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Challenging the Big Guns: Strategies for Small and Medium Building Material Suppliers to Outperform Big Box Stores

Small and medium building material suppliers face a tough challenge in competing with big box stores, but they can still outperform these giants using four key strategies.
July 26, 2023
Worker at a lumber building materials supply store
Small and medium building material suppliers face a tough challenge in competing with big box stores. These large retailers often have significant advantages, such as extensive marketing budgets, well-established brand recognition, and bulk purchasing power. However, with some strategic planning and innovative thinking, small and medium suppliers can still outperform big box stores. Here are some strategies to consider:
  1. Specialize in niche products: One advantage of being a small or medium supplier is the ability to specialize in unique, hard-to-find products. By focusing on a particular niche, such as eco-friendly materials or specialty tools, you can differentiate yourself from big box stores that cater to a broader market. Customers who are passionate about a particular type of product may be more likely to seek out a specialist supplier.
  2. Offer personalized service: Big box stores are known for their impersonal, self-service approach. As a smaller supplier, you have the opportunity to provide a more personalized, customer-focused experience. Train your staff to be knowledgeable about your products and to provide attentive service. Make your customers feel valued by going the extra mile to help them find the right products and offering tailored advice.
  3. Leverage technology: While big box stores may have more resources to invest in technology, there are still plenty of affordable digital tools that small and medium suppliers can use to their advantage. Consider setting up an online store, using social media to engage with customers, or offering virtual consultations. By embracing technology, you can make it easier for customers to do business with you and increase your reach beyond your local area.
  4. Offer competitive financing options: One area where big box stores have an advantage is in their financing options. Many offer 90-day financing, which can be attractive to customers who want to spread out the cost of large purchases. As a small or medium supplier, you may not have the same resources to offer such generous financing terms. However, you can still compete by offering extended financing options, such as 30, 60, or even 90 days. Partnering with a trade credit provider like BlueTape can help you offer financing options to your customers while improving your cash flow and reducing risk.
In conclusion, while it may seem daunting to compete with big box stores, small and medium building material suppliers have unique advantages that can be leveraged to outperform the giants. By specializing in niche products, offering personalized service, embracing technology, and offering competitive financing options, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and win over customers. Ready to get the ball rolling? Create a BlueTape account today and start standing up to the big box competition. You can also book a free meeting with one of our team members.
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