How to Compete with Other Smoke Shops - By Alexandra Solis
Smoke Shop Wars
You just opened shop. Your very own smoke shop. But what you weren’t counting on was your nosey neighbor Norman opening his own smoke shop down the street. He tells a few of his friends to stop by the shop. It starts to look busy. What do you do? Do you run down to his shop, stand in front of his door and roar with anger while throwing a brick through his window? No. You compete. You strategize. You win. This is how to beat all the Normans you encounter.
Find Their Weakness
Where does your competitor lack that you can make one of your upper hands? Some places to look for your competitors faults would be:
- Are they nice to customers?
- Do they have the patience for needy customers?
- Do they work as a team?
You can hire employees that will have higher customer satisfaction, thus attracting more people to go to your shop for friendlier service. Also being able to work as a team will create a stronger bond in your shop that will create a more welcoming atmosphere for customers.
- Is Norman’s shop clean and organized?
- Are the products of quality brands?
- What are the prices?
Displaying your products properly and strategically will increase the traffic in your shop. If Norman’s store is too small, too cramped, disorganized, and looking like a mess customers will turn away. They will lose interest in a shop that is not organized because they will be led to believe that the products in store are not valuable enough to be taken care of. Having some quality brands in store like Liquid Sci Glass, Mothership, and Empire Glassworks will entice people to see and more likely buy the product. Including if Norman’s prices are up for a stretch, people would turn away and go to a shop where they can afford more bang for their buck.
- What is Norman doing to popularize his shop?
- Contacting friends and family
You need to have some form of a marketing strategy to be able to surpass your competitors. First observe what Norman is doing to popularize his shop. Different types of discounts can open your chances to attracting different types of customers. As well as having your friends and family spread the word about your shop can be a good start to increasing the flow of traffic to your shop. Also, knowing what the target customers are will give you an advantage over Norman. If Norman is targeting customers who are interested in small pipes then you can create a variety of small pipes to give customers more options. Also, now a days with social media you can have a high advantage on gaining popularity. Posting on instagram, twitter, and facebook will help you gain attention from travelers, people in other locations, and other local customers.
Plan of Attack
Take into careful consideration the information you gathered from the section above. Now you might think the best form of attack would be to go in head on, but no one wins in a head butt. Instead compare and contrast your shop to Norman’s shop. See how you can either side step or be a step ahead of Norman. Find out what makes your shop unique. You should not try to just make your shop better, but rather make it different. Smoke shops now fall in a stereotype of being very run of the mill and tattered down.
Being a small business you have more room to react to certain situations more quickly. When Pokemon Go was the most popular game being played many small businesses were luring in players by using the game. Shop owners would use “lures” which generated more Pokemon in the area. That would, as it’s named, lure people to the location in which it was generated. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of events as they happen. For example when it’s summer have a summer sale. Or let's say that the coming winter will be harsh with a snowstorm. You can easily take advantage of the storm and announce a sale or promotion to snuggle up with your loved ones and buy one of your products that would be perfect by the fireplace.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Now, you’re in a competition against Norman. Norman is just like you in owning a small business and you’re both competing at the same level. But let’s say you gain the upper hand. You’re now beating Norman so you want to take on the largest, most popular smoke shop in town. Not so fast. Larger, more popularly known shops complete on a different field. They have easier access to higher end brands and can price their products at higher values. You on the other hand need to price your products at points where your customers will buy and give you the income you need. Play on your own field. Once you’ve mastered that field, then move on to the next. Questions to consider when approaching popular shops would be:
- What is their marketing strategy?
- What incentives do they create for customers to keep coming back?
- What products do they carry that are in high demand?
Use What You Can
Before, small businesses would have to pay an arm and a leg just to get a simple ad post in the paper. In modern day advertising is free. Its called social media. Creating accounts for instagram, twitter and facebook are free. If you want to advertise your shop on social media platforms prices can vary from as little as $1.
Now, you have a plan. Now you can beat Norman. Going up against other companies can feel like a game of tug of war. You win some, you lose some. But, you must always remember to play the game in your own field. Stay one step ahead while the competitor thinks you’re two steps behind.
Good luck and stay blazed.