As an eCommerce business owner, monitoring your competitors will help you thrive long-term. Studying what they’re doing right (and wrong) can provide valuable insights to improve your own marketing strategies. In this post, we’ll explore practical tips and techniques for conducting an effective competitor analysis.
Know Your Competitors Inside and Out
Start by making a list of your 3-5 main competitors. Spend time on their websites analyzing everything from product offerings to pricing, marketing campaigns, and customer experience. Pay attention to details like:
- Popular product categories and bestsellers
- Pricing strategies (are they undercutting you?)
- User experience and site navigation flows
- Marketing channels used (email, social media, ads)
- Customer reviews and ratings
- Shipping and return policies
Go beyond just their websites. Check review sites like Trustpilot, search for competitors on social media, and look at analytics tools like SimilarWeb to understand traffic sources. The more you understand about their strengths and weaknesses, the better positioned you’ll be.
Analyze Winning and Failing Tactics
Take notes on campaigns that seem to be driving sales. Are they running frequent promotions? Sending targeted emails? Running Facebook ads? Look for patterns in what messaging and creative resonates most with customers. You can then test adapting similar strategies for your own business.
Learn from Competitor Mistakes
Just as important as emulating success is learning from the failures of others. Analyze what competitors do well and where gaps exist. Look for underserved customer segments or product categories being overlooked. One leader may own the high-end space but ignore budget options.
Customer feedback and reviews also reveal unmet needs. Is poor service or a weak mobile experience leaving room for you to outshine others?
Track Competitor Activity Over Time
Doing a one-time analysis only shows a snapshot in time. Set up Google Alerts for competitor brand and product names so you stay on top of new developments. Periodically revisit their sites to spot any changes, like new landing pages or abandoned strategies.
This ongoing monitoring allows you to quickly adapt if a competitor discovers a new marketing channel or product category that takes off. It also prevents you from wasting efforts duplicating strategies they’ve since abandoned.
Use Competitor Insights to Test New Ideas
Once you’ve gathered intel, it’s time to start testing ways to one-up the competition. For example, if competitors charge $5 flat rate shipping, try free shipping over $50 instead. Or if they rely on Facebook ads, try Snapchat or TikTok.
Give new tactics a few weeks to gain traction before evaluating success. And be willing to pivot if they don’t work as hoped. The goal is continuous testing and improvement based on what you’ve learned from your competitors.
For ecommerce sites built on platforms like Shopify, BuiltWith.com is especially useful. It can show which apps and plugins a Shopify store is using. This allows other Shopify merchants to get ideas for apps to enhance their own sites. Plus, it helps identify common capabilities that apps provide. If you want to see how another Shopify site implemented a certain feature, checking their BuiltWith profile is a quick way to discover the app behind it.
BuiltWith has become a go-to tool for developers, marketers and store owners to transparently analyze websites and gather intelligence on their technical stack and capabilities. It offers a clever way to gain insights from the online success of others.
The ecommerce landscape changes constantly, so staying on top of competitors is crucial for long-term survival and growth. Don’t be afraid to emulate strategies that have been proven to work. Constantly test new tactics based on weaknesses you uncover. Competitor analysis is an ongoing process, but it provides invaluable insights for boosting your strategy and results.
Are you ready to take your ecommerce strategy to the next level? Get started with a competitor analysis today.