June 02, 2014

Commerce Nightmares: We're "Unique"

When you watch "Kitchen Nightmares", you'll frequently hear that the owner thinks a restaurant is "unique". They're different than everybody else - because of pumpkin hummus or some other reason.

When Mr. Ramsey goes back into the kitchen, we learn that the restaurant is not unique. It may not be clean, but it certainly isn't unique.

Do you know how often you, dear readers, tell me that your business is "unique"?
  • "We're unique because our customers do not repurchase."
  • "We're unique because our customers repurchase so often."
  • "We're unique because of dynamic pricing."
  • "We're unique because our prices haven't changed since 1982".
  • "We're unique because we offer great value and free shipping".
  • "We're unique because we sell proprietary products."
  • "We're unique because we sell branded products".
  • "We're unique because we appeal to customers age 8 to 80."
  • "We're unique because we sell in so many channels, we're #omnichannel!"
Blah blah blah ... blah.

Hint - if you can name just one company you compete with, then you are not unique, because you have a competitor doing essentially the same thing you are doing.

Too often, you, the loyal reader, tell me that your problems cannot be solved because you are unique. This is usually code for "we don't know how to solve our problems" or "we don't want to solve our problems". It's a story we tell ourselves.

Hint - the most successful companies seldom talk about being unique. They talk about selling stuff.

When you hear "we are unique", you might just be looking at a looming Commerce Nightmare.