When a new store or competitor pops up, many independent retailers feel a sense of not being enough, tension, anxiety, annoyance, and fear—lots and lots of fear. But competition in retail is a GOOD thing! 

Let’s look at a case study for what happens when we believe that competition in retail is positive and how that belief can help us improve our stores.

Competition Strengthens What We Already Have

 I recently joked in Master Shopkeepers that I see business lessons everywhere lately. It’s interesting what my brain is doing, but I love it!

One new place where I’ve seen a business lesson was in the docudrama Full Swing on Netflix. 

Each episode followed two of the top 100 golfers in the world. Throughout the series, they intertwined the story of the Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA). 

The PGA has dominated golf for decades. But in 2021, a new, international golf association emerged and started recruiting PGA golfers: LIV. 

As LIV has taken off, they’ve recruited some of the top names in golf, including a few of the players featured in the Netflix series. The PGA is cutting ties with any player who accepts a LIV offer.

By the way, LIV isn’t an acronym—it refers to the Roman numeral for 54. It’s also the score a golfer receives if they birdy every hole on a par-72 course and the number of holes played at LIV events. 

I’m not here to take sides in the PGA vs. LIV debate but trust me, plenty of people who are in or follow golf have chosen a side (including my husband!).

There might be other organizations that have competed with the PGA over the years, but there hasn’t been any other organization that has rocked the boat quite like LIV has.

As my husband and I watched the latest episode of Full Swing, I quickly realized that this competition between the PGA and LIV is a case study of why competition is GOOD.

Here’s how PGA’s competition with LIV has changed the face of golf: 

  • LIV brought the PGA out of complacency.
  • The competition has made the PGA even stronger. From what I saw in the series, the sense of loyalty to the PGA and the organization’s bond is stronger than ever.
  • It made the PGA think creatively. They’re innovating again with new technology and even developing an indoor league with a few big-name partners. 

The PGA could have chosen to sit back and keep doing what they’ve been doing since 1929. They could have chosen to turn a blind eye to what was happening (or, should I say, *who* was happening). They could have chosen to dig their heels in the sand and NOT change or innovate. 

Instead, they went all in on themselves, set boundaries, and started thinking creatively.

competition in retail

Your Thinking Determines How You Feel About Competition

So how does this apply to your independent retail business? 

As with so many of the topics I share about, it all comes down to your thinking! Competition isn’t inherently bad or good, and that doesn’t change based on the new business swooping into your neighborhood or online niche to compete with you.

YOU get to decide if competition is good or bad. You get to decide whether you sink or swim. You are in control.

Pay Attention, But Don’t Dwell On The Competition

I don’t want to think or believe competition is bad. And I definitely don’t want to advocate for the antiquated practice of calling retail neighbors to tell them what they can and cannot carry in their stores. 

And while this isn’t going to go over well with some of you, but I have to say it:

Someone else’s business is NONE of your business.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pay attention—of course, we should know what’s going on in our niche and the local area! 

But getting into someone else’s business, especially by calling and telling them what they can or can’t do?! That’s a very odd practice to me.

You can be just like the PGA. You can go all in on yourself, your reputation, your brand, your employees, and your customers. 

The PGA CHOSE to think creatively instead of crumbling and losing. The PGA CHOSE to think they can win at this game. And you can choose to think this way, too.

competition in retail

Competition in Retail Affects Everyone, But It Doesn’t Have to Control You

To be clear, I am not above it all or unaffected by competition. I’m human! And I’m certainly not invincible to feelings of despair, particularly in business. 

But by choosing to believe that competition is a good thing, I’m better prepared to innovate, set boundaries, and think creatively. 

Luckily, I haven’t really experienced this with my retail store. However, I have recently spotted a couple of new online businesses that are very similar to Savvy Shopkeeper….and some of the copy on their websites hits really close to home. 

I could easily let this bring me down. I could start to panic, feel a sense of not being enough, or let the tension, anxiety, annoyance, and fear take over.

But I’m choosing NOT to do that. Instead, I’m doubling down on myself, both with my mindset and with my investment in myself and Savvy Shopkeeper. I am choosing to believe that I have the brain power to help and give value to independent retailers like no one else can. 

So bring it on folks, because I’m ready. 

If competition is at your doorstep, are you ready, too?

Resources

Timestamps

  • [02:28] Competition Strengthens What We Already Have
  • [07:42] Your Thinking Determines How You Feel About Competition
  • [08:40] Pay Attention, But Don’t Dwell On The Competition
  • [10:51] Competition in Retail Affects Everyone, But It Doesn’t Have to Control You

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