How Do You Deal With Nasty Competition?

Business By sugarjones Updated 5 Aug 2012 , 10:34pm by costumeczar

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sugarjones Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 8:05am
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Hey Everyone!
I am the first true cupcake shop in my town. We are doing gangbusters business and I'm loving every minute of it. But I have a problem. There is a competitor who only does a city market every week (no storefront) and every time I post a new flavor on facebook, they seem to have a similar (sometimes with the same name!) flavor within the next few weeks ( I know I can't claim a stake to any flavors. But this biz claimed to be avante garde (ex: using lavender, rose water,etc) about their flavors til they saw my success) A customer told me that they told them that I WAS COPYING THEM! Has anyone been in a similar situation? I used to think it was flattering that they were copying me but now I'm starting to get pissed because i feel like they are just waiting for my next post. Any thoughts? icon_smile.gif
Thanks so much!!

8 replies
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scp1127 Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 8:24am
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Every time I add a service, someone, and it's often an illegal baker, copies me. I don't care. These little operations can't hurt me, but they do hurt the little licensed bakers. The few licensed bakers all of a sudden have everything I have. There is no way to stop it and for all I know, mine may be claiming it first.

But many times I have copied something I have seen somewhere else on the web... Not exactly, but maybe the basic concept. I have never seen my retail concept, but I am sure it exists and I'm positive I will be copied after I open. The best you can hope for is a running start and the ability to be able to have a much bigger client base.

Is it irritating? Yes at first when you are shocked to see it. But you really have to just sit back and laugh at the competitors' lack of an original idea and watch their feeble attempt to scramble behind you. Now I expect it and check in periodically just to get a good laugh.

Fortunately, the retail competitors in my Hagerstown, MD area are great people and we all know each other. I often refer to them when they have a service or product I don't have. I think it comes down to it being a bigger city and the level of professionalism is much higher. We all have our own unique concept that works and none of us have a need to copy someone else. We are too smart for that.

So just move on. It's life. Someone is always going to do something irritating.

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Bluehue Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 11:53am
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Hmmm - what if you posted on FB that your *new flavour* is ready in store for the lovers of the finest cupcakes in town.

That way your new flavour is only privvy to those who come in - at least until word gets out to what it actually is.

I guess you could tease your regular customers by saying....
out newest flavour is Lemon &........ can you guess the other flavour when you come in store?


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leah_s Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 12:43pm
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I like Blue's approach. Make it fun for your customers who are "in the know." Also make sure you have a sticker (which you can print yourself) on the box/container that proclaims this as an Original Flavor Of YourName Bakery. .

What's the company that proclaimed "Always imitated, never duplicated?"

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MimiFix Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 3:37pm
post #5 of 9

Hey, Sugar... Susan is right, again, it is irritating, but there's not much you can do. You must remain the professional and not bad-mouth or slight this competitor. It will only make you look as small and petty as she is. I have the same problem - a couple of people have copied what I do and continue to troll my website and Facebook pages. I assume they are not creative types and are only able to copy others. But it lets me know I'm headed in the right direction. So smile and (great idea Bluehue!) make them enter your shop.

Leah, when I had a shop my husband put up a sign "Often Copied, Never Equaled"

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Apti Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 4:10pm
post #6 of 9

sugarjones~~The replies from SCP, Leah, Bluehue and Mimifix are priceless!

You've just had a free marketing consultation with the best of the best!

""Often Copied, Never Equaled" .. . . . . . LOVE IT!

p.s. I LOVE your Halloween cupcakes with the ghost and spider & web.

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gatorcake Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 4:11pm
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Copying is part of business and while the creator of a new concept can mock others for not being original, that will do them little good if those who are copying do it better than they do. Just because you do it first does not mean much if other people can do it better. There are any number of examples from industries where someone has developed a product/concept first only to have others do it better. They may have done it first, but others did it better and the originator is out of business. Simply because others are copying does not mean they are scrambling to play catch up, and even if they re they may not scramble very long.

I have no doubt that those here who are originators of concepts are also doing it better, which enables them to stay ahead of those that are trying duplicate what they do. But being first does not mean you do it the best, and while many consumers will be loyal, many more will be looking for the better service and product---and loyalties change. Staying ahead requires more than developing new ideas.

Frankly given their claims that you are copying them likely means you are doing "it" better than them. The only thing they have to try and get customers is to accuse you of copying. Maybe some people might be swayed by that but more will be swayed by your quality--and creativity/originality. Few people are going to buy a product of lesser quality simply because someone claims to have done it first. Your success proves you are doing it better, keep the innovations coming, and keep doing it better and their snarkiness won't matter.

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sugarjones Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 4:52pm
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WOW!!! I can't quote every one of the replies but let me THANK YOU ALL so very much for the valuable advice. I am forever grateful!!
I definitely do not trash talk the competition (well, I do, but only to people really close to me! I have to vent to someone, right?! haha)
Thanks again, you guys are the best!!

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costumeczar Posted 5 Aug 2012 , 10:34pm
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I love the "come to the shop to find out what the new flavor is" idea. If nothing else it will force them to come there or send a spy there to find out what you're doing, which will waste their time.

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