Competing in Today's Competitive Markets
Competition today is as fierce as ever as markets become saturated, barriers to enter new markets become lower, access to venture capital becomes easier, and the number of entrepreneurs increases. Studying other competitors in other markets can help you assess what competitive strategies your firm can utilize to help strengthen your competitive advantage.
Trying to find a new market to enter with out any competitive forces today is near impossible.
Even in the highly IP protected pharmaceutical industry; there exist numerous options for doctors to choose from to help treat specific diseases. Competition has undoubtedly increased substantially over the last decade for numerous reasons. The internet has been by far the biggest contributor to the increase in competitive markets because of the shift in cost structure and value delivery from brick and mortar stores to the relatively low costs to establish an online business.
Barnes & Noble has gradually seen its market share decline thanks in part to the rapid growth of Amazon who has been able to offer consumers greater selection at lower prices, all from the convenience for their fingertips. Barnes & Noble has struggled to gain ground on Amazon as it has only deployed copycat strategies rather than try to innovate around the unique assets that is has over Amazon. After Amazon launched, Barnes & Noble tried to follow with their own e-commerce store. Surely, Barnes & Noble did not expect to compete head to head with Amazon? The latest copycat move from Barnes and Noble comes as they announced the launch of their own E-book reader to compete against Amazon's popular Kindle.
Rather than spending time on how they can differentiate themselves from Amazon and compete successfully, they continue to spend time on simply copying Amazon's moves. Amazon is an expert at everything digital. They created the most massive online book store, they were the first to launch a digital e-book and they will continue to be the premier innovator in all things digital related to books. Barnes & Noble on the other hand is the premier leader in brick and mortar book stores. Why then is Barnes & Noble shifting its strategy focus away from its stores to that of a digital distribution strategy?
Barnes & Noble should be focused on promotions to get and keep consumers in their stores. People still go out of their homes and frequent stores just as often, if not more, than before the internet came about. Barnes & Noble has unique storefront assets that Amazon does not and rather than trying to copy Amazon's every move, Barnes & Noble should be leveraging its unique assets to bring consumers into their stores. Workshops, children's readings, travel lectures and more are but a few things that Barnes & Noble could implement in all of their stores nationwide to bring customers into their stores and increase their in-store revenues.
As an entrepreneur you can learn a great deal by watching competitors compete. As Barnes and Noble's feeble strategy shows you, copying will happen, and it will happen a lot, but you need to decide if your firm is going to be an innovator or a copycat? Since most businesses today are in highly competitive industries and markets, it is imperative to analyze what key assets and resources you have that you can leverage to make yourself different and stronger than your competitors.
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