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Strategy of small hardware store to compete with giants

Assume that you are a consultant to a small independent hardware store in a town where a retail giant such as Wal-Mart, K-mart, or Target is about to open. The large retailer sells many of the same items the small hardware store sells, but at lower prices. What advice would you offer the owner concerning the hardware store's strategy?

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If the products are the same, then it has to be all about customer service and accessibility. The big box stores work well if a buyer knows exactly what he wants, but in the hardware store setting, there is a huge group of 'do it yourselfers' who don't necessarily know exactly what they want or how to do it.

Customer service should include:

1. Knowledgeable sales people
2. Adequate amount of employees
3. Willingness to offer alternatives
4. Ability to refer to more specialized service businesses
5. Rebates and customer loyalty programs to encourage repeat business

Accessibility refers to:

1. Good store location with adequate parking
2. Carefully stocked items that are consistently available and homogeneous for tasks of customers
3. Concentrations of products by ...

Solution Summary

The solution offers two primary reasons for how a small retail store can compete with the big box stores. Each of the two reasons is further explained with five types of actions that can promote the two primary competitive steps. The solution includes an actual mission statement for such a retailer that perfectly demonstrates the two primary reasons.