Why is Researching Competition Important?
Researching your competition helps you establish certain aspects to improve in your own small business. Some of the benefits associated with researching local competition are as follows:
- It helps you to have a clear idea of what most customers want and what is currently trending.
- You get to know what new products to introduce to the market that will suit your own clients needs
- It helps you come up with a competitive business plan to help your business grow.
- You get to identify gaps you can fill in the market that your competitors have not established.
How to Research Competition in Your Local Market
1. Be a Detective
As corny as it may sound, becoming a detective is a perfect strategy to learn about your local competitors. Dedicate a few hours a week to check out your competitors business, see the number of customers who visit and when they are busy. In a couple of weeks, you will have a bunch of information on when they are busy and how many people show up. You can then use this information to your to decide on the best times to be open.
2. Become a Customer
Another great way to research your competition is through buying tests. Visit your competitors store as a customer. You can find out how their staff interact with customers, what they do well and how they fall short.
3. Look at your Local Competitions Social Networks
Nowadays, most businesses open websites and other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote their products and services. Researching your competitor using these platforms will give you interesting information to help you compete and offer excellent services. An effective way to get relevant details is by reading customer reviews to learn how they feel about the business.
4. Attend Local Small Business Conferences
Business conferences and trade shows are an incredible way to help you identify the level of competition you face. As Amy Lewandowski, Head Marketing Online Retailer advises, when you attend a conference, your main focus should be learning what your competitors offer, knowing who their clients are, and seeing the quality of the products they offer. Afterward, implement the information you gathered to improve your services that will drive customers to your business.
5. Ask Your Competitors Ex-Employees
If you want to beat your competitor at their own game, speak with their previous employees. Ex-employees know every bit of their last workplace, such as their future plans, the goals of the business, markets they intend to move into, and strategies they use to cut costs and improve productivity.
6. Ask Your Customers
According to Weiss, talking to your own customers about your competitor is the easiest and cheapest method to gather information. Your existing customers may not have much knowledge; instead, focus on the new customers who have moved from another competitor. With all this information, you will see which areas you need to improve and what to focus on next.
7. Talk to Your Suppliers
There are high chances that your suppliers are also your competitors’ suppliers. Ask your suppliers the sizes of the orders they have and what products have the largest orders to determine what your competitors are buying. In return, you will get to know what your customers want.
8. Be Aware About Who Your Local Competitors Hire
Stay alert on who your local competitors hire and the positions they are hiring for. This will give you a lot of insight on your competitors future plans.
9. Conduct a Survey
Conducting a survey will give you a comprehensive report about your competitors. You can achieve this by sending your competitor business an email with questionnaires about their operations and services. With their response, you will plan how to price your products, which areas to prioritise on, and how to run your sales services to impress your clients.
10. Socialise With Your Competitors Customers
If you want to identify your competitors strengths and weaknesses, you will utilise this socialising trait with competitors customers. Once you identify their intentions, you will know which areas you need to improve to beat your competitor.
Using these strategies to research your competition will let you keep track of how your competitors are planning and managing. This will let you will strategies on how to beat them at their own game and work on your business expansion.