Hopefully you have a handle on competition in your market, if not, we’ve put together a list to conduct a thorough analysis. This could be a great project for a summer intern to work on.
- How can you find competitors? Google can be a great resource. Once on Google’s search page type in related:yourdomain.com. If your company domain is www.abccompany.com type into Google search related:abccompany.com. This doesn’t always work, but when it does the results can be really useful. Next, rank these competitors based on size and those most relevant. Use an Excel spreadsheet to capture this information.
- Read through each company’s mission statement to learn about their company identity. This will help determine how relevant they are as a competitor.
- Try to gather key insights from competitor websites about their target audience. Is it similar to yours? How does it differ? Why is it different?
- Spend some time learning about competitor history and their product offering. Their history will tell you how long they’ve been in business and how they got to be where they are today. Their product offering should be compared against yours. Maybe they are selling products that you should be selling too.
- Researching competitors can help you understand market trends that you may not have realized are happening.
- Compare competitors product pricing against yours. Are they a low cost provider selling on price only? Are their categories similar to yours? If they capture customer reviews on similar products you sell, read through them to learn what consumers like and don’t like. This may provide you ideas to help your next merchandise spend. Pocketing great ideas and deploying them can help attract new or more consumers.
- Find their catalog request form and subscribe. Getting a printed copy of their catalogs can provide insight into their mail schedule and promotional offerings. Capture this in your Excel spreadsheet so you can use it later when building next year’s mail schedule. If they have a digital catalog it might make sense to make sure you do too. After all, they’re inexpensive and provide another way for consumers to see the products you sell.
- Pay attention to both their catalog and website design. Are there aspects you like that would make sense to implement? Maybe they have a mobile optimized website and you don’t, or maybe their navigation and search is easier than yours. Small details can make a big different for winning over consumers. How many times have you gone to a website where it was difficult to find a product or where the information about the product was lacking?
Schedule a post mortem with your team to review your findings. This process should take place at least annually, if not more frequently. Each time you’ll learn something new about the landscape of your market and find new ways to make sure you keep your consumers happy