Ashley opened a posh, little gift shop and decided that best way to advertise was a 15 second spot on one of local television stations. Her commercial emphasized that people should stop by for grand opening. When her shop first opened, it was visited by a steady stream of customers, many who came by because they had seen commercial.
After her shop had been open for several weeks, business began to taper off. Ashley visited several of larger, chain gift shops in town and found that business was booming.
Ashley couldn't figure out what problem was. She felt that her products were unique and stylish. She thought customers would be intrigued by a shopping experience that was more personal than that in stores like Pier 1 Imports and Pottery Barn.
In her advertising, Ashley emphasized that people should come by for grand opening, but she figured shop would sell itself. She didn't understand that people might fail to see benefits of shopping in her store if those benefits weren’t pointed out to them.
Here are some advertising techniques small businesses can utilize to compete with chains:
* Emphasize uniqueness of product. People are often attracted to idea of getting something unique from a smaller, independently owned business, but are used to larger selection a chain store can offer. Ashley could have featured originality of her stock as compared to universal stock a chain store offers.