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Old 28th December 2007, 08:13 PM   #1
todls
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Default Should I Advertise: My Retail Business Is Not Associated With A Similar Wholesaler

I bought my existing retail business almost 3 years ago. I worked in it for about 7 years prior to purchasing it. The previous owner has a wholesale business that grew aside from it before I bought but while working for him. People today have the impression that his wholesale business and this retail business are the same thing, that is, we are a part of each other. Prior to buying the business, the only relationship we had was that he owned both. Neither had anything to do with the other functionally. I am thinking that I need to advertise the fact that we are not related and have no relationship, we never did. Is there anyone out there who has an opinion about doing that and any ideas on how to go about it?

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Old 29th December 2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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Is the erroneous perception hurting your business in any way, or is it just a PITA to have to explain over and over?

If it's the latter, I probably wouldn't advertise the fact...but you could slip it in with your PR efforts. It's not worth (imo) spending extra money explaining.

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Old 29th December 2007, 11:58 PM   #3
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Start wholesaling.

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Old 30th December 2007, 10:36 AM   #4
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I think it has hurt. They also opened up an outlet store and people call us asking what their store hours are, looking for their employees, asking us for their phone number, "can I get it cheaper at your other store?" "should I bring my repair to the store downtown or your other location".

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Old 30th December 2007, 10:37 AM   #5
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And it is a PITA having to explain it.

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Old 30th December 2007, 12:01 PM   #6
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Are there any other things, besides the previous ownership situation, that are similar to the business. Maybe confusingly to the customers. For example - are the names distinct or similar, what about logo, graphics, colors, etc. I'm curious because if there are other similar things, I wonder if that should be your approach to distinguish yourself - and an advertisement might not solve your problem. I'd hate to see you go through this effort, and then not actually solve the issue you are struggling with.

Typically, my approach also would be like radiogirls.

Does he refer non wholesale business to you? If so, I would think that would be an advantage versus a negative. If he is not referring the business, then sounds like a bad business purchase where the terms need to be discussed.

Pete's comment may be the best, why not start wholesaling?

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Old 30th December 2007, 05:04 PM   #7
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What is similar is that his product line in part includes what we are all about. We have sold his line since its inception because he owned this business while the line was being developed. In fact we were probably the first one to have it. Our names have one word (our city name) that is the same. But there are a host of businesses, like a footwear manufacturer, in the area with that same city name in their name but we are not called upon by people looking for boots and shoes. The outlet store he opened is not even remotely close in name to either my name or his wholesale business name. Now one thing that may have caused it in part is that one radio announcer in town has always been the voice in our ads. When the outlet store opened, he then became their voice too and still is. When it first happened that the radio station aired an ad for them with him as their voice, and I did not know it was going on at the time, a friend called me right away after hearing him saying she felt that was confusing because he was talking about some of the same items we sell very close to an ad we had running. I agreed and I reported this to my radio rep at the station, who is also their rep, saying that to have the same personality talking about the same products at 2 different business is an incorrect method. I told them they need to decide which one of us they are going commit his voice to as it/he is very well known here and it will create confusion as well decrease the credibility of his "endorsement" if he continues to speak for both of us. They agreed that they should not do it but, of course, that didn't last long.

2 years ago, our local paper wrote an article about the other company and referred to us as one in the same. I was all over them about that and thought I had it licked. but maybe not.

Other than that, I don't know why people mix the two of us up like they do.

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Old 31st December 2007, 11:43 AM   #8
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First, you need to get the radio situation cleared up once and for all. It's not acceptable for the station to allow it to lapse back and they should be called to task on that. I know how hard it is to find unique voices within a small station, but they have to be on board and get the job done. You can be proactive about the situation and hire an outside commercial development team for your commercials rather than using a local voice. Either way that has to be fixed.

What are you doing for Public Relations and Publicity at this point? You might want to look over your PR plan and find ways to promote your business with a unique edge and sever the "they're the same place" perception.

Or you could do a brief ad in conjunction with a sale making fun of the confusion and drawing attention to it...

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Old 2nd January 2008, 07:08 PM   #9
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I would use the idea that Radio Girl suggested making fun of the confusion. Also, agree with RadioGirl about getting an outside voice for your commercial.

Also, have some special events for your retail business and make up some simple flyers to hand customers explaining you are a different business and an incentive to shop at you. Make your store as different as possible to help you in the future.

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Old 6th January 2008, 07:41 PM   #10
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I like her idea too. Making fun of it might just be fun itself. I just had 2 more incidents this past week where customers thought we are the same. One I couldn't get to understand the difference.
I let my radio rep know in detail the problem once again. I just can't help thinking they have one interest and one interest only- selling their time. They just don't get it.

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