If you have a business based in the U.S. and you pride yourself on having the lowest prices in town (or in your industry), are you ready to be severely challenged?
One of the most evident changes that the U.S. economy has undergone in the past 25 years or so is the flight of industrial and manufacturing companies away from the U.S. Why, you ask, has this happened?
Well there are a lot of reasons, but the one I’d like to focus on here is the fact that labor in the U.S. is increasingly expensive and hard to find.
Large companies can move all or a portion of their operation overseas and have their finished products shipped back to the U.S. (or anywhere else in the world) for a significantly lower cost than they can produce them here on U.S. soil.
In addition, this trend is expanding to include not only low-tech and highly automated manufactured products but increasingly it includes high-tech and knowledge based products that were once pretty much the domain of U.S. companies.
If you’ve ever shopped for programming help, needed a web site created, or tried to hire a freelancer to get your shopping cart integrated into your web business, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.
Firms from India, Hong Kong and Asia are everywhere and they are able to underbid U.S. companies in nearly every sector they enter.
If you have a business involved in these industries, or if you create and sell products that compete with the products these firms offer, chances are excellent that you won’t be able to compete against them much longer, head to head – at least on low prices.
You may soon have to change your marketing tag line from “Nobody undersells the programming king!” Unless you are willing to work for almost nothing, there will surely be a less expensive alternative to creating your products.
The key might be this – don’t try to compete on price alone! Find some other way to dominate your niche and exploit that characteristic.
The businesses that thrive here in the U.S. in the future will be those that excel at something other than offering the lowest price around.
Here are some ways you might differentiate your business:
1. Unique products that no one else carries, or the best selection in town,
2. Outstanding customer service – you’re the clear choice because your customers trust you above all other sellers,
3. Your desire to customize and give the buyer exactly what he wants – even if that is not the product or service you normally sell,
4. One-of-a-kind community of loyal buyers / subscribers – some customers buy from the same seller over and over again even though they may have other choices – simply because they like doing business at a particular location (like the “neighborhood bar” where all the guys hang out.)
5. Innovation and technology on the cutting edge that others haven’t adopted yet,
6. Extra fast shipping or delivery (customers want their purchases just as soon as they can get them.)
7. Added bonuses or incentives for making a purchase – others may not offer these (best if the incentives relate to the product purchased),
8. Loyalty rewards – could be anything like a coupon for 25% off the next purchase,
9. The best guarantee, or return policy – a no questions asked, full money back and more guarantee to protect the purchaser and remove all his risk,
10. Cash back reward – immediate cash discount for making a purchase (like some credit cards offer).
There are other ways to differentiate your business. Find that unique selling proposition (USP) and brand your business with it!
To your online business success!