Just who is your competition anyway? Is it the wine store down the block with really cheap prices, or that winery across the way with perfectly draining soil?
The execs at Coke did a good job when they began defining their market in terms of "Share of the Stomach." No longer was Pepsi their only nemesis, suddenly Campbell's Soup, Burger King, and bell peppers all became public enemy #1.
Chris Dixon, Co-Founder at Hunch, recently wrote about a quote that summarizes this perfectly for internet companies: "Your #1 competitor starting out will always be the BACK button, nothing else."
In my role at Snooth, I have been asked the competition question at least 50 times, and each time I say that same thing: We compete for users' attention (and if we sold anything, we'd be competing for their money, as well). People hate my response, and they expect me to list companies like Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate or Thrillist or Wall Street Journal or someone else, when that simply wouldn't be true.
It wasn't true when Snooth had 1,000 users, and it's not true now that we reach 10 million users per month. Our biggest issue has always been lack of recognition, or worse, ambivalence from users that we've managed to get to our homepage. Wine Spectator, great as it is, has obviously never captured 100% of the universe of wine lovers on the planet. For Snooth to get its first 1,000 users, let alone its 10 million users per month, we didn't have to win them from another wine resource. In fact when we survey our users the most common answer to "what other wine websites do you visit?" is "none."
It's the same for a winery, or a retailer. Your biggest problem is not the obvious competitor you've been eyeing warily, but the other distractions, causes and temptations that tug at the minds and wallets of your prospective customers.
That may make marketing sound like an impossibility, but remember this, the customers that chose to spend their money with you, did so above every other option in the world. You just need to figure out what it was that caused them to do that, and position yourselves for a repeat.