The end of Q4 is rapidly approaching. If you listen very closely, you can hear winter coming: the soothing voice of Bing Crosby on the radio, pine cones thunderously crashing to the ground, accountants with furrowed brows crunching year-end numbers.
The holiday season may look a little different this year as we approach month nine of national lockdowns with new cases on the rise (1.1M just last week). COVID-19 has radically altered consumer behavior this year; according to a McKinsey & Company study from August 2020, value buys and essentials have taken priority, digital and omnichannel shopping experiences are preferred, healthy and safe CX influence purchase behavior, and loyalty is a behavior of the past.
While many of these behavioral shifts continue to send shockwaves through the economy, there is a silver lining: consumers are more willing than ever to replace longtime favored products or services with alternative options. 36% of consumers have tried a new product since the pandemic and 73% of those consumers plan to incorporate the new products into their routine moving into the holidays and beyond.
You can be that replacement product. Yes, you.
But first, you must know thy enemy. Sun Tsu said it best in the Art of War: “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” Though “enemy” is a somewhat hyperbolic label for your competitive list, Tsu makes a great point: competitive intelligence is the key to sales acquisition, market share gain and the ultimate “defeat” of your competitors.
Refresh: What is Competitive Intelligence?
For those of you who have not yet had a chance to read our blog What is Competitive Intelligence?, here’s a quick refresh.
Competitive intelligence (CI) is the act of gathering robust data on a competitive brand or a set of competitive brands. Data gathered in this market research tactic can range from general industry statistics and market share to detailed profiles on competitive products or services.
An effective CI analysis can yield valuable information including existing trends, developing technologies, voids in the marketplace, predictive consumer behaviors and more.
Straighten up that bowtie, Bond. It’s time to reveal just how effective competitive intelligence data collection can be for your brand this holiday season and onward.
The Benefits of CI this Holiday Season
Let’s be clear: CI does not just benefit your business during the holiday season, though the sheer volume of traffic during the holiday rush provides a great kicking off point for actionable insight into 2021.
Competitive intelligence allows you to react and respond to competitive strategy and capitalize on competitive mistakes including OOS or lack of COVID safety compliance. CI data could be the difference between your business acquiring market share or becoming obsolete.
React and Respond
Consumers are particularly sensitive to customer experience this season, especially as it pertains to their health and safety during the long-anticipated, some might say dreaded, winter months.
While your brand may have implemented a variety of safety measures in-store to improve customer sentiment, CI can help you analyze both wins and losses in your competitor’s safety strategies. This critical insight can guide decision-making processes, helping your business to make data-driven adjustments to your strategy based on both consumer expectation and preference in store.
Capitalize on Competitive Mishaps
Competitive intelligence allows your business to seize opportunities presented by competitor’s in-store behavior. For example: if competitive intelligence data presents regularly occurring OOS from key competitors in a particular location, you can adjust planograms or marketing collateral to guide traffic to your merchandise.
In the same vein, it is important to monitor your own OOS and planogram compliance in-store this holiday season to prevent competition from capitalizing on your mishaps.
Crowdsourcing Your CI Data
While online secondary research (i.e. website, press releases, social media profiles, social groups, job boards, etc.) may prove fruitful in providing refined competitive data, there is nothing more effective than real-time, competitive shelf reports.
You need feet on the ground. Lots of feet in fact, all over the globe, to gather sufficient competitive data for a solid CI framework. Crowdsourcing competitive intelligence data by way of mystery shoppers allows your business to collect CI data at a mass scale without the hassle and costs associated with a traditional mystery shopping program.
Are you interested in learning more about how Premise can help you collect CI data to increase sales and market share this holiday season and into the new year? Visit https://www.premise.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to help you become more data-driven.