As an entrepreneur, you’re always looking for a competitive advantage in your marketplace. To succeed, you need to know what your competitors are up to. Maybe you’ll pick up some good ideas from them, or perhaps you’ll get ideas for actions you can take to attract their customers or to expand the marketplace. You don’t need to spend a fortune to hire analysts to perform competition research. Instead, doing a little simple research yourself can yield valuable insights.
Check Out Your Competitors Online
Have you snooped around your competitors’ websites yet? If not, it’s definitely time to start. Look at all the fine details to see how they’re trying to appeal to customers, and keep asking yourself: How can I do better? If you have an e-commerce page, see how it compares to those of your competitors in terms of ease of use — Nothing drives a customer away faster than a frustrating purchasing process! And don’t be afraid to sign up for updates from your competitors. After all, don’t you want to know when they’re featuring new products or offering special discounts?
Follow Your Competitors on Social Media
Don’t neglect your competitors on social media, because they’re definitely there, and so are your mutual customers. How many followers do your competitors have? What kind of engagement are they enjoying? Are their fans writing raves about their products or complaining about lack of customer service online? Also, don’t forget to check out user reviews on Amazon and other shopping sites to see how customers are responding to both products and services from your rivals. You might pick up some great product or marketing ideas from customer complaints.
Buy From Your Competitors
You probably don’t want to spend the money to hire an undercover shopper firm, and if you know your competitors personally, you certainly don’t want to wander into their store and start shopping. You can learn a lot by arranging for some undercover research. You might ask a friend to visit your competitors to check out their products and their customer service. Ordering products online is another way to check out how well your competitors package their goods and write instructions. Do your competitors add a little treat to their packages, such as a little piece of candy or a discount coupon for future purchases? Is the packaging witty or beautiful? These are the things you need to know to compete.
Do Your Own Competitive Analysis
Now you’ve done all your research and collected a lot of valuable data. What do you do with it? The final step is to analyze what you’ve learned. What do you know about your competitors that you didn’t know before? Did you learn that their customer service runs roughshod over the customer? Then you can do the opposite and offer a customer experience that’s caring and thorough. Did you find that your competitor is cutting prices to attract customers? Maybe you should be offering some targeted discounts to lure those customers to your business.
Align the changes you make with your own company’s values and vision. Use your competitive analysis to identify the areas in which you can shine, maximizing your own strengths while learning ways to improve.