There are a lot of things you can learn about business from Chinatown.
Entrepreneurialism is very evident among the Chinese business owners here. It’s very interesting to look at the shops and theorize what the competition must be like. You can see where the introduction of a new product to market raises the opportunity for profit and competition. You also notice many of these same principles in Internet marketing
A lot of the stores sell the same things.
While this is probably good for the distributer, it seems like a lot of competition for the same market. You have to wonder if selling the exact same trinket as the business next door is selling is a great business model. While a restaurant or hair salon can make a difference in it’s product or service over a neighbor business, does a store mid block have a chance at selling the same thing as one near the corner or parking lot?
Yes and no.
You can compete by price to get a customer share or you can market your business better than your competition. My guess is price is what most tourists are going to look at most among a bunch or stores selling tourist trinkets. Once a tourist realizes that the same thing is in every store, they are going to shop price. Judging from some prices, my guess this is what usually happens.
The best way to create sales in this type of business is by marketing your business and products instead of trying to compete on price alone.
I did not see too much of this happening for the most part. Most stores are small and difficult to get through. A few stores (even on the main street) were so full that there was no clear way to even get to the merchandise without squeezing through racks of clothes risking the you break it-you bought it line. Stores that were reasonably easy to move through and look fun to shop in are going to get more customers. At the same time, you give potential customers a clear reason to even notice your business over the others.
How about your website or blog?
Do you have something very different to offer? Are you competing with basically the same product? Are you marketing and promoting your business effectively? By that I don’t mean just anonymous back links. One way to separate yourself from competition is by developing relationships with your potential clients or readers.