How can I compete with a big box store or a local safe dealer that has been around forever?

Can a new safe dealer compete with a big box store or a very large local safe dealer who has been around forever?



Proper planning coupled with a well-executed plan is the cornerstone to business success. If you are considering opening a new business where there are other retailers that have a long-standing proven success record you are on the right track. Among the most important things to consider are the following:

  • Provide Welcome
When any potential customer walks into your future Safe Shop or Security Center, it should be staffed with personnel that is dressed in your company uniforms having bright smiles for everyone. All must feel welcomed. The store should have adequate room for your customers to view your safes, vaults and related products. There are point-of-purchase displays, wall displays, brochures, and catalogs conveniently available throughout the store for your potential customers. It's a playground for security products and you've got to love it...and it MUST show. Additionally, you must regularly participate in or help sponsor such events as outdoor festivals, sidewalk sales, fundraisers and of course local gun shows to encourage people to visit.
  •  Offer Value
Don't hide the fact that your prices may be slightly higher than big box stores, online retailers or marketplaces. Instead, create value by providing an educational experience when visiting your store that the aforementioned retailers cannot offer about their safes and vaults. Get to really know your competition. Understand and be prepared to sell against any and all other manufacturer's safes or vaults. You can because you carry a superior product line and can point out the differences in specifications and features. Learn how to reward regular patrons with frequent specials through e-newsletters and social media. And always point out that your safes and vaults carry a Lifetime Warranty, and that you will install and service what you sell, which is usually not the case with larger retailers and online marketplaces.
  • Differentiate Products - Introduce Brand NEW Brands
Because large retailers rarely take chances on new products, specialty stores have the opportunity to offer exclusive new items. You should always be aware of the competition's products and specifications, but carrying the same brand as every other retailer only places you in a position where in order to sell the same product you will probably have to discount the selling price. This is a big mistake many small retailers make. This practice is a profit margin killer. If your customers can find the same items at a big box store, there’s less reason for them to buy it in your store. Don't compete with their prices. Educate your customers about the advantages, specifications, and features of your safes and vaults. You MUST stress that your company will deliver and properly install, and service their safe or vault.
  • Get Online
Although your Safe Shop or Security Center may be small by comparison, yours can offer a fantastic website to support your customers' in-store experience. It should be no secret that online shopping will continue to become a preferred method of shopping, so offering your clients this convenience will be one of the keys to success.
  • Go Social
Learn to become an expert at attracting and, more important, retaining fans, especially on a local level. A playful newsletter, constant updates to your website, and social media channels, and an owner that is ubiquitous in your backyard assures that customers and fans are engaged constantly. No matter how small your retail company, you need to be engaging your customers through social media.
For any small business, competing with large competitors with vastly greater resources is always daunting. For specialty retail stores, the challenge is often greater. To succeed, retail business owners need to work hard...plain and simple. If there is one thing you will learn from MERIK....  it never seems like work! Engage and Enjoy!
Remember... We are here to help. We have decades of business and safe industry experience and we will be here for you. 

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