Retail businesses sustain themselves by attracting consumers and keeping them engaged. The first step involves enticing a customer to the product using something lucrative and appealing. This is where advertising, marketing and promotion strategies come into play. The effort that goes into the making of a tagline or the concept of an advertisement is often directly proportional to the strength of the customer base. With the increasing accessibility to and viewership of various digital avenues, it is imperative that companies keep track of how their competitors go about wooing consumers.

Your target customer and competitor

While tracking competitors’ marketing strategies, it is important to first identify one’s target market. This can be done by understanding your intended customer base, and seeking information about where consumers usually purchase similar products. It might also be worthwhile to find out about competitors who sell the same product, but in a different market category.

Having identified the target market, researching about one’s competitors and obtaining information about them would be next on the agenda. A rudimentary way to achieve this would be to keep tabs on competitors’ online activity. This includes following their social media pages, subscribing to their email newsletter and thoroughly exploring their website. Through these methods, your company will be able to put itself in the consumer’s shoes and figure out exactly which of the competitors’ marketing strategies is most appealing.

War of the Adverts

Price wars are extremely frequent in the e-commerce industry. Monitoring a competitor’s prices provides information on when they plan to offer promotions and when they might run out of stock. The ability thus provided to respond to such situations gives you a tremendous advantage. Artificial Intelligence has of late entered the field of competitive pricing and can be used to predict price changes to an increasingly accurate standard.

A Competitor Advertising Intelligence Software offers an easy and comprehensive way to track keywords, images and ad performance on specific URLs. These tools are based on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) principles and the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model, and help in singling out the most attractive advertisements put forth by competitors on search engines. Although these marketing intelligence tools require some investment, they are effective in offering thorough insights into all the industry participants.

Being in the right place at the right time

While monitoring competitors’ advertisements is one part of the job, the real fruit lies in picking customers right from under the competitor’s nose by employing some truly brilliant competitive advertising strategies. A few examples of such strategies include inserting one’s own advertisements into competitors’ Youtube videos, email messages, and Twitter/Facebook posts. It is also possible to display advertisements in Google searches for a competitor’s product, and with the right word selection, these advertisements can be extremely helpful.

In the dynamic retail world, where one promotion or sale is constantly trying to upstage another and retailers are vying for their chance at the limelight, it is best to explore a few tried-and-tested pointers before deciding on a strategy:

  • With promos and discounts, it is important to calculate the repercussions and draw a line accordingly. Every campaign should have a clearly quantifiable objective - is it to boost sales, improve profit margins, clear old stock. If the strategy ends up restricting a company’s profit potential instead of widening its sales margins and boosting market share, you may want to take another route.
  • It is essential to integrate competitive monitoring into the strategic business plan of your company and constantly update it, to get optimal results.
  • Automated incentivised surveys can help you identify direct and indirect competitors, stay on top of trends, and remain relevant in the market, all with the help of data obtained from customers themselves.
  • It is important to understand a customer’s pricing tolerances. A “one size fits all” approach to promotions will only serve to deplete company resources. According to this study conducted by Forrester in September 2017, 47% of customers end up never using the multiple promotions they are routinely given access to.
  • In addition to recent statistics, the competitors’ historical sales and promotions data can prove to be invaluable while deciding the best course of action for your own strategies.

Improving your pricing and promotion strategies is paramount if you are looking to better your sales while keeping customers happy. Advertisements, discount sales and promotions can go a long way in improving a retailer’s game, and routinely monitoring competitors enables each company to stand out by coming up with its own unique ideas for attracting a loyal customer base.

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