The term “Competitive Analysis” likely rings a bell if you have ever been to a business school. Many have learned about them and a few sometimes do employ them in their jobs. This article looks at how helpful a competitive analysis can be for brands attempting to monitor their ecommerce showing.
What Is A Competitive Analysis?
A competitive analysis (or competitor analysis) constitutes the process of recognizing and assessing your competitors, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. It aids you get a complete picture of your performance in the market, identify risks, adopt competitive advantages, and estimate how this performance develops over time.
An ecommerce competitive analysis is not basically different. However, it does need a separate approach to gather and analyze the data. Brick-and-mortar market research normally involves numerous store visits and consumer surveys. On the contrary, an ecommerce competitive analysis will carry you through online metrics like real-time price alterations, digital shelf, keywords search performance, and online product ratings.
The following are the steps involved in conducting a competitive analysis.
# 1 Identify Your Competitors
Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, your competitors are around you and they’re probably just as starved as you are.
Later, you’ll get to:
- Gain on their weaknesses and strengths to aid begin your business,
- Get a better knowledge of the landscape and know how to best place your business for success, besides
- Identify, know and put tabs on your competition so you are free from bothering about them scheming up behind you.
This process is termed as competitive intelligence collecting.
Find Your Competitors
There are numerous ways to identify major competitors in your industry, but Amazon and Google will probably be where you start your research.
Begin with an easy search for your product ideas, business name and overarching business idea.
Thereon, study your rival’s digital footprint by probing into:
Content and social media,
Online communities and niche organizations, and
Support threads and reviews.
You can employ other resources to uncover information on your competitors like Keyword Spy, Alexa, Ahrefs, Hoovers and ReferenceUSA.
Your eventual aim at this stage should be to fling a wide net and obtain an extensive view of the competitive landscape.
Group Your Competitors
As you discover competitors, you’ll desire to group them into different levels, from primary competitors to those you still require to watch for – such as secondary and tertiary competitors.
As you perform your research, be certain to maintain things arranged in an easily accessible spreadsheet or database.
While documenting your competitors start by tracking the basics:
- Name of store,
- Mission statement,
- Strengths and weaknesses of their business,
- Product offering, and
- Category of competition
# 2 Study Your Competitor’s Website And Customer Experience
After you’ve identified your rivas, you’ll wish to evaluate their websites.
To begin, scrutinize closely the following items:
- How strong is their product photography? How do they exhibit their products and aid communicate details?
- Where are their CTA during the online shopping experience? Are they distinct or do they get omitted due to a bad color scheme or placing?
- How exhaustive are their product descriptions? What information do they contain? What information is absent?
- Are they attempting to develop an email list with a newsletter sign-up prompt? How highlighted is it?
- Do they possess a blog? How often do they post? What kind of information do they deal with?
- Where are their social media icons placed?
- Is their site optimized for mobile?
- How long do they take to react to live chat, email and contact form submissions?
- What means for contact do they provide? Do they have restricted hours for phone support?
- Do they possess an abandoned cart saver aspect? If so, at what tempo do they dispatch the emails and what messaging is contained?
- What information is contained in their marketing banners and callouts? This might aid you begin unveiling their competitive placing within the market.
- How often are they running promotions? What advantages do those promotions offer to their customers and potential shoppers, along with their business?
These are simply to have you started.
Every website will be separate based on the market they are attempting to access and the services or products they are selling.
The aim here is to not just obtain a handle on their strengths and weaknesses (which can even be achieved with a SWOT analysis), but to aid you begin thinking as an active business owner.
Also utilize tools such as Ahrefs to estimate the quantity of organic traffic received by your competitors.
It may reveal you chances to optimize your site for keywords that you’re presently not targeting.
There onwards, you’ll get to recognize your competitive advantage in the marketplace.
# 3 Identify Your Competitor’s Market Placing
By recognizing your competitor’s positioning scheme, you’ll begin to receive a feel for your market’s expectations and demands.
View their website and marketing messaging and inquire the following:
What are customers actually buying from them? Are they aiming for price? Experience?
What makes their service or product unique in their opinion?
How are they distinguishing their product from their competition? What benefits and features do they focus the most in their marketing copy?
These questions will aid you to know to whom your competitors are talking and how they place themselves within the market, which will yield dividends as you task on how you’ll place yourself against or beside them.
To collect the maximum information, ensure to:
- Subscribe to and follow their blog
- Sign up for their newsletter
- Purchase a product
- Follow them on social media
- Put a product in your cart and abandon the checkout process
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# 4 Take A Peep At Pricing
Your pricing scheme is among the most essential aspects of your online business – and likely a competitive advantage.
There are different factors to contemplate when fixing prices for your products.
The best place to begin is to view how your competitors have priced their products. You’ll know what your target market is ready to pay and obtain a knowledge of what prices may be beneficial for your business.
Ensure to view their prices across different channels, first Amazon and Google, along with eBay and Alibaba (regarding the B2B segment).
Your prices don’t essentially have to be lower than your competition.
Analyze the information you collected on market positioning and find out what it is you’re really selling to your customers.
Your target market may be ready to pay higher for expedited shipping, peace of mind or simply overall website experience.
You must keep profitable margins for running your business. You cannot concede in this sphere.
# 5 Solve Shipping Problem
Similar to pricing, at this moment, you’ll simply wish to collect intel regarding how your competition manages shipping, and also how they communicate anticipations.
Since shipping is a major reason for abandoning carts, having economical, competitive shipping charges is highly important for your ecommerce store’s success.
If you can’t bear to fix competitive shipping costs initially, what small things can you proffer to do dissimilarly to ensure your success? A few ideas include:
- Gift cards.
- Giveaways on social media.
- Offer unique customer support
- Tiered loyalty program.
# 6 Conduct A Temperature Test With Reviews
Spend the time to locate as many reviews of your rivals as possible, comprising all from product reviews on their website to business reviews on social media to comments remaining on their blog.
Obtain a temperature check from their audience as to how wholesome and client-oriented their business is and determine if it’s a strength or weakness you can gain on.
You may view an opportunity to make your customer service glow above the different players in your competitive environment.
If you discover plenty of reviews on a product resembling the one you’ll sell, it’s a nice sign that people are interested in purchasing it.
If the reviews belong to customers who aren’t satisfied with the service offered, the product quality, or the condition in which the product came, those could be ways to aid distinguish your business.
# 7 Review Social Media
With the growth of social media, it’s important your business cashes on the opportunity to outperform your competitors on leading platforms – such as Facebook and Instagram.
Viewing your competitor’s social media accounts has many benefits.
If they have numerous followers, and particularly if they are actively busy, it’s a great sign that there exists a market for your products.
Besides, you’ll obtain a nice idea of how customers experience regarding their business, and view what functions well and what doesn’t for interacting with your individual client base.
Obviously, if a competitor does social truly well, it also implies that you’ll require to lift up your game and emerge with a novel way of involving your market – or probably select a separate combination of customers all together.
If your competitors lack a decent following, it could suggest that the market is feeble, your target market doesn’t employ social media, or just that there is space for your business to spearhead in interacting with customers.
View all of the social media channels you can imagine – including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat and Twitter – and inquire:
Which social media channels do they employ the most?
What is their social media presence like in general?
How do they talk with their client base?
How often do they post something new?
How frequently do they engage with their following?
Which social media channels are they leaving out? Is there a chance for you there?
What proportion of the posts are concerning their business?
What are they posting?
What percentage is exclusively meant to raise engagement or acquire followers?
Finally, try out some optional social channels also.
While digital communities are flourishing, offline touchpoints also function as wonderful indicators of the involvement of a brand’s community. If one of your rivals is hosting a regional event, attend and view firsthand what customers worth and support.
The aim for your business should be to forever remain one step forward. These competitive analyses will work as a major factor when you’re designing strategies to rule the market.
With this entire information, you can assemble a competitive strategy that focuses on your strengths – which normally align with deficiencies from your competition.
Now you’re one step nearer to asserting market share and increasing sales.
Now, let’s know how to recognize your target market and start publicizing your business to probable customers.
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