77% of businesses say competitive research is the key to getting ahead of industry rivals.
With competitive research, you can scope out the competition’s approach to everything from pricing structure to marketing techniques. Gathering intelligence on rival companies allows businesses to ensure their end-to-end customer experience competes with industry leaders.
Creating a coherent company strategy demands an exhaustive understanding of your industry. The hours put into research hold little value if they fail to account for the actions of industry rivals. Some of the most spectacular business setbacks in modern history were a direct result of a failure to consider the competition.
Competitive research also allows businesses to get ahead of sea changes in their industry, adapting to changing customer tastes or the uptake of new technology. Without effective research techniques, companies will find themselves lagging behind as the industry revolves around them.
Failing to gather competitive intelligence is the business version of taking a knife to a gunfight. 90% of Fortune 500 companies practice competitive research, which should tell you that even if you’re not doing it, your rivals are.
Sometimes, the true advantage of competitive research lies in discovering what your rivals have failed to do. Gathering intelligence can lead to new ideas or the discovery of a solution with high demand. Spotting an unexploited opportunity like this could turn your business into an industry giant practically overnight.
The Barriers to Anonymous Competitive Research
Of course, your rivals won’t give up their trade secrets willingly.
If you were conducting competitor research in an offline retail space, you wouldn’t get far asking a rival manager for their prices and sales practices. They know they’ll damage their own business by sharing this information. It’s a mistake to think things are any different in the digital space.
Despite the basic anonymity of the internet, modern companies have developed strategies to ensure online anonymity doesn’t offer a window into their operations.
The key to these strategies lies in the IP address, which acts as a digital fingerprint. If your rivals know what to look for, then they can discover you rooting around in their operations and stop it from happening.
There are even specialized tools available to help businesses detect and monitor IPs originating from other companies. With these tools, your competition can not only discover your presence but can even see which parts of their site you’re visiting.
If they decide your presence is unwanted, then it’s trivial to block your IP address. Moreover, your competitors’ websites can send misleading information back to your proxy requests, causing you to collect inaccurate competitive information–a situation that could significantly damage your bottom line and impede your long-term growth potential. Even if your competitors don’t block you or present misleading information, they’re flipping the script on your intelligence gathering, as they gain an insight into exactly what you’re researching.
Anonymous competitive research is attainable, however. With the right tools, you can access competitor’s sites despite the steps they may have taken to protect their secrets.
The Solution: Residential Proxy Services
These challenges are driving companies to find new ways to conduct competitive research online. One popular option is the use of residential IP proxy services.
Residential IP addresses are those issued by internet service providers to homes and businesses. Although businesses can disguise their residential IP with a proxy service, the resulting proxy IP often triggers security features designed to keep out anonymous users.
By using residential IP proxy services, your company can adapt and cycle through a variety of different residential IP addresses, using them in place of your own. Unlike the IP addresses obtainable through standard VPNs, these will blend in with your competitor’s regular traffic. This anonymity allows you to conduct competitive research without your competition ever learning of your presence.
Your company is then free to analyze the full user experience of a competitor’s website, whether it’s speaking to a customer service agent by live chat or requesting a quote to evaluate pricing.
You could even sign up to forums to involve yourself in live discussions with your competitor’s customers, giving you insight to customer spending patterns, complaints, and requests. Signing up to a mailing list will help you keep tabs on the incentives your rival offers to repeat customers.
Anonymous Competitive Research Through Residential IP Proxy Services
In the online business world, competitive research separates the leaders from the followers. As more businesses become savvy in this reality, companies develop new methods to protect their trade secrets.
This makes residential IP proxy services a game-changer. Nobody sees your competitors quite like their customers, and with your anonymity restored, you can get the deepest possible insights from your competitive research.
Contact us today to get started.