Peter Guidi's Blog

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

The only sustainable competitive advantage is being better than your competition.

In loyalty, merchants, retailers on August 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Retail is a blood sport, period. Never mind the concept of “friendly competition”; the battle for the consumers’ business is a Win/Lose equation. In the c-store space, platitudes, like “everybody plays, everybody wins” could not be further from the truth. In the c-store business there are winners and losers. Retail sales are a “Zero-Sum” equation; sales that you win are yours and not to be shared with your competition.

The c-store retail environment has changed and continues to evolve. There are changes in consumer purchasing behavior and expectations, product offering and margins, store level technology, software capability and more. Gone are the days when gas sales could drive the bottom line, this is not your father’s “service station”. Today’s focus is the “total customer relationship”. Margin is directly related to the number of consumers who shop with greater frequency making larger purchases from an expanded product line.

 If merchants are to compete for the consumer and capture a larger share of their “spend”, then rewards and incentives will be at the heart of their decision. Consumers are motivated by incentive, but incentives without loyalty are just discounts. Retailers who understand their consumers’ behavior use information strategically to motivate more profitable purchasing behavior. That is the point. 

Like the Gladiators, the goal is to snuff out the competition by dominating your market. Are you feeling the sharp edge of the blade, or wielding the sword?