12. Competitor analysis in the handmade business

Competitor analysis in the handmade business

Sara’s voice was so excited that I couldn’t imagine what had happened.
– You can imagine!
There was frustration and anger in Sara’s voice. From the first word, I began to worry.
– She wrote that this was the FIRST online embroidery masterclass! The first! And it hadn’t happened before!
Three weeks after our triumph in making a Christmas tree brooch, a famous master with an audience ten times larger also launched an online masterclass. With the same mechanics! And it is evident that the idea was taken from us; She and Sara knew each other.

– Sara, do not be hot, – I tried to calm my friend. – You should be happy!
– Why triumph? She stole our idea. She has a larger audience, and now everyone will go to her masterclasses.
I had 170 people come to me, and she has more than 700!
– Understand if the idea begins to copy, it means it is cool, and you need to extend it further!
– And you know, she also wrote me a direct message! Someone wrote in the comments that my masterclass had recently taken place.

She was really hurt that she wasn’t the first.
– What did she write?
– Nothing… She just “prohibited” me from teaching people embroidery. How about that?
– That’s great! Don’t you get it? They’re afraid of you, which means they see you as a strong competitor. Even though you don’t have a huge audience, that’s for now! That’s going to change soon. We need to move forward with this idea. Let’s meet and discuss it quietly because I’m at work now – I can’t talk long.
– Let’s do it! I’ll wait for you at the coffee house tonight.

Competitor analysis and market capacity

There is competition in any niche where there is money and customers. It is wrong if you think you will do your job perfectly, at the highest level, and thus be out of competition. Customers will always have a choice, and people will compare different products.

Each client perceives who you are and your competitors are and begins to choose between you and them by some subjective criteria. And the customer may associate you with entirely different players in the market, not with those whom you consider to be competitors.

Competitive business analysis

The purpose of competitor analysis is to identify the do’s and don’ts, to find cool features, to determine how the client compares you to others, and to understand how they make choices.

When discussing competitor analysis, you don’t start with your competitors; you start with your customers. You have to talk to them and understand with whom they compare your product, your company, and their perception of you. This will be your positioning. This is not who you are but your customers’ perception through communication channels.

And if we want to stand out, we can’t do it without analyzing customers and competitors.

Types of competitors

Direct competitors compete with you on your main product.

Allied competitors (related competitors) are those from whom potential customers leave their money by buying related products or services.

  1. If the target audience is moms, then related competitors are anyone who makes products and products for children, toys, clothing, and entertainment for children.
  2. Knit bags are related to competitors: accessories, jewelry, glasses, hats, etc.
  3. Decorator-artist running training: creative courses (embroidery, knitting) and creative books.
  4. Paper floristry: any stores that sell gifts and souvenirs, shopping malls.
  5. Fabric store: stores that sell either other kinds of fabric or ready-made dresses from the same fabric you have.

By the way, who do you think social networks are competing with? They compete with the media, television, live communication, and sleeping!

Direct competitors

There are market leaders and medium and small competitors among direct competitors. You have to understand what type you belong to. Sometimes it happens that you are a small or medium-sized competitor, and yet you try to look up to the market leaders. 

But they may have a completely different target audience than you do. That said, you have to look at your competitors from a positive perspective. Think about what you can take from them and implement them in yourself.

You also have to remember that those with more subscribers are not necessarily market leaders. The leaders may not be on social media at all.

Average competitors have a small market share but stable sales.

Smaller competitors are probably startups.

Analyzing customer behavior

There are several questions to ask your customer to understand why they chose you and who they compared you to.

  • How did you choose?
  • What was the most important criterion in choosing?
  • What keywords did you use in your search?
  • Do you know of any companies that offer services/goods that are comparable to mine?
  • Why did you consider them?

Competitor analysis

When analyzing, you should look at the following:

  • Is the site/profile well organized?
  • Is the site/profile well organized?
  • Is it easy for the visitor to find the information they want?
  • Does the competitor’s profile look credible and trustworthy?
  • Is the text easy to read?
  • Does the content look practical and straightforward?
  • Is the information interesting to the user? Is it specific, without too much water?
  • Is there a call to action? Do they want to make an order?

When analyzing competitors and affiliates, there should be a healthy excitement – the desire to outplay everyone, but without anger.

Resources for competitor research and analysis

Use similarweb.com

This resource allows you to enter the address of your competitor’s site and shows where this site gets its traffic – from mailing lists, social networks, search engines, etc. This information lets you understand how the competitor is advertised and promoted.

The site also has an “audience interests” section and a list of sites these people have visited. Similar sites of competitors are also displayed. And also, with the help of the service, you can see the rating of this competitor among others in the world or the country.

Let’s take Etsy.com as an example.

The resource shows that direct traffic comes from organic search (from search engines); they do not buy advertising at all. You can see what keywords people use to get to the site.

Competitor analysis in the handmade business

– Competitor analysis in the handmade business

Part of the traffic comes through social networks; you can see a breakdown of which social networks have the most traffic.

Competitor analysis in the handmade business

– Competitor analysis in the handmade business

So, competitor analysis allows us to grow, track market trends, keep our finger on the pulse, and build off other players in your niche.

What are the steps to Analyse your competitor?

Identify your competitors: Start by identifying your direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors offer similar products or services to the same target market, while indirect competitors may offer alternative solutions to the same customer needs.

Research their products/services: Gather information about your competitors’ products or services. Understand their features, quality, pricing, and any unique selling points. Compare them to your offerings to identify areas of differentiation or improvement.

Analyze their target market: Determine the target market your competitors are focusing on. Examine their marketing strategies, messaging, and branding to gain insights into their customer base. This information can help you refine your own target audience or identify untapped market segments.

Assess their marketing and advertising efforts: Study your competitors’ marketing and advertising activities. Look at their websites (design and user experience), social media platforms presence (engagement levels), content marketing, paid advertising, and promotional campaigns. Evaluate their messaging and channels used. 

Monitor their pricing strategy: Analyze your competitors’ pricing models, discounts, and promotions. Compare their prices with your own to understand your competitive positioning. Determine whether they focus on low-cost strategies, premium pricing, or other pricing tactics.

Assess their strengths and weaknesses: Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses regarding their products, customer service, distribution channels, and marketing. Understanding their weaknesses can help you identify opportunities to differentiate and outperform them.

Track customer reviews and feedback: Read customer reviews and feedback about your competitors. This can provide insights into what customers like or dislike about their offerings. Identify common customer complaints or issues you can address to enhance your products or services.

Make strategic decisions based on your analysis: Once you have gathered and analyzed all the information about your competitors, use these insights to make informed decisions. Determine how to differentiate your business, improve your products or services, refine your marketing efforts, and capitalize on your competitors’ weaknesses.

Assignment 17. Write out lists of competitors, direct and related.

Look at their websites and social media and spell out 50 competitor features you like. These can be phrases about how they describe the product, whether they apply a call to action, what buttons they have, and what color they are. You don’t just copy it, but you have to think about why It works for them, whether it can be applied to your business, and how it can be used.

Assignment 18. Become a client of some of your competitors and, subscribe to their mailing lists, get a lead magnet. This allows you to look into the competitor’s internal kitchen to see how communication with people and potential clients goes. Becoming a potential customer, you can see how the competitor handles objections. For example, how he responds when customers say that the product is expensive.