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Consulting | 11.23.22

How to Beat Chain Retailers at Their Own Game

How to Beat Chain Retailers At Their Own Game

We’ve all heard the stories about chain retailers putting small mom-and-pop stores out of business. They have deep pockets, an army of employees, and a seemingly bulletproof business model. So how can small businesses hope to compete?

The experts say that independent retailers can do it, but it will take work.

To succeed, retailers must focus on three key areas:

  1. Unique products and services
  2. Outstanding customer service
  3. Monitor competitors’ promotional data and pricing

Because chain retailers are so large, they have weaknesses that small business owners can take advantage of when appealing to customers. Let’s take a look at our expert’s guide on three ways to beat chain stores at their own game.

1. Offer niche products and services that other retailers don’t have

One way to successfully compete against chain retailers is to offer products and services they don’t. That could mean carrying locally sourced products, organic produce, or ethnic foods that cater to your community’s unique demographics. It could also mean offering exceptional services like home delivery or in-store cooking classes. By providing something that the Big Box stores don’t, you’ll be able to attract customers looking for a more specialized experience.

2. Focus on superb customer service

Another way to differentiate yourself from chain retailers is to focus on customer service. Creating a warm and welcoming environment in your store can go a long way toward making your customers feel good about shopping there. Additionally, training your employees to be helpful and knowledgeable about the products you carry can also help improve customer satisfaction. When your customers have a positive experience at your store, they’re more likely to continue shopping there in the future.

Don’t just take it from us. In 2015, a Forrester study discovered that brands with superior customer service across multiple industries (airlines, retail, investment, health insurance, and cable) bring in 5.7x more revenue than their competitors.

3. Keep your prices competitive against other retailers

Of course, one of the most important things you can do to compete with chain retailers is to keep your prices competitive. Use pricing intelligence tools like Intrics to stay on top of the latest pricing trends so you can adjust your prices accordingly. It would help if you also kept an eye on chain retailers’ promotional data so that you know when they’re running special sales or discounts. (P.S. Did you know that the Intrics IP allows retailers to quickly locate promotional ads and pricing on their competitors’ top products?) By being strategic about pricing, you can ensure that your customers know they can get a good deal at your store without sacrificing quality or selection.


Chain retailers hold a substantial market share, but independent businesses can still compete against them. By offering niche products and services, focusing on customer service, and keeping prices competitive, independent retailers can draw customers away from the chain stores and build a loyal following. So don’t be discouraged—with careful planning and execution, you can thrive in today’s retail landscape.

Intrics provides insights and clarity by analyzing over 100 million price changes weekly from top retailers in every market of the United States. By considering national brands and private-label alike and linking disparate SKUs and descriptions to a single UPC, Intrics provides product-level indexes in your market. This allows you to be the first to react by quickly understanding changes to product prices, whether your competitors are absorbing or forwarding increased costs to consumers, and how your prices and price changes compare to theirs.

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