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Identifying the White Space…

The “white space” (see Figure 3.1) identified in a competitive analysis is defined as strategic positioning that captures the greatest market share among your target cus- tomers. Typically illustrated as the confluence of core customer solutions your strategy brings to the market (e.g., specialized products, superior customer care, a better cus- tomer experience, etc.), identifying the white space opportunity will be the catalyst that drives decisiveness to commit the capital and resources for market entry.

Figure 3.1: White Space Identification

Highly experiential

Competitor D

Customer Experience

Commodity product

Competitor C

Competitor A

White Space

Customized product

Competitor B

Utilitarian experience

Product Characteristics

Another factor may be considered in developing the business case for investment in a unique Canadian strategy. Consider the strategic testing opportunity (i.e., a uniquely sustainable strategy, perhaps one that has been considered in your home market yet rejected for high risk for the core business). Were this approach to be used for the Canadian market entry, where it would be in a controlled environment, the strategic importance of the e-commerce launch is enhanced.

For example, Best Buy Canada’s strategy in Canada may influence their core U.S. strategy by virtue of their operating two competing brands: Future Shop and Best Buy Canada. Through two competing brands, Best Buy Canada thereby gains greater market share in Canada. Adopting the same strategy in the U.S. may prove successful, as it has been in Canada.

The benefits of a Canadian e-commerce launch may have more strategic value in the form of insights and proof of concept that may provide a competitive edge to your core domestic business. Specific elements that could be tested include the following:

  • New positioning: It is not uncommon to position your brand differently in a new market. Typically a premium-pricing position relative to your domestic market.

  • New marketing: Strategies that are too risky for your core business, e.g., greater social media/community engagement, mobile marketing, etc.

  • Advanced cross-channel capabilities: Integrate the store and online customer experience with a smaller store network in Canada.

Visa e-commerce cross-border handbook for U.S. retailers

Copyright 2010 Visa. All rights reserved.


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