before the launch to compete with the big box store.

As I decided how many of each model to build for launch day, I chose to put most of our resources into the entry level gun.  This was also the lowest margin and cheapest one on the shelf.  Since I was hearing so much about this new big box store and their large cheap inventory I completely ignored the message my customers were sending me.  If I had stopped to listen I would have heard their true message.  Every one of them also told me how little their staff knew, how bad their customer service is and how they could find the price they wanted but not the value.

Ignoring the message my customers were giving me.  I went into full production and I re-allocated parts and man power so that we would have the largest number of budget guns and the least amount of our high end guns.  I remember the release day well. I set tight time lines for my smiths and even though they were there late they came through. Marketing had gone out and attracted enough people that we were going to do well with the opening release. To me when I walked in the shop and saw all the rifles in the racks it was a great day that we were proud of.  After all we had done our homework and market research and knew that everyone was looking for a cheap AR.  Well they are, they are looking for a very cheap AR that may or may not work and they do not care who makes it.  Price is the only thing that mattered and we were $50 over average and $100 over the cheapest one around.

Three days after the launch I was out of all the high end guns that ranged from $1,350 to $2,000.  Every customer through the door asked for the high end, high value guns very few people even gave the budget line a second glance.  I honestly could not rebuild guns fast enough to keep up with the demand for the high value stuff.  The people kept coming in ignoring the cheap ones on the shelf and begging for the high value guns.  After about two months I had to disassemble and reallocate common parts to build the guns that were in demand.  Unfortunately parts for the higher value guns are harder to come by and take more time to receive.  This valuable lesson showed me just how important value and perceived value is to a customer.

This valuable lesson that I am sharing with you came to me with a great price.  I am sharing this with you so that you can take a look at your own products and make sure you are giving them the value your customers do.  Your customers know you and have come to expect a level of perceived value from you and your store.  You have set that standard by the way you treat them when they come in the door, by the looks of your store from the outside, cleanliness inside and how your staff looks and talks.  If you expect to receive a premium price for your goods you have to ask for it with your nonverbal clues.   Ask yourself when you step in the “front” door of your shop; would I pay more here than down the street?  This is why the big box store that came to town had no effect on our sales.  You do not have to fear them either, just offer the value they don’t.

Do you want to know how to sell your products for more and sell more of them?  I am out of time today but I will share this with your shortly.  Be sure to Whitelist our email address and update your information at the bottom of this email so you do not miss out on any valuable information.  Check your inbox during the third week of the month for our dealers exclusive newsletter.