In business, you always need to know what your competitors are doing. To survive you must perform competitive intelligence activities and monitor the broader market for new developments that could affect your company, your products and brands, suppliers, and distributors.
Tracking your competitors is the only way to make to make sure you are thwarting threats, taking advantage of opportunities, marketing effectively, and, ultimately, winning in the marketplace. By performing competitive intelligence, you will significantly increase your margins and profitability.
There’s one resource that’s often underutilized in this regard: your competitors’ Web sites.
Today’s digital footprint, while increasing corporate transparency and yielding greater power to consumers in the marketing dialogue, enables marketers to measure conversions. Companies spend enormous sums of money on maintaining their Web sites so that they can attract and influence prospects, customers, and analysts.
Your competitors may wish they could block you from their Web sites, but remember that the information they post there is public. If you aren’t harvesting this rich – and free – resource of competitive intelligence, you are the loser!
The biggest problem faced by small businesses, and indeed large business trying to gather data about their competitors activities is the sheer volume of data, and the time that has to be invested in gathering it. This is where tailored services like DataVault™ can help.
Here are a couple of things you must do regularly to effectively track your competitors and uncover their not so hidden secrets:
1. Identify your competitors.
Now, this may seem odd to you. You’re probably thinking, “doesn’t a company know who its competitors are?” Not always. New firms come seemingly out of nowhere, preempting existing companies with different technologies or approaches they never saw coming.
Often a company in an adjacent area will change its positioning to try and address your market, or a new startup may emerge in a related area. You need to create a master list of your key competitors and make sure you keep this up to date.
More often than not in todays market place you find that the businesses most at risk are those in town center locations when one of the large supermarket brands moves into the area. In this situation it is more important than ever to ensure that you fill the gaps in the product lines, or levels of service offered by those stores, and to do that you need to know the types of products they are selling, what brands are most popular, and although competing on price might seem like the obvious goal, it can be just as effective to compete on stock availability. All information which is usually up-for-grabs on the stores own web site.
2. Once you have identified your competition decide on what data you want and how to get it.
It might seem obvious but you are probably not interested in comparing every product your competitor sells, and given that it can be a real challenge to match one line of products offered by one store with those offered by another you would be well advised to start small and concise. Electrical goods like televisions are easy to compare because they have universal makes and model numbers, whereas fruit and veg come in different quantities, with different offers and are often grouped by the shelf and isle they are displayed in, so think about how you are going to compare the data once you have obtained it.
Also don’t forget that all important stock level because if you are large enough there is a good chance your competitors will be monitoring your prices too, and nothing will drive down profit more than a price war.
3. Now that you know where the data is and what data you want, contact us at MarabouStork and let us retrieve it for you.
DataVault™ is a series of SAAS (Software as a service) products that we can configure to selectively crawl through areas of just about any web site, extracting the information from the pages it encounters on the way. Part of the DataVault™ suite will, DataVault™ Combine will collect product information from different stores for you based on your criteria, and if you prefer, rather than provide the information to you in a spreadsheet we can deliver a report detailing your competitive position based on any number of metrics you define.
Register your interest here and receive a free sample of your competitors data or alternatively click on the “Request your sample” at the top of this page.