Market share isn’t always easy to determine. For most folks with heat printing or custom apparel decoration businesses, it’s probably more of a perception of how you are doing vs. your competition than knowing an actual number. Big corporations however, keep a close eye on actual market share and demographics. For example, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times explains how the three main grocery store chains in the Los Angeles area have gone from 60% marketshare to 23% since 2004. Wow. That’s a big loss. Where have all their customers gone? To the competition. Why? Many reasons, but the article points to the 2003-04 strike of unionized grocery workers as one of the main reasons. The competition in the grocery market in Southern California must be pretty fierce, and the competitors were ready and waiting for the new customers that didn’t want to cross picket lines at striking grocery stores. Here’s what the article said:
That’s because grocery shopping is a routine. Consumers tend to stick with what they know. Reluctant to cross picket lines during the 2003-04 strike, many shoppers fled to the competition — and stayed there. “Consumers don’t break habits easily,” said David M. Smith, an associate professor of economics at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management in Los Angeles. “But once they broke that habit, they found out they liked these new options.”
Many of you have probably seen this happen on a smaller scale, with consumers fleeing to online shopping that offers more variety or to your competitors that offer different, faster or more convenient services. If you feel your business is losing market share, you need to sit back and analyze what is really going on. Remember, your loyal customers don’t WANT to stop doing business with you. They are creatures of habit. Make sure you are doing everything possible to keep their business. When was the last time you called your largest customer to see how they were doing? When was the last time you said “thank you” for doing business with you? What do you have planned to make your customers feel special and appreciated? Consumers today have more choices than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they make you their number one choice for custom printed apparel. For some ideas on how to do that, my series in this blog, “How to Sell More T-Shirts in 23 Days” has lots of ideas. Day 14 stated, you’re not selling shirts, you’re building relationships. Day 15 offers the suggestion to get into the reflective market. There are many things you can do to fight to keep your market share, and you should be doing them! Later this week I will be posting a long list of suggestions. Subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss it.