Compete By Being Different
The big box retailers will kill you every time if price is the only criteria used to sell more product. People want things that are different and they cannot get everywhere else, but they still want value. The value proposition is fairly simple, customers need to feel that whatever they purchase is worth it and the best way to do that is handle inventory that can only be purchased at your retail store. If you are currently using good POS software, you first must find out the value of your inventory in each department and the relationship of that department to your overall revenue. You then need to find product lines that no one else carries in your area and promote your difference. The big box retailers are constantly trying to figure out the product mix needed in the different locals that they have stores, but you have the advantage in living there and understanding the people. Price is important, but it can be overcome with the right value proposition.