Is coming into a market, undercutting competitors w/ big pockets long enough to muscle them out a common practice? How do they undercut your price? Volume? Special Arrangements? Big Budget?
Do you have any value added ideas to improve the customer experience to make your store preferred and customers less price sensitive? Are any of these value added services difficult to maintain because of their complexity?
As always, this was eye opening. Of all the responses I would have expected... finding new competition popping up (embarrassingly) wasn't top of my list.
In general... what percent of your customers are new vs. existing? Do you focus more on new customer acquisition or cultivating current customers? Or perhaps a hybrid? What types of challenges do you face when trying to serve these two groups?
Thanks again all. You're making my Monday much more livable. :-)
often, stupidity - eg. they haven't worked out their true costs properly so are actually selling at a loss (although they probably don't realise it)
Yeah, I would say stupidity and/or insanity is more likely than actual skill. I see people selling some of the same retail products I sell for barely over cost. I honestly can't understand what on earth would make a person go through all this everyday, just to break even. I have a weird guy that bought stuff from me for years and use to ask all these questions. I finally realized why when he started trying to sell the same stuff. Problem is, he doesn't make it himself... Somebody else does. And I know what they charge, so by the time he goes through everything, he's barely making anything at all. So for him to maybe make an extra grand a year, he's taking sales from me that would make 10 times that. All for what? So he can say he sells something? That's about all he's getting out of it. And on top of that, he's gone out of his way to talk trash about me, even though he bought stuff from me before and liked it. If he dropped off the planet tomorrow, I wouldn't exactly be upset about it.
Mostly it's John/Jane working out of their basement selling exactly at 5% above cost or less and drop shipping everything. If people want to sell it real low let them, they are only killing themselves and the niche they are in by doing so. When you get so much business that you can't handle it your service goes to S@#$ and the word spreads fast. Soon they will find themselves in a predicament and will need additional help and BAM they will have overhead expenses and suddenly their price has to go up or they die!
I consider if people want to undercut me on price, let them go ahead. I don't want cheapskate customers, and they can find out just how little money they can make doing that.
My biggest problem is me and my own inefficiency. I have been doing this for over ten years and am only now working out systems that make producing products and getting out orders more efficient. I think it took me seven years before I put my stock in alphabetical order, for instance.
I didnt realize everyone would have the same concern as me. :)
We have two different types of competitors. One are B&M stores who got the bright idea to throw together a website and sell there. Those I dont worry too much about, they come and go quickly. The others are heavily funded looking to grab the niche at all cost. I know they are going in the hole, I also know they can afford to do so for a long time. Fortunately for me I too can wait it out so sooner or later they will be raising prices and pissing off customers.
I guess my second biggest concern is staying on top of all new marketing angles. Google adwords changes so frequently, there is retargeting, shop engines, other specific marketing to my niche. Its a constant fulltime job staying on that alone.
In my industry it's the big players undercutting everyone else on price and keeping them out of the market. It's hard to even make a buck on some items. I did the free shipping thing, but then learned that I was losing a lot of money with that and dialed it back.
The second is advertising on niche sites etc... again you have the big boys playing in that space and they get exclusivity crowding out the market. Some sites will let you advertise, but I'm finding the the conversions rather low.