This one is a no-brainer.
If a company creates a product that is better quality than their competition, they'll usually sell more. It doesn't matter if the lower quality product is cheaper, when a product is made better and lasts longer; people are usually willing to pay a higher price. Your competitor might be making their products in a way that creates a better loyal customer base.
This can be applied to service, too.
You must offer high quality service. Customers will seek out another company for their needs if your service is sub-par. This service can be your customer service or a service you offer such as website design.
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Consumers tend to buy anything that a celebrity has endorsed. It doesn't even matter how good something is, if a celebrity says they like it - people will buy it.
Getting a celebrity to endorse your product can be very expensive. Unless the celebrity actually likes your product and offers to endorse it or mentions that they use it without you asking for advertising, you're likely to be left with a huge bill.
Alternatively, a well-respected organization backing a product or service will help sales. If your competition has such a backing then you may need to seek your own organization to affiliate with.
Another selling point of companies that intrigues consumers is when items are locally made.
People enjoy buying from people they know or from sources close to them. This can be driven by their devotion to the green lifestyle or just because they like things that are made where they live. If your products are being made in China and your competition is made in America, chances are customers are going to prefer the competition.
Locally made sometimes goes hand in hand with greener items. If your competition is using a green angle, then you may be being beaten out by that. The trend in sustainable materials has become mainstream; disposable items are not all the rage.
Believe it or not, if you have a bad website and your competition has a great, easy to navigate site, then that might be your downfall.
Social networking has been integrated into most websites so that consumers can share or tweet about the products that they are enjoying. If you are behind on this, it's probably the biggest reason your online sales are being outmatched by your competition.
No matter the reason, you can always come back from a trouncing. It happens with big name brands all the time, even those that sometimes have their online reputation management called into question.
With some advice and work, you can outdo your competition.
As a business owner, what are you doing to be your competition?
About the author
Tina Samuels writes on social media, marketing, and other small business topics.