How Can I Compete?

How can I compete with the person at my market who sells her soap for $XX? If I price mine that low, I’ll be out of business.”

“How can I compete with the person at the other booth who says their soap will cure eczema and psoriasis?”

“How can I compete with this other soapmaker whose soap is brightly colored with intricate swirls and every fragrance you can think of?”

Good question! The answer is, you don’t. You are not in competition with every person who sells soap.

First of all, not everything is about price. If it were, we would all buy soap at the grocery or discount store. Sure, a segment of the population is very price conscious and will check the price before anything else, but they are not your people. Don’t give them a second thought.

Second, those who sell on medical claims will gain a certain following. However, in the US and many other countries, this is a risky proposition since it is against applicable laws and regulations. Do you want to compete with that? Plenty of consumers do not buy based on medical claims; you do not need those who do.

Finally, for the soapmaker whose competitor’s soap is completely different than yours, consider this: not every customer prefers what they sell. I used the example of brightly colored, intricately designed soap in a large number of fragrances; but of course, it could be anything. Not every customer wants fancy soap, or plain soap, or scented soap, or unscented soap, or fragrance oils or essential oils. The truth is every type of soap style is good and necessary to fulfill all of the various desires of customers.

The appropriate question to ask is, “How do I promote myself to make sales?”

Figure out who you are and whom you sell to. Are you the pretty, fragranced soap type? Are you a vegan soapmaker? Do you only use essential oils? Do you only make soap with goat milk?

 Whatever your niche is, embrace it and promote it as the thing that sets you apart from others. If you have trouble pinpointing what you are, ask a few customers or friends what they think makes your soap different. Even those who don’t use it will probably have an idea of what makes you special.

Think about it in your own shopping. Do you purchase anything besides the cheapest? Most of us consider other factors, not only price. Every purchase is a decision based on quality, convenience, service and other factors, as well as price. Soap is no different. If a person feels it is worth the cost, they will buy it. If it makes them feel good to purchase from you, they will.

Instead of lamenting about what others are doing, keep your mind on your business. What makes your soap worth the price you charge? Why should someone buy it? Figure that out and find the people who value what you do. Customers are out there.

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