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Competitive Analysis

Doing a competitive analysis is an important part of creating a complete marketing plan.

Who are your competitors? Identify who your competitors are, in the local market, as well as in the ecommerce market. You will want to identify the direct competitors, meaning those who provide the same product or service to the same set of customers. You may also want to identify indirect competitors, those who provide alternatives to the product or service you offer.

Which customer needs are you competing to meet? Identify what you are providing or what needs you are going to be meeting for your customers. It is imperative to know what needs you are filling, so that as you compete for them, you can do so with accuracy.

What similarities and differences are there in your products or services and your competitors? In other words, break down the pros and cons of each product or service. Where do you take the lead? Where do they? This includes quality, price, materials, etc. You can't tell your customers how you are different or better if you don't know, so buy their product or service so you can do a proper comparison.

What are your competitor strengths and weaknesses?
This will help you see what threats are present in your market, and what opportunities there are that you may or may not be taking advantage of. The strengths they present are the threats to your market share, and their weaknesses are your opportunities to take their market share. A clear picture of this can help you formulate a marketing plan to align your strengths with the opportunities that are present, and as a result see larger profits.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is equally important, you have to determine what your advantages are, so that you can capitalize on them, and determine what your weaknesses are so that you can shore them up. This will help you be the company that customers think of when the need you meet arises. A company that ignores their weaknesses, or turns a blind eye to them is a company on its way to failure. A company that does not use its strengths to gain advantage, is not using its full potential, and is losing out on customers as a result.

What ways are you going to compete? Part of your competitive analysis is determining how you can align your strengths with your opportunities. Once you determine what your competitive advantages are, you will want to use them to capitalize on opportunities, you will gain far more of the existing market share.

It takes some research and time to do a proper competitive analysis, but when complete, it will give you a clear picture of the market environment, and help you to make a plan that addresses all of the potential problems you may face, reach customers faster, and address their needs more completely, in order to gain a wider customer base, and improve existing customer relationships.

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