The main purpose of competitor analysis is to figure out the position of the company with respect to competitors. Finding out the closest and the major competitors requires analysing the marketing strategy of each company. The main stages of competitor analysis are as follows: major and closest competitors identification, analysis, strengths and weaknesses identification. This basic approach is proving itself for almost 10 years at HTP, digital marketing agency Manchester famous for pushing its innovative partners (grapheme, ultrasound players and many more) to the top league quickly and diligently.
Major competitors determination typically starts from exploring the visual part of activities and company representation sources (business fields catalogs, advertising, internet representation and etc.). Pay close attention should be paid to large companies, innovative approaches, new products, etc.
The next step is analyzing the activity of several enterprises from the main competition group. Visit corporate and sales websites and to learn more about:
- products or services offered
- differences between the proposals
- promotion channels (warehouse shipping, direct delivery service via the Internet, partnerships with distributors and etc.)
- website appearance and functionality
- the characteristics and features of trade organisation
- promotional activities (proposals, advertising campaigns, etc.)
- the strengths and weaknesses from the point of a customer’s point of view
- the goals and their achievement methods
- areas where a competitor has huge market advantage
- unique selling propositions (try to link the propositions with the goals)
- what are the disadvantages in competing offerings made to the site
If possible, write down the names of key employees to find any publications and interviews; thus, you will be able to obtain comprehensive information on the company’s activities.
Online Merchandising Approaches
Ideally, comprehensive merchandising strategy represents a complex program that features a system that covers interrelations with customers, trading networks and manufacturer, monitors and facilitates sale of goods in the trade network and, of course, aims at driving sales. Many of the principles and tools of standard merchandising used in real stores are successfully applied in online stores; however a number of peculiarities is needed to be taken into account.
For example, particular groups of items are best sold via the Internet; selfsame, some products rarely catch the fancy of online buyers. In virtual space, merchandising principles are almost the same for all product groups, which is explained by a special format of presentation of information on the website and information perception online visitors.
The difference is that everything that the buyer sees the online store, in a certain way the information provided in the form of images, text or video content. Online stores visitors are rarely granted the opportunity to consult company reps (chats, video conferences and other methods not counted); thus, product information can only be obtained from the website, so the behavior and motivation of visitors online store buyers and regular stores is different.
Enhancing customers experience
The goals of online merchandising are virtually the same as in brick and mortar merchandising. Thus, all the activities also aim at improving the competitiveness of the store (the brand), earning customers’ loyalty, effective products management, reducing expenses for promotion maintaining high efficacy at the same time, allocate and demonstrate goods efficiently and, of course, increase sales. However, taking into account the heterogeneous nature of online business, the top league reps like HTP digital marketing Manchester practice a sweeping variety of other techniques and methods. Content marketing, SEO, savvy cross-browser design and dozens of other tools and strategies – this is what HTP is focusing on additionally