Another store has opened up or YOU are the new store. Business is slow and you really feel its because of that competition. Their prices are too low, or they seem to draw in all the big accounts. Whatever it is, you suspect it’s them and they are holding you back from success.
Here is the catch.. how do you really know? What evidence do you have?
In this episode we are going to take a dive into your competition to figure out a few things:
1. Are they actually taking business from you?
2. Are you competing in the same market, for the same customers?
3. Are they targeting your business / customers?
4. A step by step guide to answering the above and more.
Step 1 – Identification
This step is crucial. You may have an idea who your competition is, but its important to dig deep and find out all of your potential competitors. The shop down the street with the big sign might feel like your biggest competition, when in fact they don’t deal within your niche. So its important to dig deep.
- Online – Google, Bing, FB, Instagram, Linked in – These are the big 5 to start searching for competition.
- What keywords do your customers find YOU with? For example if you search Custom T-Shirts Your City – who shows up?
- Ask your customers- Talk to local business owners that do buy from you.. and those that don’t but own custom apparel.
- Hit the streets – Go to places where you customers go and look for signs of competition. Ball games, local businesses, events. Ask THEM where they got their gear.
Step 2 – Look at their marketing / branding
Check out their Facebook account, ads they run, website, store location. This is going to help you determine what customers they attract and how they get the business.
Use this to build a profile for each competitor. Write it down!
- What is their brand personality?
- Do they spend a lot in ads?
- Do they appear to have a sales team?
- What type of customer do they attract? (corporate, sports, schools, etc.)
Step 3 – Shop them
Become their customer or shop with them acting like you will be. Check out their pricing and their process and answer the following:
- What is their price for: 1 offs, 10 shirts, 100 shirts, hats, etc.
- Do they charge for set up, digitizing, art , etc.
- Do they require a deposit?
- What is their delivery time?
- What shirts do they use?
- What technology do they use? (DTG, embroidery, screen, etc)
- Look at their online reviews.
Step 4 – Compare and Contrast
Create a spreadsheet and start with you. Take all of your research and compile it into something easy to read and evaluate.
What you will do with this data is:
- Determine who toughest competitors will be.
- Determine where you shine.
- See room in the market for new technology or niches.
- Find out if someone even competes with you at all.
- Help you figure out the next steps.
In the next episode we are going to discuss if you need to work on any rebranding, restructuring or reinvesting. Now that you know about your competition you know a few things:
1. Is the competition real or is it you aren’t doing well enough drumming up business in your nice.
2. Are you competing way to close in a tough market and need to make changes.
3. If you were to make changes… what might they be?