Conquering Competition

Taking a strategic approach to exploring Global Pet Expo can help retailers gain an advantage in growing their businesses and serving their customers.



Retailers face competition in many forms, but the thousands of vendors on the show floor can help you gain an edge over your rivals and build a stronger business. Here are five main strategies for using your Global Pet Expo experience to compete better:

1. Price 
Take advantage of show specials to lock in lower prices for your customers on products you already know are successful. You probably can’t offer the lowest price on everything you sell, so be strategic. Which deals represent the best opportunities to provide wins for your customers too? Successful competitors manage their balance sheets so they can take advantage of buying opportunities when they come along.

2. Cost
Look for ways to lower costs across your business. This might mean finding new suppliers on some product lines, but approach cost reduction more broadly. Think across your supply chain, from shelving, carts, and packaging to payments processing and business software. Anything that lets you do what you do as well or better and more cheaply helps the bottom line.

3. Product Differentiation
Find the next new thing, whether it’s a whole new product or an added-value ingredient or feature. Quality, service, packaging, location and appeals to lifestyle or social responsibility are just some ways to differentiate yourself from your rivals. The show floor is full of suppliers trying to help you deliver something unique.

4. Banding the Spectrum
Expand your business into new niches. Add on products or services that complement your current business. Depending on your main line, that could mean adding dog-washing stations, boarding, high-end specialty gifts or anything relating to your core business that satisfies a need for existing or potential customers.

5. Market Segmentation
Some customers will pay more, others won’t. Offering every customer the exact same options and experience can reduce profit. The trick is to segment your markets so you capture the gains from both those willing to pay a premium and those looking for a bargain. Find options and corresponding price points that meet the needs of buyers with a variety of profiles, especially those that you are not currently addressing. It might be as simple as offering larger or smaller package sizes or additional product lines within a category.

Competition pushes firms to continually innovate in order to survive. While it can be brutal, the winners come out cost efficient, offering customers the best possible product at the lowest possible price. Depending on your customers, that may be an expensive product with lots of extra features, or the most reliable, least expensive, mass-produced option technologically possible. If you haven’t improved or tried something new lately, chances are your rivals have. Look for ways you can do what you do better as you explore Global Pet Expo.

Laurie Wolff, NASBITE International, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, is an academic economist who has taught tens of thousands of students the basics of competition and demand and supply. She is also a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) who tries to equip others to expand international trade. She bridges the gap between educators, government business assistance centers, and businesses, trying to connect students with employers, training with business needs, and available help with businesses that need to use it. She especially likes to teach about competitive trends and ways to manage risk in international trade. Her mission is to improve the practice of global business.


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