I was looking through this week’s grocery ads and found that two grocery chains recently partnered with the goal to “keep prices down”. We all know that was only what they wanted us to believe. They were struggling and trying to hide it under the guise that two heads are better than one.

Fast forward to roughly 3 weeks ago and they officially merged (or were purchased) and had completely changed their name- neither retaining either part of each original store name. This really got me thinking at what they hoped to achieve by doing so.

For the most part, grocery stores are commoditized. Food is food with few differentiators and of those that exist, most are indiscernible. So how do you find success in the grocery industry, or more broadly, in a commoditized industry?

Know what makes you different. Find your special sauce. Instead of trying to be good at 5 things, be great at 1. Know what it is. Advertise it like heck. Make sure everyone in the organization knows what that is.

  • Wal-Mart chose to be the price leader- They don’t promise good customer service, fast checkout times, or anything else. But they will be the cheapest.
  • Hy-Vee chose to have amazing, friendly customer service– They don’t promise to be the cheapest (most of the time they aren’t) but they are super friendly and have exceptional customer service.

Price isn’t everything and Hy-Vee clearly proves that they can thrive in a commoditized industry even if their prices are higher- apples for apples.

Our Advice?

If you’re in a commoditized industry then find out what you want to be known for, better at, and run with it. The more you know about yourself, the easier it becomes to sell your company. Trust me on this one.

hayWire experiences this first-hand. Being in web design, we are in a highly commoditized industry with a plethora of competitors who can do the same work from any location in the world. In order to remain competitive, we must hone in on our strengths and make if crystal clear why our prospects must choose us over the overwhelming amount of web design companies we’re competing with.

What makes us different, you ask? Our customer service. We are in it for the long haul. Plus, we like to get back lightening-fast (less than one business day, but let’s be honest, usually less than a hour).

Want to carve your niche? We can help!

Cam Vacek
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