Using Competitive Intelligence to Grow Your Print on Demand Business

by Gooten Editorial Team on Jun. 17, 2022

You’ve probably heard the old saying knowledge is power. That’s true for life, and it’s especially true for business. Simply put, having knowledge of your market, your buyers, and your competitors can position you for greater success. That’s why so many big businesses spend huge amounts of money on data aggregation and analysis.

Your print on demand business may not have the resources for a large-scale data modeling operation, but you can nevertheless collect information to help you navigate the competitive terrain. We’re talking specifically about a concept called competitive intelligence, which can have big implications for print on demand companies.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Maybe you’re new to the concept of competitive intelligence. If so, a quick overview might prove helpful.

Competitive intelligence simply refers to the practice of collecting information about your industry, with the ultimate goal of strengthening your competitive position.

The information gathered through competitive intelligence may encompass all aspects of the business ecosystem. Some examples include:

  • Your customers
  • Your competitors
  • Your suppliers and partners
  • Technologies used in the industry
  • Industry trends
  • Broader cultural or economic trends that impact your industry


It’s important to note that, while competitive intelligence is closely related to business intelligence and market intelligence, these terms are not synonymous.

To clarify:

  • Business intelligence tends to be more focused on analyzing data that’s collected internally, as opposed to looking at broader, external considerations.
  • Market intelligence is all about evaluating market trends and conditions, which is certainly part of competitive intelligence, but it’s not the full picture.

What are the Benefits of Competitive Intelligence?

Simply put, if you operate your print on demand business without knowledge of the competitive landscape, you’re both exposing your business to threats and also missing out on some potential opportunities.

Generally speaking, a robust approach to competitive intelligence can yield the following benefits:

  • Discovering market trends and positioning your print on demand business for future success.
  • Predicting how your competitors will act and preparing yourself to counteract.
  • Spotting and exploiting emerging trends in the industry, before your competitors have a chance to do so.
  • Discovering areas where your print on demand business has some room for improvement.
  • Making truly confident, well-informed decisions about the future of your print on demand enterprise.

Gathering Competitive Intelligence

Where exactly can you turn for data that will position your print on demand business for success? There are three basic places to look.

  • Industry-based resources. Consider information you can glean via your relationships with customers, vendors, or print on demand partners.
  • Company-based platforms. You can also gather a lot of really useful data points just by monitoring your competitors’ websites, blogs, email newsletters, and social media platforms. Always have an eye on what the competition is up to!
  • Competitive intelligence software. There are also some software suites that you can use to monitor market trends and economic conditions, though this is a more advanced option. Smaller eCommerce businesses will probably want to stick with the first two types of information-gathering.

Drawing from these sources, try to glean as much actionable insight as you can in the following four categories:

  1. Marketplace intelligence. How has your print on demand niche grown? Who are the big players you’re competing with? How does your visibility compare with your competition? Do you think your marketplace will expand, or shrink, over time?
  2. Customer intelligence. Who’s buying your products? How do customers typically find your print on demand store? What are their values? What are their pain points?
  3. Product intelligence. What types of products do your competitors offer? What types of pricing and promos do you notice among your competitors?
  4. Marketing intelligence. What are some areas where you could be better positioning your business to connect with buyers?

Move Forward with Competitive Intelligence

Remember, competitive intelligence can be invaluable for improving your market standing… and one of the best ways to get competitive intelligence is through a meaningful relationship with a print on demand partner.

That’s where Gooten comes into play! We have a wealth of experience in the print on demand world and are experts in scaling on-demand eCommerce businesses. Reach out to our team today.