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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
When you first start your craft business, you may be “aware” of competitors, but you’re probably focused more on getting started. Over time, however, doing competitive research is a very smart strategy for creating a business that BLOOMS!
Performing competitive research for your craft business can give you valuable insights into what other businesses are doing, what’s working, and what’s not. It can help you identify opportunities for growth, and understand your position in the market.
Ultimately, using this information will help you make better decisions for your business.
Let’s take a closer look at how to perform competitive research for your craft business.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Make a list of handmade item sellers that are similar to your business. You can use search engines and marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, or Shopify to find competitors.
You want to look for sellers who are at the top of the list, as well as businesses that are similar in size to your own.
I suggest having a list of about 10 competitors that you can use for your research.
Look at the products they sell and analyze their quality, pricing, packaging, and branding. Take note of their unique selling points and what makes their products different from yours.
You can tell if a product is popular by looking at their reviews. If you see a lot of reviews for one particular product, you know it’s a popular one. Try to figure out why that one product is doing so well.
This can be a bit of detective work! Look at what the reviews say – why do their customers like the product so much?
Look at how they brand and market their products. What kind of messaging and imagery do they use? How do they promote their products?
As a customer, would you recognize their products just by seeing their logo or an image? (These are the hallmarks of good branding.)
Take note of the channels they use, such as social media, email marketing, or influencer marketing. Sign up for their email newsletter so you can get a sense of how often they email their customers, and what they’re saying.
Try to identify their suppliers and see if they are using high-quality materials or have exclusive sources. This is a tough one to do, and I say this with one caveat:
But you can look at their products and try to figure out where they get their supplies from. Some sellers will state in their descriptions what materials they use. Use this information in your research.
Look at their pricing and see how it compares to yours. This will give you an idea of how they position themselves in the market. Are they asking more for a similar product? Or do they offer coupons or deals?
I feel pricing also includes bundles. See if they offer their customers certain bundles of products together at a lower price than if they were purchased separately.
Check their shipping and fulfillment process. Are they offering free shipping? How long does it take for their products to arrive? What kind of packaging do they use?
I actually purchased items from a couple of the most successful companies I was researching! It was valuable information – I got to see how their customers received their products.
Doing all of this research does not mean you are copying anyone else. It is simply a way to see where your business stands among your competition. If you want to grow your business and create an income stream that supports you, I feel this information is necessary.
Once you have your competitive research in front of you, add your own business to the list! See what improvements you can make, based on what is working for others.
Finally, do this once a year! Make time in your calendar and make it part of your overall process. I guarantee you will see improvements in your own business, and soon you may be at the top of the list!
If you are getting started with an online craft business, I created a new guide just for you. And it’s free! Get my guide, Online Selling Must-Haves for Makers, and you will have everything you need to start your own online business quickly and easily.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!
Thank you for all the wonderful information you have given over the past couple of years. I am now opening my Etsy shop, slowly, and have used some of your suggestions. I look forward to continue to learn more from you. 🤗