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Competitive Business Intelligence: How Retailers Use Big Data to Get Ahead

December 4, 2023
Ashley Jefferson Author 7 mins read
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As a durable goods retailer, you know that continued growth requires more than putting quality products on your shelves. Your industry is dynamic and fast-paced, and success is built on staying one step ahead of your competitors.   

To that end, competitive business intelligence has emerged as an essential tool for durables retailers, delivering valuable insights into market trends, consumer data, and competitor movement.  

From optimizing pricing strategies to personalizing the shopping experience, let’s dive into what competitive business intelligence is and the positive impact of harnessing competitive data through solutions like TraQline®.  

What is Competitive Business Intelligence? 

Most simply put, competitive business intelligence is data and tools that deliver an enriched understanding of your business, market, or competition — which is collected and analyzed to make more informed and strategic decisions. 

Competitive business intelligence is really the marriage of two other terms: business intelligence and competitive intelligence.  

  • Business intelligence is the assessment of your own business or market, gathered to guide growth and process optimization.  
  • Competitive intelligence refers to data collected about your competitors, which helps determine opportunities, advantages, and weaknesses in your own business.  

Competitive business intelligence (such as what TraQline delivers) brings these two concepts together — ideally in one dashboard — to establish a more actionable foundation for making stronger strategic plans and fostering company growth. 

How to Gather Competitive Business Intelligence 

In today’s data-driven and technologically savvy society, there are seemingly countless places from which to gather data.  

  • Data Gathering: Somewhat rudimentary forms include on-the-ground research of competitor products, secret shopping, and scrubbing the internet and internal resources to compile spreadsheets with product information or market statistics.
SWOT Analysis Infographic Competitive Business Intelligence TraQline
  • SWOT Analysis: One of the more standard and heavily adopted methods of self-conducted competitive research is a SWOT analysis, which is a straightforward method of cleanly outlining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) your business is up against.  
  • Data Analytics Tools: Replacing these more time intensive methods is the adoption of software as a service (SaaS) tools like TraQline, which deliver easily accessible competitive business intelligence through visual dashboards and reports with little effort from the user. 

TraQline Durable IQTM, as an example, presents a comprehensive view of the durable goods market, giving users insights on everything from market share to consumer behavior.  

Regardless of the method you choose to gather your competitive business intelligence, let’s dive into how to use these insights — and how they can empower your business to be more strategic.   

How to Use Competitive Business Intelligence: Three Case Studies 

Comprehensive competitive business intelligence delivers a wide breadth of insights — covering everything from market position to consumer behavior, product details, industry trends, and more. The type of intelligence — as well as other factors such as company KPIs, business challenges faced, open projects, etc. — can influence how a given selection of data points are used.  

For retailers, competitive business intelligence can inform everything from line reviews to strategic decisions about forecasting, merchandising, product placement, marketing, and more.  

To illustrate the power of competitive business intelligence, here are a few examples of insights pulled from TraQline, and how each of these could inform business decisions for our clients.  

Use Case 1: Build Strategy Around Competitive Advantages 

In this first example, we pulled data from the Head-to-Head tool in Durable IQ, which allows users to compare market data for up to 6 brands and/or retailers. 

Competitive Business Intelligence Durable IQ Screen Image

For this example, we put Home Depot up against its biggest competitor, Lowe’s for the Durable IQ product category  Total Lighting.  

Based on the information shown in the head-to-head data, Home Depot owns more of the Lighting market overall — however Lowe’s is seeing significant ecommerce growth.  

While Home Depot owns the share for this category both instore and online, what actions could Lowe’s take to help continue ecommerce growth overall?   Lowe’s could benefit from a deep dive of the market data available through Durable IQ to look at “Why Bought Store” online (narrowed by consumers who purchased online), build and compare customer profiles – what is different about the Home Depot online purchaser compared to the Lowe’s purchaser? Investigating which brands are being purchased and for what price could also help  Lowe’s to ultimately build a strategy that factors in any opportunities to improve their own ecommerce experience for  Total Lighting.  

Use Case 2: Find Gap Opportunities & Optimize Product Mix 

For this second example of competitive business intelligence, we pulled October 2023 data from our SKU share insights tool, TraQline Hybrid POSTM.  

Let’s say that a smaller OPE dealer wanted to know what Walk-Behind Mowers to stock — both at a specific model-level, as well as by how to balance their product mix overall based on fuel type and other product features.  


Through competitive business intelligence like Hybrid POS, this dealer would be able to see an accurate reflection of the market, determining that CRAFTSMAN is the top brand for Walk-Behind Mowers with the top two best-selling SKUs, as well as that 54% of the market purchases gas verus battery.  

Utilizing the insights gained from HPOS, this OPE dealer could create a strategic product mix based on what is selling most at the leading big box retailers.  

Use Case 3: Competitively Price Store Inventory 

For our final use case, let’s look at competitive business intelligence in the form of product comparison or product library insights.  

As a retailer, having the right price can be critical to closing a sale — in fact, “competitive price” is often one of the top cited reasons for buying at a particular store and/or buying a particular brand.  

A major part of competitive product pricing is simply knowing what the competition is doing, and then strategically aligning your pricing strategies and sales with that information. 

Using SKU MetrixTM, retailers can see pricing insights including what the leading outlets are pricing any given SKU, as well as the high, low, and average price for that model and the pricing trend over time.  

Competitive Business Intelligence Hybrid POS Screen Image

As a specific example, let’s look at the best-selling Top Load Washer for October 2023, Samsung’s WF45T6000AW. This particular model saw a high of $680 and a low of $628. Retailers looking to price this washer to sell would strategically aim for somewhere within that range, taking into account which of the big box stores are physically near them, as well as other factors.  

TraQline: Your Source of Competitive Intelligence Tools 

TraQline currently powers competitive business intelligence for over 350+ companies in the durables industry, delivering the data they need to make smarter strategic decisions and grow their business.  

To discover the insights TraQline can deliver for your business, visit our contact us page or fill out the form below.