Competition is an essential component affecting the success of every business. However, you only get better results if you understand what your competitors are doing well.
As a way of enhancing competition, about 90% of companies use competitive intelligence to ensure that they stand out from the crowd.
With the rapid growth of the internet as a whole, we see eCommerce booming in tandem. This sector highly lucrative for every business owner who dreams of expanding their respective brands internationally.
It’s pretty easy to establish an eCommerce business. However, many people experience enormous and frustrating challenges when attempting to move to the top of their specific niches.
Of course, this does not mean that it’s impossible to build your eCommerce brand from scratch to the top of the industry. All this can easily happen with a good strategy and a first-class product, particularly when said product helps consumers solve their problems.
Proper eCommerce competitor analysis is THE best way to scale your brand to the top of your industry.
What Is eCommerce Competitor Analysis?
Let’s start by defining the term “eCommerce competitor analysis” itself.
This term describes the various tasks and activities you’ll need to undertake for identifying and evaluating the products, services, marketing, etc. that your competitors are putting out into the marketplace.
Competitor analysis is a simple and straightforward term that you can easily use in your business operations, although the process is not as easy as it sounds.
To get better results, you need to have an incredible competitor analysis process. Ensure that this process will enable you to collect essential information from different corners of the industry to help you refine your business strategy.
To execute the eCommerce competitor analysis process, you need to put in a lot of hard work before coming up with the final findings based on what you want to accomplish.
Your goal is to get more insights into your competitors’ strategies to succeed. Even though the process is long, it’s achievable!
Below is a comprehensive step-by-step guide that you can use to conduct a best-of-breed eCommerce competitor analysis.
Determine Your Direct and Indirect Competitors
There is no way you can begin analyzing your competitors if you do not know who they are.
The first step is for you to identify all of your direct and indirect competitors across the industry.
Don’t overlook or try to cut this step short. It can take a lot of time and effort, so plan accordingly to ensure a thorough analysis.
Start with a simple Google search. If you look for the products and services you offer, you’ll easily identify others in your niche who are trying identical or very similar strategies.
You can also find a wealth of information on social media and similar platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and YouTube. Similar businesses are likely using similar promotional vehicles, so go where they tend to do so.
After you identify the top competitors, then you’ll be able to do a deeper dive on each of them as to what they offer and how they go to market.
Research More About the Products or Services Offered by Your Competitors
After identifying all your direct and indirect competitors, you need to go the extra mile and learn more about what they offer.
Aim to learn everything you can about them, such as if they have established any other new product, the number of products that are similar to what you are offering, general pricing of the products, discount package, and the products they lack.
Evaluate how your competitors get their funding and the budget they use to run their operations.
You’ll have to find this information via in-depth keyword research, aiming to learn more about the company’s formation, structure, and business partners.
Evaluate the Content Strategy of Your Competitors, their Reach, and Quality
Most eCommerce brands use content to connect with prospects and customers. Pretty much any eCommerce website you come across will include a blog or other area where the company can share posts and/or articles.
Find this information and how they use it. This will help you identify what content strategy they are using to connect with their target audience. And those are the same people you want to engage with, so pay attention!
Perhaps you’ll find that their content is subpar. Great! You can then put in extra effort to generate higher quality, more engaging materials that will move you ahead of them.
If you can access the data, also try to understand how much traffic your competitors are getting. Then compare it to your own, and figure out what the upside is in the market based on the totals.
Identify The Position of their Brands in the Industry
The content your competitors publish on their respective blogs is enough to tell you more about how they portray their brand in the market.
Evaluate the kind of message they deliver to their readers and compare it with what you are doing.
By reviewing their messaging, you can garner important insights, such as the focus phrase, the means of attracting potential customers, and their unique selling points.
Once you find out the answers to these questions, you will get a clear glimpse of what your competitors are trying to present to their readers.
Note that your website needs to position you as unique from your competitors, or you will risk losing customers to competitors who do a better job of differentiating themselves from the pack.
Learn About their Social Media Presence
Are you following your competitors on social media already? You should be doing so.
Follow them closely to learn more about what they are doing. Social media is important for brands to engage customer in different locations.
It’s also a great feedback mechanism, so pay attention to what prospects and customers are saying about the brand. Those brand perceptions are very important in this whole eCommerce competitor analysis process.
Focus on monitoring the performance of their social media ads. In this category, you can use data visualization to find out more about the ad performance and gather insights on how you can refine your own strategy to get better results.
Evaluate their Growth and Content Strategy
Different companies use various strategies to enhance their growth. If you have a better strategy, then you can expect to get better results.
Ensure that you monitor every move that your competitors make. Read every piece of content that they publish on their domain, in order to learn what you are missing for your own business.
Do not forget that a marketing strategy incorporates lots of things. You should combine different aspects together in order to establish a marketing methodology that can transform the performance of your business.
After learning about different means used by your competitors, you can combine all these features and formulate a simple methodology to help you yield better results.
Generate a Competitor Analysis Framework
eCommerce competitor analysis is a methodology that you can use to present the data you have collected from the strategies used by your competitors.
It uses data visualization such as the Sankey diagram to outline data in a manner that is easy to read and understand.
But no matter which framework you select, use this tool to your advantage. It is the single best way to disseminate a large volume of competitive information into an easy-to-understand, actionable format for your entire organization.
Most organizations prefer hiring someone to help them navigate the eCommerce competitor analysis process. Even though this is advisable, it forces the company to dig deep into its bank accounts to pay for the service.
An average of 56% of competitors tend to keep their eye closely on their competitors to have a good grasp on what they are doing.
If you closely follow the process we just oulined, you can conduct in-depth competitor research. With this, you will be able to uncover insights from your competitors’ strategies and use it to refine your activities accordingly.
Feature Image Credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery Free for Commercial Use License, with attribution required.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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