How to create a Unique Competitive Advantage in Retail?

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The Unique Competitive Advantage (UCA) is the fact that your retail shop has something special than your competitors in the same product line. By saying that, having a UCA isn’t linked only to niche industry or a product. How can we create a UCA?

To develop a UCA, we have to look at the 360-degree interaction with our shoppers and defining what can we do differently to impress them and get them to buy:

-Niche Product:

Having a niche product without any competitors in your market will definitely make you unique. You should drive all your retail communication towards what’s special in your product. To stay niche in your industry, will require a high research and development budget. Your competitors aren’t sleeping they will look at your solution or product as part of their marketing intelligence and try to develop either a better or a more affordable product that offers the same features and benefits.

-The Price:

The price of goods can be a factor that makes you unique. Your customers will be coming specially to your store as they know in advance that you have the best deals in the market. To succeed in the price UCA, you should look at your costs as a structure and how you can deliver a good quality product that knock down the competition. Your market competition will try to review their price structure to match your offering and destroy your UCA. This is mainly what leads in a specific market to a price war, products damping and can lead to devaluate the goods as the consumer will be mainly concerned about the real value of the goods when the prices are dropping more and more in a specific market.

-The care service:

As you might not have a niche product or a very competitive price, you can work on some other areas that can be perceived by your customers as UCA. For example, the fact that for every failed product, you will upgrade the customer the latest generation product for free, or by beating the care service level in goods or products repair. This area can be appealing to many customers that have faced after sales support issues with your competitors.

-Time Convenience:

By bringing the possibility to a client to shop at your location either at late hours or 24h can turn to a UCA. Even sometimes the price wouldn’t matter much to them if convenience is what they are looking for. I have experienced this situation myself many years back in the US when I was doing some late work at home and suddenly my CD burner just stopped working…I’ve visited at that time the US grocery retail leader around 2am and I managed to get my CD burner and finish my work. It’s not the CD Burner or the price that has made this retail chain unique but mainly the convenience of working hours. Time convenience can be the possibility to shop online or find your product at key convenient partners like gas stations for example.

-Your human capital:

Your sales team can be a real factor of a UCA. By benchmarking the shopping experience at your store with your competitors, you can work on a plan to deliver a high standard service from the greeting moment to the time your clients will leave your store. This UCA can be reinforced by follow up calls after the purchase and following on customers’ feedback and satisfaction.

Author: Jalal JIHAZI
(Global Retail TV Director)

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