Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Track Your Competitor's Suppliers

Tap into the right resources and the world can become your oyster. We wrote about one way to track your competitor's suppliers a while back here (excerpt):
Another excellent way to tap new geographical markets, to minimize your expenditure of time, money, and energy, and to help focus your overseas sales and marketing efforts is to use the Port Import/Export Reporting Service (PIERS). PIERS ( is the only information service that provides names of U.S. consignees or shippers as well as overseas suppliers, along with detailed descriptions of import or export shipments for the commodity of your choice. This information is taken from ships' manifests by a nationwide corps of reporters and is loaded weekly into a computer database.
I once used PIERS on behalf of an American window blind manufacturer to find customers who were importing window shades into Capetown, South Africa. My client wanted to effectively compete with an industry giant already exporting to Capetown. After securing a list from PIERS that showed who was buying the competitor's goods there, we created a direct mail package specifically for those customers. Using the PIERS list gave us the competitive advantage we needed to show the South African prospects the superiority of my client's product and win them over as customers.
This week we stumbled upon a new resource that appears to be similar to PIERS: Import Genius -- a search engine for U.S. customs data. We have no experience with it so we leave it up to you to explore.

Another resource is The Journal of Commerce which has been around forever. They have lots of useful global transportation (commerce) information too.

We suggest you check out all of the above, compare capabilities and let us know what you think.

And if you know of other best-kept secrets, please share (comment). Or maybe you prefer to keep the secret to yourself?

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