One of the most effective ways to keep a competitive edge is to think like a prospective customer and compare your business frequently to your competition. What does your competitor offer that your business does not?
While it’s helpful to stay informed of what your competition is doing, you should avoid copying their ideas. Rather, if you see a good idea that you’d like to implement, find a way to add more value and make it an even better idea. For example, if your competitor offers free shipping on purchases of $100, you could provide free shipping on all purchases and possibly even returns, which removes potential risk when placing an order.
If your competition sells a comparable product, an easy way to add extra value to your business is through service. Whether you have longer business or customer support hours, free shipping, a better warranty, free training, or live phone operators (no automated phone service), it’s often these types of value-ads that really stand out when customers compare businesses.
Another great way to gain customer perspective is with a customer survey or questionnaire. Ask your audience how you can improve, what new offerings they wish you provided, and what they like best about your company. Their answers could easily point to innovative ideas that will give you a competitive advantage.