For any small business it is always wise to know what your competition’s pricing is in comparison to yours. You are competing in the same marketplace and with the same potential customers, so you need to know how you stack up.
Where your product is also online, you have another challenge as today’s consumer usually checks out the product and pricing before coming to your establishment. This means you need to know your product well as they are knowledgeable customers and they know what price they can get it for online.
Over that past year I had a problem with a sealant, which would not adhere to acrylic that was subject to flexing. I read countless articles, many of which pointed to a product that did not work and there were lots of comments that confirmed my experience. I did find a comment from a master plumber who talked about a product he used with great success. I had not heard of the product, so I set out to find it.
None of the local hardware or builders supply businesses had even heard of it. On the internet I found wholesalers who were willing to sell me a dozen tubes, but not a single. I resorted to Amazon.ca and found a tube for $35 and it would ship for free. I stored the information and tried another work-around to my problem, but after 3 months it too was a failure, so back to Amazon.
Now it did not exist on Amazon! In frustration I went onto e-bay.ca and there it was, $45 a tube plus $29 shipping to Canada, plus customs duties! They did not list one Canadian supplier. In desperation I did another search on Google and to my surprise it listed Industrial Plastics as a supplier and there was one in town. I must say that after all I had gone through to find this product I was skeptical that I would find it at the store. The clerk led me right to the display and I got my tube for $17!
So, why this long story? Sometimes we, as consumers, don’t look for a product or service in the right place. I went to where they sell the problem and they could not help me. I should have gone to where they sell the material that my problem was made from.
The internet, bless its heart, is a rabbit warren of information. Some is put on by those who, although their intention is to help, only add to the problem and take up volumes of your time. Major builder supply outlets posted that they carried the product, when in reality, they did not have it in their stores or online and had no knowledge of the product.
If you are in business, engage your customers. Know their wants, needs and expectations. If they have a problem with your product or service, try to solve it. Even if in the end you can’t solve it they will respect that you tried.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates
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