Competition is a part of the business. When you start an eCommerce business, you’ll need to have a complete assessment of your competitors. Once you have that, it is essential to explore any gaps that the current business is missing or places where innovation can give you a competitive edge. Here are the four steps you should take to assess your competition and take action to ensure your eCommerce business is successful.
Step 1: Discover Your Competition
The first step is to find your competitors. You can’t compete if you don’t know the other players. Your competition is the businesses that offer the same product like the one you are planning to offer. Create a basic excel worksheet. List the company name and identifying information such as price point, website quality, and product variation. You can break down the competitors into two categories. Ones that are in your general industry and ones that are not.
In eCommerce, there is no location limit. These companies can be in your town or a different country. If they are your competition, anyone can find them online. Then there are the competitors that aren’t in your industry. These are companies that your desired customer already uses that happen to sell your desired products. It’s important to remember these companies; they are your competitors, too, even if it doesn’t seem obvious.
For example, if you sell gourmet popcorn, places like Amazon are an industry competitor. They sell many things, including gourmet popcorn, so it may not seem like it is. Keep that in mind as you compile your competitor data.
Step 2: Competing Factors
Other companies aren’t the only point of competition. Other factors play their part, too; some may even render your product obsolete in the future. To prepare for these changes and adapt quickly, you have to understand what these factors are. Here is a couple to consider.
Laws and regulations
The law is constantly changing, and the start today may not be the standard in three months. Changes in the law can directly affect your bottom line if your company is not meeting the new standards. Keep up to date on upcoming changes in laws and regulations and adapt early rather than late.
While you should never make long-term business decisions based on trends, they should still be watched closely. Innovation can change how your customers find you, how they shop with you; always strive to give your customer shopping choices and meet them where they already are
Step 3: Find Your Competitors’ Strength Then Be Better
Think about why your customers are going to a competitor. Look at the reviews on their website, study what people say about them in person and online. Then take note of what you hear. Look at the products they offer and not the quality. It is very high—also, marketing and branding matter. If your competitors have a fantastic marketing strategy or a unique payment model, you know that this is what you need to bring to your customers.
Sometimes companies have a competitive advantage that you can necessarily overcome. These are the unique aspects that a company may have that you won’t have access to. Examples of competitive advantage are patents and proprietary technology that they will own exclusively for an extended period. They can also be things like cultural ties or long-term contracts that may keep them ahead of you. While you may not be able to conquer these advantages head-on, you can carve out your unique space too.
Hone in on your competitor’s sales funnel and marketing strategy. Why is there marketing reaching customers? What about it makes it so responsive. Think about all of these from your customer’s point of view. Think about what you would enjoy about how your competitors do things and what could make you even happier. This is how you win those customers.
Step 4: Take Action
Now that you have assessed who your competition is and their strengths, it’s time to formulate a game plan. Taking action is about focusing more on your business than others. It is about taking the research you’ve done on other successful companies and finding the angle that makes you better. This won’t happen overnight. Give yourself around six months to do your research and find the right angles.
Taking action means that you innovate. Don’t just copy what you see other companies do. This is especially true if you are new. Think about it, why would a customer leave a company they trust for a company they don’t know for the same product? The answer is they wouldn’t so be different. Create that unique value and always put your customers first. Look for the gaps because there are still gaps for your company to exploit even if they aren’t obvious, and your research should show that.
Remember that research should never stop, and there is always something new to learn or improve on.
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