Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries
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We were lucky enough to sit down with Claude Ritter: serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and Chief Product Officer of Delivery Hero to talk about how monitoring competition can reveal industry trends and establish benchmarks.
Delivery Hero is a food delivery service that has transformed the way people order food online, an area ripe with competition.
In the beginning, we started with the number of restaurants a competitor had signed to their platform. We counted them manually, and also monitored press releases where our competition mentioned their numbers. Of course, there is a brag factor that you need to take into account. When we started, there was a race to see who had the most restaurants. The quantity is important but now, since we have been in the market since 2010, it’s not the only thing that matters anymore.
We have enough data to know that, in our industry, 10% or more of the consumers who visit our homepage will place an order. Obviously this number is different for other industries, such as an online shoe store, but for our market we know the typical conversion rates. We can check our competitor’s traffic using sites like Google Trends or Alexa, then multiply that number by the conversion rate to calculate their number of orders. Of course we also know our profit margin on each order and can use that number to arrive at our competitors’ revenue. We track both our numbers and our competitors’ numbers over time and we use that comparison as a benchmark for growth. Who grew quicker? Numbers alone are not interesting. Numbers over time are very interesting.
We always track our competitors’ Terms of Service, since that document predicts changes in their processes and business models. An example would be a competitor adding a clause about changing Terms of Service without notification, since that could point toward a change in pricing or something along those lines.
Here in Germany, companies must register in the commercial registry known as Handelsregister. These records are available to anyone and list key information including Managing Directors. Monitor this. If the Managing Director changes, as it recently did with one of our competitors, it means that something is up. Maybe they are hiring someone with different experience to handle an IPO, maybe the company is failing? Do your research and ask around on LinkedIn.