How the smallmarts compete

How the smallmarts compete

By John Jantsch

stuffMany an industry has been rocked or merely put away by the big box stores. Some of the businesses that go by the wayside when a large competitor moves to town really had no business hanging around anyway. As soon as a choice of any kind came around, they were doomed.

But what about the small businesses, mostly retailers, that seem to thrive in the shadow of deeply discounted goods. What do they have in common, what do they do that works?

I will tell you that it’s pretty simple to recognize, not so simple to pull off, but you know a successful smallmart when you see one.

There are three such stores in the neighborhood where I live in Kansas City. They each sell pretty attainable stuff such as children’s books, candles, gifts and accessories. All things that stores like Wal-Mart and Target carry. I mean, really, can you imagine a small store that sells nothing but relatively inexpensive candles surviving? What about kids books, Newberry Award winners are sold by Amazon below cost.

So what’s the secret? (Above and beyond great products)

Here are the characteristics that I believe make a small store work and are a must if you want to survive, let alone thrive.

  • The owners are very outgoing networkers – they like people and they are connected to things and the community – they blog!
  • They exude authenticity – you go to each knowing that they have found what you are looking for and they know what it is – they are in it for the long haul
  • Their stores are about the experience – events, parties, tastings, Diva days, advice, classes and wine are all served routinely – you go to the destination and you buy something accidentally.

Bottom line – they don’t compete on price, they can’t, they compete on something much less tangible – emotion.

Have a look and learn:

Think local and tell me about your local smallmart!


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