In order to obtain favour from customers over your competitors, you need to have developed a selling business point. There has to be something outstanding about your product that will make customers choose you rather than the brands that you are competing with.
By definition, a Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) is the leverage that a company has over its competitors. In other words, it comprises of company assets, attributes, or abilities that are difficult to duplicate or exceed; and provide a superior or favourable long term position over competitors.
It is important, as a business, to have this leverage such that when customers are torn between your product and another, they will go for yours. Perhaps because it’s cheaper, or the packaging is outstanding, or the flavours are authentic.
These are the characteristics of a sustainable competitive advantage.
- Flexible and responsive
A sustainable competitive advantage has to be flexible and responsive. It has to have the ability to respond to market changes. This means that the business has to figure out a method of adaptability to the dynamics of business because strategies can easily become outdated and obsolete with the market changes.
It also has to be substantial. The product must be substantially different from the competitor’s products. This is because, if people are to choose your product over any other, they have to have a valid and outstanding reason. You must clearly show your products value or uniqueness over your competitors, such that when it comes down to choosing, the customer will pick your product without thinking twice.
Obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage can be quite easy if you follow all the rules and pay attention to the most minute details. Here are a few pointers on how to obtain a sustainable competitive advantage:
- Understand your target audience
There are various ways of obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage. First, you have to understand your target clientele fully. Only in doing so will you be able to provide to them a unique selling point that will actually appeal to them. Therefore, you need to look for those niches that aren’t well serviced by competitors and can be profitably targeted and sold to.
- Develop an understanding of what your customers want
It is nearly impossible to deliver to customers whom you haven’t quite understood. You must develop a deep understanding of what your customers really want. This can be done through extensive research on them. Once you have done this you will be able to develop a value proposition that really grabs their attention.
You have to work out the key things that you need to do really well to support and deliver the value proposition such as the service levels, quality, branding, pricing, etc. Because if you’re going to use something as a selling point, it has to be crafted to perfection.
- Understand your strengths and core competencies
Lastly, understand what your strengths and core competencies are and how you can use innovative ways to provide value to your chosen target clientele. Your sustainable competitive advantage has to be something that is in line with what you are able to provide for the business to the best of your ability. It has to be among your strengths if it is to help you attract more customers and increase your sales.
3Price as a sustainable competitive advantage?
Price may not always work as a sustainable competitive advantage. This is because sometimes when a product is substantially cheaper than another, a customer may confuse it for being poor quality or low in value. Therefore in using price as a sustainable competitive advantage, you have to be very careful. The cost should not be significantly cheaper than its substitutes otherwise this may raise concern, and fewer people will choose it.