"According to a Wall Street Journal article, the average shopper at a Wal-Mart Supercenter spends 21 minutes in the store and, in the process of speeding through the shop, fails to find 30 percent of the items they came in to buy." (Source Retail Wire)
That's the advantage a small, boutique store has over their big-box competitor. The challenge is helping your customers recognize that you can save them time. In today's time-strapped society, you can gain a signifigant advantage by demonstrating this to your customers. You can't compete on price so why not focus on the time element?
Case in point...I much prefer to shop at a smaller hardware store and grocery store than the big competitors because I know I can get in and out of the store FAST.
Why not loudly and proudly state this in your advertising? This certainly goes against many retailer's philosphy of advertising specials and low prices. But, if positioned properly, you could attract many consumers away from your big-box competitor. The change would not happen overnight (there's no such thing as a quick fix) but it could be significant.
Got comments on this posting? I'd love to hear them.