Definition: Competitive intelligence, or “CI," is the gathering and analysis of information to predict competitive activity and inform future business operations & strategy. Competitive Intelligence helps online business gauge the marketplace and identify areas to compete against other ecommerce stores within an industry or niche.
CI is a critical means of forming new business strategies, presenting valuable insight into marketplace happenings. After research and structured analysis are performed, the information and insight gleaned often proves critically important to a business's strategies and operations. CI allows for the development and shaping of such strategies to better compete with other businesses. It also helps a business prepare for the launch of a new product, enter a new market or make any other type of strategic move.
It must be noted that most organizations use CI as a benchmark that helps determine where they stand in relation to other competing businesses. It can even be used to better understand the efficacy of competitors' product messaging and general market positioning. Ultimately, competitive intelligence is a means of explaining why certain companies win while others fail.
Competitive intelligence helps an online business evaluate what their competition is doing — both positive and negative. Up-to-date CI reveals market trends before they're formally identified by industry news publications, helping companies to stay ahead of the competition. Though CI efforts require an extensive collection of data, the work can be integrated into existing analyses without an abundance of effort or time.
Competitive intelligence often focuses on some or all of the following areas:
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