Staying Ahead of Competitors Takes Research and F-O-C-U-S.
Our clients often struggle with competitor research for their fashion businesses. Learning how to identify competitors is a crucial part of your initial market research. Once you identify your competitors, it’s helpful to narrow your list down to the top ten brands that are most similar to you (direct competitors). But this is the tricky part! It simply takes time and focus to narrow down your fiercest competition. You must first have a solid understanding of what your company stands for, who you are serving, and what your product or service has to offer. Having a firm identity will make it much easier to identify the most like-minded brands. It’s also important to know the difference between a direct competitor and an indirect competitor. After you’ve learned how to identify competitors below, our handy cheatsheet here will help you pinpoint your toughest, most direct competition.
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Now for the fun part. . .
The Search: How to Identify Competitors for Your Business
*HELPFUL TIP* As you begin to research, keep a log of the businesses on a spreadsheet that you can easily refer back to.
Instagram is the best platform for competitive fashion research, but Twitter and Facebook can work as well. Using specific hashtags can help you discover a plethora of brands like you. For instance, if you are a swimwear designer, you’d search for topics like #swimweardesigner, #swimwearbrand or #emergingswimwearbrand or #upcomingswimwearbrand. You can use Pinterest too; you just won't need to use the "#" sign!
Before adding any newfound companies to your log- make sure that they are small, emerging brands like your own. If you find stores and boutiques during the search; we suggest keeping a record for later so you can approach them when it's time to launch your line. If they stock your competitors; there’s a good chance that they’ll carry your line as well! We teach a more in-depth version of this market research method in our Market Research Made Easy Course -if you're currently in the research development stages of your business.
Brick-and-Mortar & Online Boutiques:
Visiting local boutiques and retailers is a great way to learn about new brands. If you’re on the high-end side, stores like Opening Ceremony, Totokaelo, and Intermix are larger retailers that carry a wide range of emerging talent. If you’re designing affordable athleisure, maybe try online athleisure boutiques like flyinglizardboutique.com or even your neighborhood Academy. Do a Google search if you don’t know of any boutiques that carry your product category. Online boutiques are convenient because they list all of the featured designers on the sidebar for easy navigation. We still recommend visiting shops in person so you can get a feel for the quality and a better idea of who their customer is. Their customers might be similar to yours!
Attending industry trade shows and joining industry associations allows for constant exposure to the latest, most innovative talent.
Google Alerts is a savvy tool that updates you on Google’s latest content. Type the topics or markets that you want to keep up with and create an alert. The platform will notify you whenever new content is featured on that subject. Alerts are also customizable- allowing you to dictate how often they are sent, how many results you receive, and what region the alerts come from. By setting alerts for your market, industry, and product type; you can discover fresh competition early on.
One of the most old-fashioned ways to find competitors is to simply ask your clients where else they shop. Think about it. You and your clients' other favorite brands share target demographics. So, it’s a fair chance that they may hold a similar place in the market as you!
Differentiating DIRECT Competitors
Now that you've learned how to identify competitors, it's time to sift through your research and differentiate your DIRECT competition. There are several factors that determine who these companies are. Thankfully the FAW team created a cheat sheet here to help you narrow down your research. Also if you're interested in our Market Research Made Easy Course, you can sign up here.
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