The Silicon Valley Advice Center provides free phone counseling to internet startups throughout the continental United States.
Market Research Advice
Every internet startup company has to research the competition. First of all you have to find out if you can distinguish yourself from the competition—if you’re going to sell the exact same thing in the exact same way at the exact same price, then probably, you’re not going to do so well. What you need to do is to find different ways to compete
O On Price. If you sell the exact same products the competition does in the exact same way, but at a substantially lower price, success is not guaranteed but if you can get the word out about your bargains you know you have a chance for success.
O On method of sale. If you have a superior shopping engine or better product descriptions or photos, even if you are selling the same products that may be enough to give you a leg up on the competition. Look to see not only what the competition sells but how they sell it.
O On type of product. Maybe you’ve come up with a somewhat different kind of product to sell that you think would be in more demand in a certain product category. Success is not guaranteed, but at least you can see an opening in the marketplace for it by seeing that no one else is selling such products.
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