How to Conduct Effective Online Competitor Research
It is a widely held opinion that the method of competitor research is one of the most important elements to your online business success. Yet, you may have found yourself thinking that you do not need any competitor research. This is fine if you are a very small online business and can ignore competitor searches altogether.
However, for a small online business, using this information in your efforts to find new customers is critical. And, your search for an effective method of competitor research should start with an assessment of what type of business you have.
For example, if you have a craft business or even a retail store, you probably will not be involved in selling clothing on the Internet. So, while you may want to conduct a quick search, your search should be targeted toward the brick and mortar business models. A larger online retailer, however, might be more competitive because they sell everything from bottled water to towels, from flowers to groceries. Even if they are not in the retail business, there is still going to be an enormous amount of information in their marketplace because their products are so often sold directly to consumers on the Internet.
If you are a very small online business, this means that you are competing with large companies for customers who need, or want, to purchase a product that is sold on the Internet. It is the price that will determine which businesses survive and which businesses do not.
Some other businesses, though, specialize in a service or business that is hard to find on the Internet. Do you have a copywriting service that provides information about a particular topic to the consumer? Or do you sell pet food or training gadgets online?
Even a small Internet business can be very competitive and has a lot riding on each sale. Of course, in a smaller market, you are going to need a very robust method of competitor research to determine which business models are offering a quality product.
You can use the same method of competitor research in the smaller market as well, just as long as you choose to target the two very different business models on the Internet, those of the brick and mortar businesses and those of the Internet. Again, the price is the determining factor.
You will want to make sure that your online business is not undercutting the competition by offering low prices. The final word of caution here is for all Internet businesses to make sure that they are offering top-quality services and products that are of value to the consumer.
In a highly competitive field such as the Internet, even a small discount could make a difference. By simply having a good product to offer and a price point that does not involve deception, you can attract customers.
Look for a business that offers superior customer service. Perhaps you will see them as the discount outlet that is better able to stand behind their product.
But, even if the discount retailer is not offering great service or is hiding something from you, that price point may still work for you. Since you will be targeting your business to a very specific group of consumers, the price can be a good way to market your company to them.
Finally, as you market to your online business and the smaller Internet market, remember that your target audience is the consumer. It is not only their desire for your product, but their need for it that will help you attract them to your business model.