Competition is bound to exist in every business, and for any brand to stand out, there’s the need to adopt competitive advantage strategies. The truth remains that many new businesses or existing ones trying to strategize often feel intimidated with the competition. Most times, such competition affects pricing, promotion, and planning.
However, there are different levels to this competition thingy. A market with very high competition poses a different scenario than marketing with lesser competition. We’ll be dealing on competition and how to gain a competitive advantage in your niche.
How possible is it to stand out in a competitive market? Is it possible to build a sustainable business and have customers buying from me even when many others are selling the same thing?
Whenever you’re launching a new business, it’s obvious that finding customers is one of the biggest steps to take. There are several ways to achieve this; ranging from topnotch marketing strategies to selling at pop-ups to SEO. However, what works best for you depends on what you sell, your customers and your approach.
Now, the issue lies in making potential customers buy from you when they have numerous options to choose. You may want to back out, hoping to find a product with less competition. But the fact remains that one day, the so-called less-competitive product will face huge competition, and you’ll be kicked out if you don’t take action.
Gregory Macdonald, a Merchant Success Manager who founded Bathorium, a brand that caters to luxury bath products shared his experience and how competition made him develop a great product that grew to be successful.
Conduct Competitor Research and Know What They Sell
Bathorium hit the limelight after a transformative bath in Italy. Macdonald was living at an AirBnB and was shocked at the bath products that were stacked by his host. She drew him a bath and the number of salts, oils and other products utilized offered an unmatched experience.
Gregory moved back to North America and was excited to start up a similar thing in the North American market. Though the existing market was already saturated with bath products, Gregory never let that discourage him. Instead, he set out for competitive research.
"I visited the Bay and spent hundreds of dollars on many kinds of bath soak. Surprisingly, they were just salt and oil that often settle at the base of the tub undissolved. In fact, no wow factor existed, and the experience here was nothing compared to that of Italy."
At that point, he already knew how to gain a competitive advantage over the existing North American markets, even though the new idea will be up against many direct competitors.
Building a Competitive Advantage
When you have an eye on the products your competitors sell and study them well, you’ll understand more than they offer, but also find the gaps and how to fill them. Proper business marketing and gaining competitive advantage demand that you have the right information about your competitors and how to outsmart them, despite the strength of the competition.
Gregory took these steps to create a product that stands out from the rest in the North American market.
I know what I like, and what I don’t like when it comes to bath products because I’m a huge bather. Now, when testing products, where do they fall on a scale of things I like to use – Gregory.
The truth is that product creation involves trial and error. Gregory hinted that their first product was Aussie Bomb, and it featured Australian clay which is good for the human skin. He never knew the size to use but started with half a cup for four bath bombs.
When the product was tested, the smell, cloudiness and look were all noted on a formula sheet, and it was a deep red bath product. They tried again and got a streaky red color that you’d think there was a murder case.
A look at Gregory’s approach shows that the testing process is important. It helped him control the clay amount in the recipe, as well checked for side effects while pointing a particular formula that gave that Italian experience.
What’s the catch? You may not have easier access to adopt competitive strategies while creating your product. But you can still analyse your competitors to find the gaps in targeting, retail distribution and even messaging.
Adopt successful Marketing Strategies to put your Products in the Hands of your Customers
Now you have your product, and you’re too sure it’ll fill the gap in the market you’re trying to dominate. It’s time to put it right in the hands of your customers. Gregory pointed this out as crucial and said that anyone new to business has to show the customers that the product works better, and not just tell them.
"It became a challenge finding ways to tell people that I had a different product and convince them to leave their existing choice of brand. The competition was up against big brands like Pinterest and others, so we needed to stand out."
Gregory pointed out that they have been giving gifts for three years now, and are still doing it. They have been sponsoring events and offering a free product, telling people to try out their products. With a high customer return rate, more people are likely to come back.
However, taking a competitive advantage as such requires that you be so confident of your offering and offer products that stand out. Invest more in competitive research and testing products to ensure you come up with what can hook your customers with your brand.
Inspire and Inform Using Competition
It’s obvious that looking at many other established brands in your niche can be quite intimidating, but never compare your first step to other brand’s 100th step.
Gregory says he speaks to entrepreneurs often, and when they look at his current packaging, they agree to the fact that you start small and grow. Get the word out there, establish your brand and deliver a great product, then the rest follows.