Let’s say you sell sand. Sand is sand. Everybody has the same sand.
Or do they? Let’s say I want sand for my kid’s sandbox. Is that different than sand you’d sell to someone filling beach volleyball courts?
How much sand do you need? For what purpose? Recreational or industrial? Will you put something on top of the sand, and does that change what kind of sand you need, or whether sand is the right material to begin with?
I can buy lumber at dozens of places around town. Wood is wood.
But I go consistently to the same, family-owned lumberyard near my house for project materials. Why? I always have tons of questions. Dumb questions. And they not only answer them politely, they also nicely correct and adjust elements of my order to make it more efficient and save me money.
Same lumber as I’d buy from Home Depot, and often a little more expensive. But worth it.
Produce is a commodity, right? Apples, bananas, salad fixings. But you know as well as I that some markets get a reputation for better produce than others. Freshness, selection, custom order possibilities, etc. Price is a factor, sure. But it’s one of many.
If you play the commodity game, it’s just a race to the bottom purely on price. If you fail to differentiate, then you really are just like everyone else.
But even if you offer the exact same thing as dozens of competitors, you can still drive preference, differentiation and separation from everyone else.