Checking out your Competition

Checking out the CompetitionIn this day and age, competition in retail comes from every direction. From big box stores carrying a vast amount of merchandise to the internet providing anything imaginable at the touch of a button, getting ahead can be a challenge.

Knowing exactly what you are up against will shed light on ways you can improve your retail business. What is the competition doing differently than you are to bring in customers and boost sales? Having a firm grasp of your competition’s strengths and your weaknesses can offer new ideas to increase sales.

Check out the Website

Go to the websites of your closest competitors and compare it to yours. Ask a person, who can provide an honest objective opinion, to do the same. Or, have the person/agency in charge of your marketing or SEO take a comparative look and give you a detailed report. How easy is it to find a specific item on their site compared to yours? Is there any difficulty navigating the site? Does the entire site feel on-brand? Does the site quickly solicit your email address? What does their site look like on your phone as well as your desktop? Lastly, make a purchase and count how many steps it takes to complete. Is it much shorter or easier than yours? Often customers will bounce if the checkout process is too complicated or lengthy.

Check out the Store

If your competition has a brick and mortar location close to you, take some time shop there. Ask yourself what this space has that you are lacking. Anything from a friendlier staff, to a more organized display can pull customers away from your store and drive them to the competition. How easy is it to checkout? Many retail stores are now using mobile POS checkout systems, decreasing customer wait time in lines. Ask employees questions about products, about bonus programs, loyalty programs and frequent shopper programs. Anything that may give a customer an incentive to shop here rather than your store.

Check out the Marketing

Sign up for your competitor’s emails to see the overall look of their email campaigns, as well as the frequency with which they are sent and promotions offered. How does this compare to your own email program? After visiting the website and adding a product to your cart, do ads continue to “follow” you around the web? When you do a search for similar products, who is appearing at the top of the organic results? What about paid search (PPC)? Are there ads on Google through the shopping program? All of these are areas where you could be losing sales, but also areas where you can make significant gains. Be open to hiring someone to help with marketing or invest in a class if hiring someone is out of the question.

Knowing exactly what the competition is doing to woo new customers and keep current customers coming back will lead to increases in sales and traffic. Being honest and realistic about your shortfalls and the reasons for them can help to grow your business. What is preventing you from a more robust marketing strategy? Budget or knowledge? Taking a hard look at the competition really equates to taking a deeper look at your own business and finding opportunities for growth you may not know you have.

If you would like to get more information on Retail Displays and Accessories, you can shop for them on our website, Specialty Store Services, and if have a question that you would like answered immediately, we have Live Chat, or phone us at 800-999-0771.