As a small business owner, understanding what customers want and keeping up with trends is no easy task. And, yes, you may have your loyal followers that will buy whatever you offer, but the reality is the attention span of most consumers is short, and they are always looking for the newest, brightest thing. That is why competitor analysis is critical to identify what the market is delivering with their products, services and social media strategy and leverage that data for your own small business.
Using data intelligence from competitive analysis is something that large corporations have been doing for a long time. Take as an example the latest retail news where Walmart is offering a new service called Walmart+, at $98 per year, with same-day delivery of groceries and other purchases. Of course, this is a direct answer to Amazon Prime, as Walmart understood the new and established consumer behavior, especially after the sharp rise of online shopping during a pandemic and used something from their competitor’s playbook to provide something they know is now essential for their customer base.
And this is the key concept: competitors analysis is not “selling your soul” and copying what other business are doing. It means understanding what consumers are seeking, identifying what the market is offering and figuring out what are the gaps in your portfolio that can be used to expand your sales.
Choose your data sources for competitive analysis
Even if you are a local business that still does not have a robust online presence, if you have a time on your hands and an internet connection, competitive analysis becomes a feasible and cost-effective strategy. Literally, all your potential consumers are online, and most of them loves to give their opinions on what they consume and interact positively or negatively with businesses on social media and consumer review platforms.
You can start by using of the basic concepts of social listening, mapping your key competitors on sites like Yelp and Facebook, and seeing what type of reviews are they receiving from customers, how is their social media marketing strategy, what type of content generates better engagement from followers and what trends are they following to offer something new to consumers.
Always try to identify outliers and fading trends. As a competitor analysis example, you should be looking for ideas that are being practiced by more that one business and you must hear through the noise of positive comments that sometimes come from family members, friends, or employees.
Actually, the danger here is getting lost in a black hole (we’ve all done this on YouTube), as you keep going to different profiles and sites and end up seeing conflicting signals and cannot pinpoint exactly how to use this information. Always remember to establish a strategy before going into this fight: a large volume of information does not mean effective data intelligence!
Data analytics is critical to find the needle in the haystack
As we mentioned before, competitor research is just a small piece of this puzzle. You must extract, compile, and process this data to transform what you have gathered into something that you can use. Data visualization techniques are important here, whether you are doing this yourself as an SME owner, as work that you will share with other members of your team, or as a small business assistance consultant. Translating this data into easy to read charts, user-friendly reports and providing actionable insights that can be tracked is probably the most important part of this job.
Think about it as an elevator pitch for your business: if you are not able to easily and quickly explain to others what to do with this information, I hate to say it, but probably you just wasted a lot of your precious time.
Data analytics comes in hand here as you can use tools and solutions that will save you time both to gather the information from multiple sources, as well as structure it in the best way to optimize your analysis.
That is why our team at Spark SMB Data developed a software that allows us to leverage all the information available from the main platforms to deliver a fast and complete picture of where your business stands in the market and what you can do to improve your position and attract more customers. And our experienced analysts provide custom analysis, specific to your reality, displayed in an actionable, visual report that will help you make decisions instantly.
The Number: $98
The Action: Competitor insights are available for any small business. Join this trend and use this data intelligence to expand your market.
Check out more posts on data driven intelligence in our blog.