It does not matter what industry you operate in, competition is everywhere. The world has become a saturated place and everyone’s looking at winning the battle, and making more profits. Since customers, and in turn money, is limited, one person’s gain is another person’s loss. This is why it is important to stay ahead of competition.
Even online businesses faces stiff competition. Biggies like Google have to beat other search engine networks like Bing and Yahoo! to stay on top. Even eBay faces stiff competition from Amazon.
So if you have any sort of a business, physical or online, you need to pay attention to the pointers given below.
1) Study Your Competition
It is very important to study from your competition. There are many companies that do not consider their competition as competition and end up regretting it later. Studying your competition will help you do a lot of things. You can even come out with new concepts simply by studying what your competition offers and what it lacks.
Snapchat, for example, has an edge over other messaging tools because it’s content is time sensitive. It allows users to check out images and videos, without giving them the ability to save the viewed content, which is a quality other apps, like Facebook Messenger, lack.
2) Learn From Their Mistakes
It is very important to see the mistakes your competition has made if you want to be in the race. Many big corporations like World Championship Wrestling (WCW) are nowhere to be seen simply because they did not innovate or failed to understand from their competitor’s mistakes.
Your competition can be a good ‘case study’. For example, Coke was able to learn from Pepsi’s mistakes and improved its taste before launching in other nations.
3) See The Strategy
When it comes to learning from your competition, you need to pay attention to everything from human resource strategy to marketing strategy to supply chain strategy. All this combined helps a time tracking business succeed.
You can read online reviews about your competitor’s business or its products to see what people think of it, thus helping you think of way to improve your business. This is a part of market research that is done not only before the launch of a product or service but also after its launch.
4) You Can Borrow Ideas
Some ideas have to be replicated. This is a common practice in the world of entertainment and fashion where it is known as inspiration. However, when it comes to stealing information or ideas one has to keep the legal requirements in mind as you might get into some kind of trouble if the information is supposed to be confidential or if the product is registered.
A good example is KFC’s Zinger Burger which was a major hit and is now sold by various sellers but under different names and a different recipe.
5) Advertise Effectively
Advertisement is one of the most important factors. Consider this example, you sell food online and there is a person who is on your competitor’s website looking at ordering food. How would that person react if he or she sees your company’s banner on that same site offering the same dish at cheaper rates? Chances are that the person will instantly click on the advertisement and you will have a new customer.
This strategy is now possible with the help of Google Adwords and other such tools that target your audience in an effective manner. This is why we often see billboards of KFC in front of McDonalds. This is simply another way of trying to tell your customers that you’re better than your competition.
6) Buy Competition
Take example of Snapchat which 77% of American college students are said to use on a daily basis. Facebook tried to buy Snapchat, but the company turned down the offer that is said to be worth $3 billion. Int his example, Mr. Zuckerberg was trying to buy competition, but failed. On the other hand, some companies have successfully merged or bought competition such as Elance and Odesk that are now merged and called UpWork.
This can be beneficial as you will simply use your competition to get all their resources and customers as well.
7) Use Psychology to Win
You can use psychology to win customers as well. Research has proven that customers are always looking for new alternatives, even if what they already have is good enough. This is a psychological behavior that requires people to always be on a lookout for something new.
A good example is Apple and Microsoft and their advertising. Both companies hit where it hurts the most and try to outdo each other. They are simply playing psychologically trying to lure in customers.
So if you are in a business trying to outdo your competition, make sure you use the tips mentioned above. These will give you an edge over your competitors and allow you to float while others drown.
How has your business tried to use the competition to boost sales? Share in the comments below.
Originally published Nov 06, 2015, updated Aug 10, 2020