How to Compete with Big-Box Stores: A Guide for Small Retailers in the Philippines

February 7, 2024
Reading Time
5 minute read

Small retail businesses often face a David versus Goliath scenario when competing with larger enterprises. The sheer scale of big-box stores, with their extensive inventory and widespread brand recognition, poses a significant challenge for smaller players. These larger entities often have the resources to leverage economies of scale, invest heavily in marketing, and offer a wide array of products, which can make it daunting for smaller retailers to capture market share. However, this is only one side of the story.

Despite these challenges, small businesses possess inherent advantages that they can capitalize on to compete effectively. Their smaller size gives them more flexibility and enables them to offer more personalized services—qualities that big-box stores often struggle to match. As a result, small retailers often develop strong relationships with their local communities that can help keep them competitive and profitable for years to come.

Understanding how to harness these advantages is crucial for small retail businesses aiming to hold their ground and thrive. We at Maya Business are here to provide actionable advice on how small retailers can compete more effectively with their larger counterparts.

Invest in Modern Technology

Many of today’s customers are highly proficient with digital technology—and, by extension, extremely used to the many conveniences it offers. This means that they’re likely to demand fast and frictionless shopping experiences and may have little patience for retailers who can’t keep up. These days, an online payment gateway is a must for processing e-commerce transactions digitally—a solution that modern consumers increasingly prefer. Fortunately, companies like Maya Business now make enterprise-class solutions available at highly accessible prices, which means that startups and SMEs don’t have to settle for anything less than the best payment gateway available.

Even small businesses with limited resources now have the option of investing in cutting-edge payment technologies to boost competitiveness. One innovation to watch is Maya Checkout, the best payment gateway Philippines’ SMEs currently depend on. This solution caters to all forms of digital payments available in the Philippines, from traditional credit and debit card payments to emergent forms such as QR code payments and e-wallet transfers. Maya Checkout not only opens doors to a larger market but also offers a simple pricing scheme designed to foster growth and sales volume—qualities that have earned it its reputation as the best payment gateway for small business in the country.

By choosing Maya Checkout as their payment gateway, SME retailers can look forward to a plethora of benefits that can bring their operations up to par with those of larger enterprises. The solution’s 24/7 fraud protection features enable businesses to provide their customers with the assurance of safe transactions, a critical factor in building trust and loyalty. Moreover, Maya Checkout integrates seamlessly with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, thanks to its user-friendly plugins. This means that businesses operating on these platforms can easily set up a fast and simple checkout process that’s sure to enhance the overall customer experience.

Identify and Leverage a Unique Selling Proposition

Despite comparatively limited resources and manpower, any small business will have a unique selling proposition (USP) that can distinguish it from competitors—even large companies. Identifying this USP involves understanding what the business does best and how it resonates with their customer base. A retail establishment’s USP, for instance, can be anything from specialized products to exceptional customer service. By highlighting what makes a small business unique, it’s entirely possible to attract customers who are looking for something more than what large, impersonal big-box stores can offer.

Once identified, leveraging a business’s USP is all about communication and consistency. Businesses need to find creative ways to integrate their USP into every aspect of their operations, ranging from marketing and branding to day-to-day engagements with customers. If a particular retailer’s USP is a personalized shopping experience, for example, then it needs to invest in staff training to ensure that each customer interaction is tailored and memorable. This, in turn, can create a loyal customer base that values the individual attention they receive.

Provide Personalized Service

Small retail businesses may operate on a more limited scale than their larger counterparts, but this also opens doors for more intimate and engaging interactions with customers than large retailers can usually achieve. Many consumers today dislike the idea of being regarded simply as sales numbers and value being treated with a personal touch by the businesses they support. This could mean greeting customers by name, remembering their preferences, or offering tailored recommendations.

Furthermore, personalized service extends beyond the sales floor. It encompasses all customer interactions, including after-sales support and handling customer feedback. Customers who feel like their favorite small retailer knows them personally and cares about their needs are highly likely to reward the store with their loyalty, both through repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

Collaborate with Other Local Businesses

Collaboration is a powerful strategy for small businesses, especially when it comes to competing with larger retailers. Local businesses that choose to work together can pool resources, share customer bases, and even co-host events or promotions. These collaborations can take various forms, from joint loyalty programs to collaborative marketing campaigns or cross-promotion of products and services.

Such partnerships increase visibility for both companies, reinforce their connection with the local community, and demonstrate a commitment to their locality’s economic health. Creating a network of businesses that support each other in this way stands in stark contrast to the often impersonal nature of big-box stores. Collaborations can also lead to innovative business solutions, as different businesses bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table.

Offer High-Quality or Niche Products

One of the most effective ways for small retailers to stand out is by offering products that aren't typically found in big-box stores. This approach taps into the desire of many consumers for unique, specialty items that reflect their individual tastes and preferences. Whether it’s artisanal goods, locally made crafts, or products tailored to specific hobbies and interests, these items add a level of exclusivity and distinction to any store.

Furthermore, providing high-quality products also sends a message about the brand’s commitment to excellence. Customers are often willing to pay a premium for goods that they perceive as being superior in quality or unique in nature. This focus on quality over quantity can also attract a specific segment of the market that values craftsmanship and originality. In addition, by aligning with local producers or niche suppliers, small retailers can support local economies and build a strong communitarian reputation, a key differentiating factor that can set them apart from larger competitors.

Use Maya Business Solutions to Hone Your Competitive Edge

Maya Business’s offerings can equip you with the flexibility you need to compete toe to toe with any big-box brand. All you need to do is sign up for Maya Business to access a wide array of digital payment and business banking tools to help your business thrive.

Your Maya Business Manager account will instantly enable you to unlock the benefits of the Maya 1-2-3 Grow bundle. This special offer lets you enjoy a merchant discount rate (MDR) discount of 1% on all QR Ph payments for 3 months upon onboarding. This translates to PHP 14,600 in savings for every PHP 1 million worth of QR Ph sales. As part of this bundle, you can also take advantage of opening a Maya Business Deposit account and using it as your settlement account. With an industry-leading 2.5% per annum interest rate, you’ll earn PHP 25,000 in interest per year on a PHP 1 million deposit. Free transfers via InstaPay and PesoNET give you a quick and easy way to pay your partners and suppliers without worrying about transaction fees. And what’s more, signing up also qualifies you for a no-collateral Maya Flexi Loan offer of up to PHP 2 million in just 3 months. Just use Maya Business as your primary processor for all wallet and card payments. The more you use your Maya Business payment solutions, the better the loan offer. Sign up for Maya Business today to enjoy all these exclusive perks and more.