Here are a few of the things you can do to ensure that you stay ahead of the competition, maintain your advantage and build a far more successful business as a result:
Know Your Competition
The first thing you need to do is work out who your business competitors are. Then, you need to find out what kinds of products and services they are offering, as well as what their unique selling point is. When you have this information, you will have a far better idea of where you need to compete and how you can go about doing so, setting your business apart from the rest. Trade events like Gift Fair 2018 are a good place to see what the competition are doing up close and personal. If you can’t attend, then looking at their website, or becoming a secret shopper, paying them a visit to see what they do and how they do it, are good alternatives.
Know Who Your Customers Are
Once you know the competition, it makes sense to try and get to know a bit more about your customers too, Customer expectations are not static, so even if they were happy with your offerings a year ago, it doesn’t mean they’ll still be interested in what you’re doing now. It’s your job to find out what they do want, what matters to them right now and what they expect from a company like yours.
Ensure Your Business Stands Out
It’s so important that you provide your customers with an excellent reason for shopping with you rather than one of the many other businesses in your niche. The best way to do this is to find your unique selling point and ensure that everyone knows about it. Obviously, this needs to be something that no one else is doing otherwise it will not be at all effective, so get your thinking hat on, think what your customers would like and do everything in your power to throw them a bone and make your company stand out as being one of the most attractive.
Ramp Up Your Marketing Campaign
Of course, sometimes it’s as simple as being the most visible business if you want to stay ahead of the competition and make more sales. After all, the more people who know about your company compared to the others in your niche, the more customers are likely to come your way. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on your marketing efforts, but you should be highly visible on social media, search engines, and if you’re a local business, in leaflets, posters, and brochures within your community. The more you sing about yourself, the more business you will do at the end of the day.
Makeover Your Image
If you’ve been in business a while and you’re looking to bring in some new customers who may not have shopped with you before, something as simple as repainting your store’s exterior, updating your website, or choosing a new colour and style for your branding is all that it takes to get yourself noticed again and beat the competition.
Take Better Care of Your Customers
It’s far more economical to keep selling to existing customers than it is to bring new customers into your business. That’s why, if you want to beat the competition and make more sales, if you’re smart, you’ll spend a lot of time ensuring that your customers are happy. Give them freebies with their orders, offer them low-cost extras, keep them up to date on new developments and ensure that your customer service is second to none and not only will they keep coming back, but they’ll review you positively and tell their friends and family to shop with you, too.
Go After New Markets
Of course, it’s still pretty sensible to go after new markets because the more people you target, the more likely they are to do business with you and that will help you to stay ahead of the game. For example, you might want to look at exploring overseas markets or selling online if you’re currently only a bricks and mortar operation. You might even want to do some market research to see if any demographics you aren’t currently targeting may, in fact, be more interested in your products than you previously thought. If you don’t pursue them, one of your competitors will and that won’t be good for your business I’m sure you’ll agree.
Sell More Stuff
Expanding the range of products you sell or services you offer is another good way to get and stay ahead of the competition. The key is to find other products and/or services that complement your own and add to the value you’re offering the customer. If you can do that, they will buy and, your business will come to be known as a one-stop-shop for your niche, which will make it a far more attractive prospect than competitors with fewer offerings.
A lot of business owners don’t like to hear it, but no matter who you are or what you are doing, you are not doing everything perfectly. There ate undoubtedly two or three areas where you could be doing better and you need to identify and improve them if you want to stay ahead of the competition, This could be anything from not targeting the right audience to not making your products sturdy enough, so do a whole company evaluation and see what you come up with.
Lower Your Prices
Okay, so this may not be possible, and it’s not always desirable if you’re trying to portray yourself as an upmarket brand, for example, but there is no denying that if you can offer the same or better quality as your competitors at a lower price, you will undoubtedly steal business away from them and put yourself in a better position, all other things being equal, of course.
Extend the Life of Your Products
Similarly, if you can create products or services that have a longer shelf-life than the competitors are able to offer, all other things being equal, the customers are going to flock to you, So, do what you can to create quality over quantity, and be sure to mention the longevity of your products in your marketing.
Simplifying your products, so that any customer can work out how to use it ion a couple of minutes, and do so effectively without any problems is a very simple way of staying ahead. I mean, you’re always going to buy the flat pack furniture that has clear, simple instructions over the one that has a 100-page manual and lots of fiddly little pieces to deal with, aren’t you?
Focus on Safety
If your products are proven to be safer than the products offered by your competitors, then more people are going to choose to give you their business than those other companies. This is a particularly good strategy to follow if you’re marketing your stuff to kids and their parents, or pet owners, for example, where safety does really matter to the people making the purchases.
If your product takes less time and effort to produce, then you can offer it at a better price and ensure that you always have it in stock, where your competitors may have more trouble doing so, and this will help you to stay ahead. Not only that but if you can also improve the efficiency of your actual product, you should see more sales too. I mean, more people are going to buy a car that gets 100 miles from a gas of tank than one that only gets 75 – it’s basic common sense.
Use a Better Design
As long as whatever it is you’re selling does whatever it is supposed to at least as well as the competition, one thing you can do to tip the scales in your favour is to improve the design of your item. There’s a reason why more people bought an iPod than a Sony Walkman – the iPod was slicker, sleeker, thinner and just plain more attractive than the bulky Walkman – appearances do matter, so make an effort to improve your offerings, and you will get ahead.
Keep One Eye on the Future
Trends change so fast in the 21st Century that, if you’re serious about being one of the top businesses in your niche, you need to keep at least one eye on the future. You always need to be monitoring trends and innovating new products and services for the future. If you stay stuck in the past, customers will eventually start to pass you by and before you know it, you’ll no longer be relevant and your business will become obsolete.
Do as many of these things as you can and your company will be well ahead of the curve and doing well in your niche.