Keeping Ahead Of Competition
( Originally Published 1902 )
Competition is a mighty good thing for the public at large, as they always participate in the benefits resulting from a price war, between competing dealers in the same line of goods.
But no large amount of satisfaction lodges in the bosoms of the dealers themselves, as they see their profits dwindle down to a small point, through the cutting-down profit influences which competition brings in its train.
Most dealers look upon competition as a terrible thing. So it frequently is—to profits—to good trade—and what this chapter now wishes to consider and suggest, is some method whereby this monster-competition—can be met on his own grounds and vanquished with ease.
The secret is this:
Get ahead of competition and stay ahead. Get so far ahead of your neighbor in point of store methods, stocks, displays, advertising methods, etc., that you may look upon that, once dreaded foe, competition, with a sardonic smile and a feeling of contempt and triumph.
If you carry a line of dress goods, carry such an assortment of novelties that you will be soon recognized as the only merchant in town, in the dress goods line. No matter how much your competitors may cut and slash their dress goods prices, you can smile and bear it amicably, for the reason that the superiority and up-to-dateness of your stocks, place you far beyond the reach of their cut price attacks.
Supposing you are a dealer in jackets, capes and ladies' garments, and that there are two other dealers in the same town, in the same lines? Do you fear competition? Under ordinary circumstances you would, but by carrying a stock superior to theirs in quality, variety, and in point of novelties with excel-lent store service, you have so established yourself in the hearts of the ladies of your town, that you have become the Altman of your place, and fear no competition because there is practically no competition to fear.
You have lifted yourself out of the ordinary class. When a woman wants the latest and best in the garment line, she thinks only of your store. She does not consider for a moment the competitive howls of "cheap-cheap," because experience has taught her that on only the ordinary and often the undesirable goods, for which she has no use, do these prices exist.
When once you get a reputation in a city or town as being ahead of all other stores in the matter of varieties, new things and good things, you need fear that bugaboo, competition, but very little. You can mark your goods at fair prices and easily get the same, for the simple reason that the goods you carry can-not be procured elsewhere. You have taken the wind out of competition's sails. People look upon you as the headquarters for the latest and best, and when they want these goods they will get them without small quibbling over small savings.
So get ahead of all your would-be rivals by keeping a step or two ahead of them in the march of good storekeeping, and thus keep a step or two ahead of that once monster of hideous mien: Competition.