Practical Ecommerce

Spy on Competitors to Improve Products and Promotions

Spying on your ecommerce competition can help with product pricing and marketing strategy. The first step is to identify all competitors no matter how large or small. Once you’ve compiled a list, start collecting and analyzing the data.

Products

Review your competitors’ products. Evaluate pricing, descriptions, and promotions. For the initial review, list all of their products and the prices. For large competitors with thousands of products, save time by listing only the products that are similar to yours. If your company also sells thousands of products, list minimum and maximum prices per item type across all competitors. Then manually select a few items to compare your price to the minimum and maximum range.

Spying on your ecommerce competition can help with product pricing and marketing strategy.

Other information to scrutinize is HTML tags, product categories, and product descriptions — all can help improve your search engine rankings. Moreover, looking at competitors’ categories can provide ideas for expanding your product mix. And studying competitors’ product descriptions can help improve your conversion rates.

Promotions

It is also important to analyze competitors’ promotions. Check this promotional activity at least monthly and, also, around major holidays. Sign up for competitors’ newsletters.

Match competitors’ promotions that you haven’t used. Then run A/B tests to compare those promotions to yours. For example, if a competitor offers a “2 for 1 price,” test it against your own efforts.

Also, identify the timing of competitors’ promotions. Run yours when competitors are not. Or, offer a better deal during the same time.

Traffic Analysis

Use tools such as SimilarWeb to estimate the traffic of your competitors’ websites, and the sources. Search engine tools such as SEMrush, SpyFu, and Ahrefs can identify competitors’ keywords, pay-per-click ads, and backlinks. All of this can provide opportunities to increase your traffic.

For example, if 5 percent of a competitor’s traffic comes from email marketing but your email traffic is only 1 percent, it is time to improve your email marketing results. Reviewing backlinks can help your search engine optimization strategy. Keyword rankings can help spot SEO opportunities, to fine-tune product descriptions.

CompetitorEst. Monthly Visitors% Organic Search% Social Media% Email% Other Sources
Company A20,00050%1%1%48%
Company B10,00070%5%10%15%
Company C5,00090%2%5%3%

Social Media

Social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, many others — can provide helpful information on your competitors. This includes the number of followers, the content of individual posts, and likes and comments.

Monitor at least weekly. It can inspire new post ideas and new ways to drive traffic from social media. It can also show which products interest consumers.

Looking at reviews on Google, Facebook, and other sites can show your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Reviews of individual products can be helpful, too.

Other Niches

A few minutes each day can help gain a competitive advantage. In time, those insights could help predict a product’s success before offering it for sale. It could also help with promotional testing.

Look, too, at companies outside of your niche for inspiration. For example, if you sell kitchen accessories, study innovative furniture retailers. You may find unique promotional ideas, or innovative web designs, or unusual pricing strategies.

Anna Kayfitz

Anna Kayfitz

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