Big Guy vs Little Guy

An email this morning from April at Blacksburg Belle got me thinking about something that is happening in my town.

Our local independent supermarket is about to be challenged by a new supermarket owned by a large national chain.  Now normally, I would be shouting from the roof tops to support the little guy instead of the big guy but in this case I just can't do that.

Each week I drive 25 minutes down the hill to do my groceries instead of the 6 minutes I could drive to do it at the independent. 


The independent just doesn't provide and service that the big guy does.  I don't feel like they value me as a customer so I have moved on.

I think this lesson can be learnt by all small businesses, including me here at The Haby Goddess.  We have a lot to prove in the craft/handmade industry as we are competing with established retail chains that mass produce items, more often than not at a cheaper price.

1. We will over time, all make mistakes, either with a wrong or faulty order.  Be quick to fix it.  Apologise. Act like you care. Be honest. Most customers will be forgiving to a business where they feel they have done what they can to solve a problem or dispute.

2. Friendliness is key.  Be approachable and make sure your customers can contact you easily.

3. Provide a quality product or service far superior to what's available from the big guys.

4. Offer a customer service standard not offered by the large companies in your industry. I like article by Alli at Motivating Mum about being served at a Service Station! Some of us will even remember them cleaning our windscreen.


It is likely that the independent will struggle against the big guy and I really wish this wasn't the case, it goes against everything I wish for.
Where do you think small independent businesses can improve?


CurlyPops said...

Great points Jodie - I think it's all about customer service. I shop at a very small IGA mainly because I find it's too hard to traipse around a huge supermarket, but also for the service. Sometimes they even offer to carrry my groceries to the car if they see me struggling, which is nice.
I find it weird when I buy online from a small handmade shop, and I don't receive an email to confirm/thank me for my order. I think that's a common courtesy which makes me feel like my order is worthwhile business to them.

Megsy-Jane said...

We've just has a large takeaway chain move to our small town, and even though I did feel sorry for the small guys, if they had been selling great food and provided great service there probably wouldn't have been as much as a problem - but they are very inconsistent and forget your whole order somtimes, which is a pain when living out of town. Our local sewing shop puts me off so much with the lack of customer service and the flat feeling I get whenever I go there, that I would actually prefer to drive an hour to Spotlight (shock horror) for a packet of buttons! I think any businesses that need improving on would be in the customer service area - it's a huge thing and one of the reasons I keep coming back to the Habyg...the customer service is brilliant and every order leaves me with a smile on my face!

Tiff said...

To put a different angle on what you are saying I can tell you that I have gone the opposite direction, but for the same reasons! I have started shopping at the nearby small and independent Spar because although their range is not as extensive, and perhaps some items slightly higher in price (although not much) the parking is easy, I never line up for service after a long day at work, and they carry my groceries to the car!!!!! What service! I occasionally still go to Woollies or shop for online but prefer the smaller and more personal Spar where they chat to you and offer to walk you out with your groceries! Good service is so essential in any business! I think you are amazing at what what you do, your support and tips are a god send and I avoid Spotlight when ever I can! Long live the small businesses like yours! X