Online business competition has taken mainstream market competition to the clouds. It doesn’t matter whether they’re running a Facebook or eBay storefront or using sites like Etsy to get their merchandise in front of the public; online businesses just don’t have the same overhead that bricks-and-mortar retail businesses face. Continue reading for tips on staying ahead in online business competition.
No matter the size of your business, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your closest competitors online. Research shows 79% of millennials and Gen Z use the internet to make purchases, therefore a business’s online presence is more valuable than ever.
The Bare Minimum
Ensure to do more than the basics, starting with having an online store. Although 43% of consumers always visit local stores when they need products in a hurry, 29.1% turn to Amazon, and 27.8% use both Amazon and local retailers.
And while 60% of respondents say they have shopped at a smaller local store in the past six months, 30% say they only shop online.
Selling products online as well as in your physical store can offer you a way to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Reviews & Local Listings
Take note of your competitors’ online business competition reputation by looking at their reviews online. You can check out review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Citysearch, or industry-specific sites and see how they are ranking compared to you and if those sites are optimized for search.
In addition, conduct a search for your competitor’s reputation terms, like “Business Name Reviews” on a search engine and see what turns up. Compare Your online business competition products and services, and make adequate adjustments.
Do your biggest competitors have more reviews than you? Is their reputation overall positive or negative? Either way, you may want to start focusing on your online reputation, so that when a consumer is researching both you and a competitor, your glowing reputation can speak for you online.
See which of these sites your competitors have created and which they are using to their advantage.
What types of blogs, images, infographics, or videos are they sharing? Are they using relevant descriptions and keyword-rich tags?
Because these types of content can perform well in search engines and provide backlinks to a business website, seeing which sites work for your competitors can help you decide the types of sites you want a presence on as well.
Now that you have a good idea about your competitors’ web presence, you can take this information into consideration for building your own online strategy.
What tactics work well for them that you can try in your own marketing? What are you doing more efficiently than your competitors that you can focus on to give your online presence a boost?
Gauging your competitors’ placement on search engines isn’t always an easy task, especially since algorithms are continuously changing.
Keep in mind, it’s best to perform searches in a private browser so the search engine won’t take into account your browsing history and you’ll see more generic results. Here are a few things to look for:
Search for a competitor’s business name online to see how much “shelf space” – or links on the search results page – they own, and what type of content is displayed, such as their website, blog, videos, reviews, and even text ads.
Remember which local listings, social media sites, and content sites are displayed and compare them against the ones that show up when you search for your own business name.
To see what your competitors may be doing in paid search advertising, start by identifying a list of 5-10 top local keywords and searching for them on top search engines like Google and Bing.
If your competitor is also bidding on their own business name in search advertising, chances are their paid search ad will show in the sponsored section of the search results when you search for their name as well. Bidding on your business name is a cost-effective way to quickly get your brand to appear on the search engine results page.
Also look at the organic listings when you search for those local keywords, as well as the keywords you are optimizing your own site for.
Where do your competitors appear in comparison to you? What kinds of content are showing – is it just their site, or do other content and social sites show up as well?
Consumers expect convenience whether they’re shopping online or in-store. In a physical store, curating the products you sell to a carefully chosen selection is one way to help shoppers get in and out of your store quickly. (You could offer a wider range of products on your business website.)
Your store should also accept a wide range of payment options, including mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, and mobile devices to accept payments so you can speed up customer checkout lines.
By taking these steps, you’ll be able to participate and beat the online business competition and help prepare your retail store for a successful future.
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