As the business landscape continues to evolve, paying attention to the competition is more important than ever. Business isn’t run in a vacuum, and understanding what’s working — and equally as important what’s not working — for other successful companies is an integral step in staying ahead of the game. Here are some ways to do that.

Set a Google Alert

One of the easiest things you can do, setting up a Google alert allows you to immediately be alerted of big news that’s being reported on your major competitors.

Follow Websites and Track SEO

Poor user experience on a website drives 50% of potential customers to competitor businesses.[1] Track what your major competitors are doing on theirs — taking special note of anything new or innovative — to ensure you stay viable in this area. Start by paying attention to their SEO. Compare web traffic and look for similarities and differences in your online strategies.

Go Through the Customer Experience

80% of customers said they would leave a brand they’ve been loyal to after three or fewer bad experiences with customer service.[2] It’s worth running through your competitor’s customer experience from time-to-time to see how smoothly it operates and what they’re doing differently.

Pay Attention to How They Use AI

Incorporating AI into a website can lead to a 15.4% increase in traffic, while 91% of customers believe that a company website should have AI chatbots.[3] If you’ve noticed an uptick in business for a competitor that’s recently instituted AI on their website, that could be one reason why.

Invest in Data Technology

There are plenty of automation tools on the market that help track how competitors are doing in various areas. Look for companies that offer things like competitive and social post analysis, social media audits and social listening for the most complete overview.

Track Pricing

Technology aside, pricing is one of the most important aspects of a business. Understand where your company falls by comparing pricing strategies among your competitors. Customers are willing to pay more for certain things — products making ESG-related claims averaged 28% cumulative growth over the past five-year period versus 20% for products with no such claims,[4] for example — so understand your customer base and price accordingly for best results.

Having the above data on-hand isn’t enough to make a difference. Besides assessing your competitors, institute the following as benchmarks of your business to keep customers coming:

  • Provide unparalleled customer service
  • Define and build your brand based on the value you provide
  • Position yourself — and your business — as experts in the field
  • Put a face to your product or service
  • Have a clear and unique voice in the market

Check out PNC’s Small Business Insights for more topics to explore on managing, running, and growing your business.