HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS AND SUPPLIERS
What are competitors?
Every business faces some sort of competition. But the question is, who is your competitor?
The answer to this question is, anyone whom your customer may prioritize over you to purchase the goods or services is your competitor. Instead of another business offering a substitute, it may be the same product or service that you offer that may take your money away from you thereby making it redundant. In the present era of increased internet marketing, your competitors do not only include your immediate neighbors but businesses from other countries as well.
Who are the suppliers?
Any person or a business that provides products or services to other businesses or a person is called a supplier. It is like a middle-man between the producer and retailer. The supplier purchases products from the producers and supplies them to the retailer to resale. He ensures the good quality of the product and the proficiency of communication. In the present world of increasing haste and competition, companies and businesses need to closely coordinate and communicate with the suppliers so that they get the best of products.
HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS?
Although conducting a competitors’ research is not much difficult, it goes beyond a simple google search. So, let’s see what does it demand…
Competitor research requires some critical steps:
- Identify your competitors:
Competitors are always present in the market and are more likely as ravenous as you are. Identify your competitors in your respective industry. Start your search through Google or Amazon simply with your products, business names, or business idea. Explore them on social media, news, online communities, and niche organizations.
As soon as you identify your competitors, categorize them into primary, secondary, and tertiary competitors. Maintain documentation with easy tracking basics, for example, location, name of store, strengths & weaknesses, product offering, competition category, etc.
- Examine the customer experience and website of your competitors:
To examine your competitors more closely, analyze their websites and take a close look at their product photography, product descriptions, call to actions, positions of their social media icons, blog posts, mobile optimization, contact methods & response time, marketing banners and promotions, etc.
Here you can analyze your competitive advantage within your particular marketplace.
- Identify the market positioning strategy of your competitors:
Check up on their website and look for what products the customers are buying from them as well as if the customers are going for price. Check for the benefits and features they mostly highlight in their marketing copy. Note their opinion about what features make their product unique from others.
- Check out their pricing strategy:
Check the pricing strategy of your competitors. Although many factors count while setting up the price of your products, the best start is to research the prices your competitors have set for their products. Check for the competitors’ prices on various platforms including Google, Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay. After this research, you will be able to set competitively better prices for your products, although they must not necessarily be lower than those of your competitors.
- Check the customer reviews:
Spare a sufficient amount of time to research the customer reviews of your competitors from product reviews to business reviews on their social media and website. Check out the comments their customers left on their blog.
- Review your competitors’ social media:
Checking up on the social media of your competitors has many benefits. Analyze the social media of your competitors for their followers, customers’ engagement, as well as the activity of your competitors on social media. If they have a decent following, it means that your product has a scope in the market. But it also means that you will need to come up with some new competitive advantage and will have to appear on social media having sufficient following.
HOW TO RESEARCH YOUR SUPPLIERS?
To continue satisfying the customers through an efficient supply chain, companies need to ensure accurate and timely delivery of products and services from their suppliers. Researching the suppliers involves a fact-based analysis of the performance and potential of the suppliers. There are some basic steps to follow while conducting a suppliers’ research.
- Analyze supplier performance through various metrics:
Measure the suppliers’ performance through data analytics across various metrics including accuracy of orders, the time taken to deliver, delivery of damaged products, performance over a specific time, variations in product pricing, specific-market performance, and the number of orders-DIFOT i.e. Delivered In Full, On-Time.
Use these metrics as a sign of warning as well as to improve the performance proactively. These data analytics also help to identify the failures to meet agreements as well as the gaps in suppliers’ performance.
- Delivery performance:
Analyzing and researching the DIFOT metric is a critical step while researching the suppliers. It is very important to analyze how well your suppliers fulfill their orders. The delivery performance of suppliers also identifies the suppliers who fail to meet the deadlines or those who do not deliver the full quantities ordered as smaller shipments tend to increase the cost as compared to deliveries in full.
The actual lead times of the suppliers can be measured through the Order Completion cadent. The lead times are important for companies to maintain suitable stock levels. So, the suppliers who do not mention the time of shipment and expected delivery dates may create a problem.
- Profit margins as compared to prices:
Compare the prices of the products offered by your suppliers with those you are already purchasing to ensure the profit margins at their best. While comparing the prices, be sure to consider the hidden cost of specific suppliers along with the direct cost. The hidden costs may include low DIFOT, inaccurate lead times, incorrect orders, as well as other compliance issues.
Before appearing in a competitive market, sufficient and appropriate research on competitors and suppliers is a powerful tool to show a good appearance in the market. Any person or business that can take your customers and away from you are the competitors, while the ones who act as a middle-man between producer and retailers are the suppliers. To research the competitors and suppliers, several easy and handy strategies are explained in this article.