Of course, those fruit suppliers lose. When customers perceive two products as the same, the sellers' options are reduced to a price war. The delighted customer simply shops several stores, browses the Internet, finds the lowest price, and - bingo - buys the cheapest product. The stores' margins sink. In fact, their margins stink.
My last installment of The Art of Retail Management described the importance of retooling your business into a well-oiled machine. Such operational excellence is one of three critical disciplines common among market leaders. The other two are product leadership and customer intimacy, as defined by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their book, "The Discipline of Market Leaders."