“Did you Wawa today?”

Oct 10, 2002
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Be different to make a difference in bottom line performance. That was message delivered by the speakers at the NACS Show workshop, “Differentiating Yourself From the Competition.”

Bill Drake, assistant director for executive education, Cornell University, Bill Bishop, president of Willard Bishop Consulting, and Howard Stoeckel, executive vice president, Wawa, offered their views on what it takes to stand in the crowded and highly competitive retail marketplace.

Mr. Bishop (RetailWire BrainTrust member) believes there are five key practices shared by retailers that have successfully differentiated themselves in the minds of consumers.

  1. Start with what consumers want but aren’t getting.

  2. Define your points of difference in the eyes of your target consumer.

  3. Establish a clear vision.

  4. Set priorities.

  5. Gain buy-in from employees.

Mr. Stoeckel said Wawa’s goal is “to simplify our customers’ daily lives. We want to be the retail brand that customers can’t live without-a lifestyle brand. We want people to say, ‘Did you Wawa today?'”

Moderator’s Comment: What does it take for a retailer
to differentiate itself from the competition in the marketplace today?

Here are two mantras for daily retailing from Cornell’s
Bill Drake.

  1. “Everybody is not your customer.”

  2. “Differentiation is the essence of strategy.”

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