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How To Compete

March 3, 2010

I am sure that this is a question you ask yourself all of the time, How do we compete? It is not so long ago that the casual furniture retailers were the only shop in town, now you have big box stores, catalogs, online retailers and every other retailer trying to jump on this band wagon.

As the years passby I have noticed many changes, for one thing the marketing efforts have increased greatly. Target, Lowes and Home Depot for example have created beautiful catalogs and Sunday newspaper inserts that showcase their collections very nicely. In fact most often the furniture looks better in the marketing material than in person. This however does not stop the consumer from shopping for their outdoor furniture needs in these stores.

The other day I was in Costco where they have a very large selection of outdoor living products and furniture. The one thing that caught my eye were two large boxes of Solarium throw pillows sold in pairs scattered haphazardly throughout these boxes. The pillows are 20" Square with self welting and polyester fill.

There are solids, stripes and coordinating patterns to choose from. The price stopped me dead in my tracks, two pillows for $14.59.

So I ask you, How do we compete?? Well the answer is quite simple. We as Casual Furniture retailers offer High Design, and High Quality products made with the highest quality materials and beautifully displayed. By offering a product that is clearly of luxurious distinction you are not actually competing with these lower priced, big box outdoor products you are targeting a completely different segment of the market. 

It is imperative that this concept be marketed to your consumer, because they hear and see the other store’s advertisements and they may think that they are purchasing the same level of design and quality in those outdoor products, but they need to understand the differences between these similar yet different products.

Target, Lowes and Home Depot have large marketing budgets, they are spreading the word to consumers about the "NEW" Outdoor Living craze, so my suggestion is to capitalize on their advertising efforts, let them get the word out, but then explain to your targeted market just how different you are. The consumer that wants a designer product made with the finest materials will recognize the message that you are telling. They want custom, design, and they want to be different from the masses. So offer what you do best, help them design their outdoor living space to be their special enclave.

Let me know how you advertise to your target market, write a message below and tell me which points you highlight in your marketing efforts?

These are my outside views…Marcia Blake