The reality is that your marketplace is massively competitive. There are a large number of big names out there, which makes identifying and communicating your USP’s in the online retail world challenging in its own right. However, this is where you need to don your Sherlock hat and pipe, and get investigating. If you can monitor your competitors, and see their most impactful moves, you’re now in a better position to make better, more profitable decisions. Competitor tracking and online price intelligence data could prove to be the weapon you need.
So, what signs indicate the need for competitor tracking data to make more profitable decisions within your business? And how do you use competitor intelligence to your decision-making advantage?
#1 - Proactive, Not Reactive
That’s not a typo. Retail 101 has possibly taught you that you need to be proactive in your sales and marketing approach. However, this is a general rule of thumb which isn’t always applicable, particularly to smaller to medium sized businesses.
The harsh reality is that, if you’ve got some big name competitors that you’re fighting against, you need to follow their lead to some degree. This is because you simply cannot operate in isolation when Amazon, or one of the larger cycle retailers, makes a marketing or pricing move. Your voice will be lost in a marketplace where price is the major determiner of loyalty.
Action: Be reactive to the marketplace. This means watching your competitors and reacting to their price and marketing moves. If they run a promotion, you run a similar one for example. The only way to do this, without it becoming a full-time job in itself, is by having your finger on the pulse through a competitive price monitoring tool.
#2 Your competitors are making more Sales
Remember the saying: ‘keep your friends close, but your enemies closer’? That rule can also be applied to the world of e-commerce. You need to know exactly who your successful competitors are, what they are doing, how they are doing it and when they are doingit.
The important principle is awareness. Once you have awareness about your competitors then you can use it as powerful information to make profitable decisions.
Action: The good news is that the information you need isn’t secret. You just need to know how to find it. Price comparison websites and price trackers are a great start. However, getting more accurate information about who your competitors are, and what they are doing requires a wiser competitor analysis tool, such as Competitor Monitor.
#3 Your promotional offers are not converting
A big red flag that you need to use competitor tracking data to make more profitable decisions is that your promotional offers are falling flat and not receiving the uptake you hoped for.
Promotions are generally planned to increase sales. They therefore cannot be conducted in a vacuum, but need to be in line with either what your competitors are doing or driven by intelligence that allows your retail business to fully maximise the promotional opportunity. Unless you’re a giant player in your industry vertical, it’s fair to assume you will be following promotional trends rather than setting them.
For example, it’s no good offering a 5% discount if your competitor is offering 10%: You are simply eating into your profit margins for no reason due to the lack of insight. Similarly, if you know your competitor is offering £20 towards their next purchase, you can offer similar, a free gift or incentive i.e. free shipping.
Action: Get to know your “real” competitors, when they run promotions, the details of the promotions and which products they affect, and monitor them. This requires being a continual Price Spy and undertaking efficient and valuable (rather than blanket) competitive price monitoring. Competitor Monitor is a next-generation, fully customised online price intelligence solutions for monitoring competitor promotions round the clock.
#4 Your competitors stock products you don’t
If you don’t know your competitor’s stock lists as well as you know your own then you’re missing a trick in maximising every opportunity to maximise sales and potentially, profit margins also. The internet has changed the landscape of customer loyalty putting customers in the driving seat and retailers doubling their efforts to attract and keep customers. Customers today chase both ease and price. They want choice, and they want it affordably.
This is could prove a difficult path for smaller to medium-sized online retailers who don’t benefit from the same economies of scale, or the same influence within supplier relationships. However, this doesn’t mean the problem can be avoided.
Action: Don’t feel overwhelmed, but home in your attentions to key product lines. Use competitor tracking data to pay particular attention to your main ‘money-makers’ and how your competitors are pricing, marketing, and promoting them.
#5 Customer loyalty is decreasing
Purchase decisions are emotive. You not only need to know what your fan base think of your business, but the honest truth about what the market thinks of you. This allows you to accurately target your potential market and maximise returns.
The same is also true for knowing about your competitors and what their customers (and your customers) think of them. What do they like? What do they dislike? What makes them happy, cross, frustrated, or ready to grab their credit card?
Action: In the age of social media, there’s no excuse for not knowing what your customers and your marketplace think about you, and about your competitors. The information is there from their websites, to social media profiles, to ad campaigns. However, having your finger on the pulse of all of those channels can be incredibly time consuming.
Competitor Monitor enables you to monitor reviews without having to trawl through them all. It’s a valuable tool which gives insight in to reputation without the legwork.
Making profitable decisions is the essence of a good cycle and cycle accessory business. Competitor analysis and competitive pricing is central to those profitable pricing strategies and decisions. If you are ...
- More proactive than reactive
- In the dark about who your competitors are, and what they are doing
- Wondering why your promotions aren’t working
- Not aware of what your customers think
Then you need to start using competitive tracking data. For a demo of how Competitor Monitor can work for your business, try the informative Demo.