How’s this for an idea?
Let’s sell products that are pretty much identical to everything else that’s already out there in the market.
And then let’s employ advertising that is virtually indistinguishable from our competition.
Every week we’ll have big sales–and if you’re really crafty, you can use our coupons to save even more!
Sign-up to be on our email list and we’ll give you 10% off your next purchase. And then, just about every day, we’ll send you an email highlighting some of our me-too products while also reminding you how much you can save.
Be a good customer and we’ll throw in free shipping. Oh, you hardly ever buy from us? No worries, you get free shipping too!
We’re all omni-channel and what not, so of course we’ll have e-commerce. And our site will look like every other site. We want you to feel comfortable.
Oh, you didn’t buy just now when you were on our website? That’s cool, we’ll just keep serving up ads on Facebook and everywhere else you go on the internet. Hope you don’t mind the little interruption.
And, after we do all this and we don’t get the sales we want, we’ll just launch a “loyalty” program that–wait for it–rewards you with gift cards so you save even more!
As silly as this sounds, it’s the play book for many retailers. They continue to swim in a sea of sameness. Most often, their default mode is to compete on price because, faced with a paucity of actual difference, it’s the only thing that seems to drive sales.
Unfortunately, the fact is most categories aren’t growing faster than the rate of inflation. The fact is most consumers have more choices than they can possibly sort through and make sense of. The fact is share of attention is the new battleground. The fact is almost all price wars end badly. The fact is any real growth needs to come from stealing share.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. And it may seem safe.
Yet the fact is it is just the opposite.