Monday 21st March 2011 One Thing Almost All Start Ups Forget
In order to monitor competitors, you need to dedicate some time to planning the whole process. Rather than just googling them every so often, you are better off using a systematic approach. If you monitor your competition, you will be aware of any threats that might pose a risk to your new venture. This might simply be a new product they are introducing which you won't be offering, or some completely new management who have a new vision for the company.
Set up a 'listening post' on the internet using some free tools, such as Google Alerts and Google Reader, to monitor your competitor's name for mentions across the web, or any other keywords you feel are important. This doesn't take long to do, and then once you've done it you simply wait for the information to come to you. If you follow all of your competitor's blogs through Google Reader, then you can be safe in the knowledge that any new information they make public you will be aware of.
You could take this a step further and actually 'scrape' your competitors sites, which can be ideal for businesses that have a large website. If there is so much information on it that you find it difficult to make sense of it all, then this is ideal for you. Check out IntelligentEye if you're interested in this.
Monitoring competitor pricing is another useful tool. Even if you are small, our own £35/month package should cover you, and for that you will have all your competitor's pricing data pooled into your own log in area for simple analysis. Monitoring competitor pricing is of course only applicable to ecommerce businesses, but at least check it out if that's what you are starting up.
Where else can you get intelligence on your competitors? In all honesty, being proactive is all that is really necessary. Look at competitor's advertising, what products/services are they pushing and why? who are they aiming it at? If you are on their mailing list, take a look at what they are sending out to you.
The key to monitoring competitors is the ability to gather data from every aspect of your competitor's businesses and then condensing it so that you can learn from it.
This post is about how start ups forget to monitor competitors, but an ever bigger sin is actually doing it but then failing to act on it! Whether you are doing competitor price monitoring, social media monitoring, or a combination of the lot, unless you act on the information you have gathered, you won't be strengthening your position in your marketplace. So if you want your new venture to stand out from the crowd, make sure you put this intelligence to use and ACT ON IT!
Monday 14th March 2011 How To Maximise On The Booming Ecommerce Sales
So what does this mean for your ecommerce business? Well now is the time to capitalise on this willingness to buy online. This is further evidence that people turn to the internet for more and more of their purchases. With so many potential shoppers, it is crucial that you are aware of your competitors pricing so that you can stay one step ahead and be the preferred choice when people shop the web. Using a competitor price monitoring service allows you to do this via tracking your competitors pricing and reporting back to you.
With the price of oil being so high, shoppers are staying indoors, and if they rise any higher online sales are likely to rise even more.
As we all know, the first thing shoppers do is hunt around for the best prices once they're online, especially when they have a lot of time on their hands. So the ability to be alerted of any changes to competitors pricing means you can always offer the best prices. It really is as simple as that. Whats more is that not a great deal of etailers currently make use of competitor price monitoring, so its a great opportunity for those that do give it a shot. When you consider the benefits of tracking competitors pricing, you will see that it is well worth the small investment. Some companies offering it will offer a free trial, so you've nothing to lose. A simple search for 'competitor price monitoring' will return you some good options.
Good luck heading into Q2 2011!