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A Competitive Mindset


Okay- today we are going to talk about one aspect of my job, as a retail merchant and consultant, that I truly love… the competitive landscape. It’s essential that no matter what role you have within the industry that you know the market- from product offering and pricing to marketing and online strategy. The goal should NEVER be to copy other brands, but rather utilize this knowledge to strengthen your message to the customer. You want to ensure your brand (or the brand you are working for) is staying true to their mission and aesthetic, but also showcasing what makes it unique and valuable to consumers. The only way to figure that out is to do your research.

Diving into what’s going on in the market also keeps you knowledgeable on promotional activity, gives you inspiration on in-store execution, and helps us all evolve- especially when it comes to website enhancements, distribution, and technology.

So what should you be looking at? Without giving away all of my secrets I provided a list below of what you should be reviewing on a monthly basis (at a minimum) based on your market. Once you do the research think about the similarities between each retailer and how it varies from your brand / business. I guarantee you will walk away with questions, to-do's, and a bit of guidance as you work on your upcoming season.

In the end, this is to help you have a greater understanding of your particular market, and to see you thrive through strategic initiatives that capitalize on your strengths. So knowing where your brand is positioned, what your competitive advantage is, and where your opportunities lie are essential.

Stay true to who you are, share your story, know your value, and do the research! You got this...

COMPETITIVE CHECKLIST

What three brands are you in direct competition with based on your target demographic and assortment offering?

Visit both their brick and mortar location and website with the following in mind:

In-Store:

Window Marketing

Front Table (what are they standing for?)

Store Flow

Signage

Assortment:

Product Categories

Design (silhouette, color, solid vs. pattern)

Quality (fabric, wash, detailing)

Choice Count

Pricing

Basic vs. Fashion

New vs. Sale vs. Clearance

Inventory Levels

Customer Service

Website:

Main Message

Branding

Assortment:

Category Organization

Product Imagery

Descriptions

Pricing (consistent with stores?)

Size Chart

Online Exclusives

Inventory Levels

Design (aesthetically pleasing / on brand)

Functionality

Call to Action (add to cart, recommendations, checkout, subscribe)

Social Interaction (hashtags, share, pin)

Shipping Details (timing, especially for Etsy sellers, can be significant)

Customer Reviews

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If you have any questions on next steps or how to recap the above, please feel free to comment below or email me- cristina@merchantinspired.com.

I want nothing more than to see you be successful...

- Cristina

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