“I Have No Competitors” Why a Competitive Matrix is important.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard brands say, “I have no competitors”. I just cannot believe this; simply because at the end of the day your “customer”, either the wholesale buyer or the direct customer, has options on where they want to spend their money. This means that while your product might be very unique, you still have competitors. Building a competitive matrix will help you understand the landscape of what your customers are choosing from and how your brand sits next to them.
Here are a few ways my clients use the Competitive Matrix
- Indexing pricing
- Identifying potential wholesale accounts
- Website and branding cues: use of white space, image types, email popups
- Inspiration on copywriting: types of writing
- Evaluating how many businesses are new or heritage
- Identify where brands are manufacturing
- How many styles/skus are being produced
- Social Media cues: patterns, messaging etc.
Now how should you be comparing your brand? What brands constitute a competitor and how do you find them?
Occasionally I hear new brands say they want to be the next Balmain when they have a small budget and little resources to launch. How could Balmain then be a direct competitor? They are a heritage brand that makes millions each year. Now, you can have Balmain be an inspiration brand, but to make the competitive matrix useful for you I suggest choosing brands that have launched within the last 15 years.
Finding your competitors isn’t as simple as doing a Google search. We all know that Google works through algorithms with backlinks and page ranking and that you may never find a cohesive list of the brands you are looking for. I suggest starting with the stores you want to be sold at and checking out what other brands they carry. If finding stores are a tough task then take to Yelp. All small boutiques and large boutiques can be found on Yelp. This won’t account for the ecommerce stores out there, but it’s a good start. Other places to look: Angel List, Tech Crunch- they will list out new ecommerce companies occasionally. And if you want to outright buy a list you can checkout companies like WeConnectFashion.
Lastly and most importantly, keep your matrix organized and neat. This means you will want to color code, add appropriate boxes and make it as easy to use as possible. In fact, you may need to have multiple sheets if the one becomes too large.
Competitive matrices are a critical part of your business and you should treat it as part of the foundation. If you have trouble creating them you may want to sign up for the Launch My Brand workshop to get fashion business foundation training or schedule a one on one consult with me.