Every industry has its “industry practices.” It could revolve around marketing, pricing, distribution, service or even product design. But these are things that most every business in the industry does or offers.
I’m not sure how something becomes an “industry practice”. At some point, one company started doing something, then another followed along and before you know it, you have an industry “practice” on your hands.
One of the ways a business can differentiate itself from its competition is to not follow an industry practice and do something differently. Companies large and small have had a lot of success taking this approach in the past. Others have also found failure.
When I started Thread Logic, I felt the pricing method, held up as an “industry practice”, was one place I could differentiate my company in a very competitive field.
Pricing embroidery in the decorated apparel industry is generally done by stitch count. The concept is simple. The cost to embroider your logo onto a polo shirt or hat is based on the number of stitches it takes to create your logo in embroidery. The more stitches, the more cost.
From a cost accounting perspective, it makes total sense. From a marketing and customer experience perspective this method is a total disaster. Why?
How many stitches are in your logo?
You have no idea. And you shouldn’t. In fact, if you did, I would be worried about you!
That’s why we created a flat pricing model. All of the prices of items on our website include the embroidery of the logo. It makes it much easier for the customer to understand, right up front, how much an embroidered shirt is going to cost.
Many customers tell us one of the reasons they started doing business with us is because of our flat pricing model. It sets us apart from many of our competitors and makes it very easy for them to price out different items.
So my question for you is how can you differentiate your business from your competition? What do you do differently from the rest of the industry to set yourself apart?
When was the last time you stepped back and approached your company from the completely objective perspective of a customer? Or maybe had someone else do that for you? That might offer you some ideas of how you can do something differently.
It’s a cliché, but think outside the box. Question why you do something and if there is a different way of doing it.
Maybe you will even start a new “industry practice!”