There will always be competition. Monopolies rarely exist. Where there is competition, you need to know and understand it. Often the best person to ask is your customer. They may know your competitor better than you would wish them to. They may even tell you all about them too, if you ask.
Why is understanding the competition important? Because unless you know how well they are serving their customers, you cannot hope to know how to serve your customers better.
Marketing is about competitive advantage.
Take an example of something that recently happened to me:
I wanted a new chair and I really liked one I saw in a high street store. I bought it. The two people who delivered it were incredibly grumpy. They dumped the chair in the hallway and left.
I wanted a sofa and I really liked one I saw in another high street store. I bought it. When they rang to arrange delivery, they gave me a date. They said they would text a 3 hour time slot with 48 hours’ notice. “I won’t know until 48 hours before when, between 8am and 8pm, I will need to be at home to take delivery of my sofa?” I asked. “Yes, that is correct.” I politely suggested that didn’t really fit into modern working life. “Sorry but we don’t control the delivery company.” Argh!
I wanted a new dresser (I know, I’m buying a lot of furniture at the moment!) and I really liked one in a different high street store. I bought it. The two people who delivered it (in a prearranged 3 hour time slot) were happy and helpful. They unpacked the dresser and put it where I wanted it, assembled it and took away all the packaging.
I like the chair, the sofa and the dresser but who am I more likely to buy from in the future?