Is The Competition Kicking Your Ass?

The title says it all.  You know if it is the case.  Do they have 8 cars with lit car toppers in the parking lot?  Do you see their marketing materials all over town?  Do people mention their specials or coupons when they call your place?  Is their dining room full every time you drive by (Don’t tell me you don’t)?  There are tons of signs, and if you are perceptive they will jump out at you.

Today’s blog post was prompted by a blog post on the futurenow blog.  It is a pretty good read, and i recommend it for your RSS.  The title is:

5 Reasons Competitors May Be Doing Better Than You

(Click the title for the original post)

I will paraphrase it here with my own  commentary on what this means to Pizza 2.0.

They have great operations -

Domino’s started it.  They reduced the making time to the extent that it was really nothing compared to the time it took to deliver.  30 Second large pepperoni, 1 minute load times, HTA.  They really took operations training to a higher level, and that got them off the ground.  What can you do to raise the benchmark in your store today?

They do a better job at generating word of mouth -

Gob read the original for this one, it is great.  In terms of Pizza 2.0, it is obvious.  If people are talking about your pizza, they are buying it, and getting others to buy it as well.  Buss is contagious.  Donate a few pies here and there, get out and deliver some certificates for free pizza to local businesses.  Catchy phrases like, “Today there is FREE lunch” always help to catch the eye.

Car wraps, scooter deliveries, fashion conscious uniforms, window posters, and well lit car signs will do this as well.  Get your name out there, get a poster shaking giant pizza slice standing on the corner.  Your customers will notice.

They deliver as good of a product/service in a more customer friendly way -

You have eaten the local pizza pit, and it tasted like it looked, nasty.  Why in the hell are they selling pizzas by the truckload then?  The delivery guy always smiles.  The phone operators smile while they talk.  They hustle to the door, and never complain about tips.

A happy staff will trump a decent product any day.  Just think about how your customers will view your store after a driver rolls his eyes at them for only leaving a 50 cent tip.  The chances are that they are pinching pennies just to order from y our shop in the first place, the last thing the need is to be though of as cheap (and even if they are total tight wads, they don’t want to be told that).

If you have a customer who only orders a medium cheese every time he orders, then be happy to take that order.  Some day they might graduate from school, get a promotion, or even win the lottery, and when they do they will remember the pizza shop that delivered the cheapest pizza on the menu with a smile.  The flip side is that they will also never patronize the pizza that ridiculed them with their eyes and voices every time they ordered the cheapest pizza on the menu that just happened to be more than they could afford.

They do a better job at being found when people need them -

If you have a marginal location then think about relocating.  You can do it fairly cheaply now, and with falling rent prices, it is a renter’s market.  I have a whole post on that topic almost ready to go, so look forward to it.

The bottom line, is if they can’t find you, they won’t order.  Although very important for location, Location, LOCATION, it is also becoming important for the internet.  If I can’t google your pizza shop for your number I am not going to call 411.  If you are ignoring the internet today, then you are giving someone else a percentage of your sales.

They developed a culture that continuously optimizes the customer experience -

The reality of Pizza 2.0 is that your customers are your customers for life.  The long term ROI is what we need to look at.  Forget the sales pump on Friday night from putting out a few hundred fliers.  All of your marketing and training should be geared toward long term customer retention.

Lazy mailers, d-mail, e-mail, and SMS are key tools of Pizza 2.0.  With electronic delivery of marketing materials available, marketers are quickly learning that repeated customer contact generates more and more business.  The old metric of 3 customer impressions in 10 days is just the minimum now.  You need to entertain them – not just at the Super Bowl, you need to educate them – Pizza has lycopene, you need to fulfill their needs – Your family will be satisfied with the economically priced family dinner combo.

As the OP concluded his post, I ask as well:  How can you leverage these strategies to drive your own growth?

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