research at least 2 of your potential virtual competitors. This can often reveal customer issues that you can capitalize upon. Find out their prices, product lines, and availability. Use the positives and also learn from the negatives; make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes of other virtual stores you visit that you do not like.
Document your findings.
Checking out a company’s ability to serve you will reveal a lot about your competition, the good, the bad, and the ugly and teach you a lot about your own business.
Do not just pretend to shop from your competition – Buy something, or engage their services. It is the only way to gain firsthand knowledge of what it is like to do business with your competition.
Take an informal poll of your competitors’ customers and answer the following questions and assess your findings:
- Why do they buy from your competitors?
- Is it because of the quality of the product or service, the price, the customer support, or just habit?
- What do they dislike about a certain company?
- What do they wish that company would provide?
- Would they consider buying from you? If not, why not?
- If they would, what incentive might win them over?
- What did you like about their online store?
- What didn’t you like about their online store?
- Also evaluate anything else you found out about your competition.