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How To Conduct Competitor Research Analysis


Focusing on the needs of your target customers is par for the course when you’re growing an ecommerce business, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore your competitors.

After all, if a dozen or so other ecommerce businesses are serving those same needs, how will you stand out from the crowd? That’s a tall order, especially in a dynamic digital age where customer preferences change at the click of a mouse.

But there’s a solution to this conundrum. It’s called ecommerce competitor analysis, and it could give you the intel you need to differentiate your brand.

This guide will explore everything you need to know about competitor analysis: what it is, how to effectively implement it, and the online tools you can use to give your ecommerce brand a leg up over the competition.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is ecommerce competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis for ecommerce is the process of collecting and analyzing data about your competitors to gain valuable insights that will help your business gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Essentially, the goal of ecommerce competitor analysis is to develop a deeper understanding of your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. If done well, competitor analysis can provide you with the insights you need to implement strategies that will put your brand in an ideal position to increase its market share.

How to conduct ecommerce competitor analysis

Like any other strategy, conducting competition research requires a systematic approach for a stronger impact. Here are the steps you need to follow when conducting ecommerce research on your competitors:

Step 1: Identify your competitors

First, you need to determine which brands you’re competing with. After all, you can’t track and measure your progress if you don’t have a list of competitors to benchmark against.

Just so we’re clear, your competitors are those companies that target the same audience as yours and operate within the same market space.

How do you find these competitors? The obvious answer is to use Google and search keywords that are relevant to your offerings and industry. But there’s a faster and more efficient way.

By using market intelligence tools like Crunchbase, Owler, and ZoomInfo, you can create a comprehensive list of competitors and gather relevant data about them within an hour.

With Crunchbase, for example, you can look up companies with the tool’s advanced search function, refine your search using the tool’s filters, and receive refined search results based on what you’re looking for.

As you gather your data, make sure to create a spreadsheet where you list each competitor, along with their product offerings, best features, strengths and weaknesses, and marketing approaches.

Step 2: Conduct competitor keyword analysis

Ranking highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs) matters. According to Backlinko research, a website with a No. 1 ranking is 10 times more likely to be clicked than a page sitting in the No. 10 spot.

This goes to show that an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is key to making sure your website is getting more visits than your competitors.

And when it comes to implementing an effective SEO strategy for your ecommerce site, doing keyword research comes with the territory.

By identifying the keywords your competitors are targeting, you can uncover opportunities to increase your ecommerce website’s visibility in the SERPs. What’s more, those lists of keywords can help you discover content gaps, which provide you opportunities to address the unmet needs of your target audience.

To identify competitor keywords, you can use keyword research tools like WordStream, SpyFu, or Google’s Keyword Planner.

SpyFu, for example, not only enables you to search for competitors, but also to find every keyword they’re ranking for.

Better yet, you can use the keyword research tool to find the specific pieces of content and the backlinks that outrank yours.

When collecting information on the SEO keywords you want to target, include key factors like search volume, keyword difficulty, cost per click (CPC), and relevance. Having this info in a structured document will serve as your roadmap for how to optimize your content and outrank your competitors in the SERPs.

Step 3: Research your competitors’ websites and social media pages

A crucial part of your competitive analysis is examining how your competitors communicate with and present themselves to the target market you share. After all, you can’t generate the insights needed to differentiate your brand without knowing the lay of the land, so to speak.

In fact, 85 percent of businesses consider performing competitor analysis to be a critical factor in setting their brand apart. So, where are the best places to see what your competitors are doing?

Here are two places you should start:

  • Websites: Determine how to make your ecommerce site stand out by scrutinizing your competitors’ products, price points, unique selling propositions (USPs), customer reviews, and overall user experience.
  • Social media profiles: Analyze your competition’s presence on different platforms, engagement metrics, content strategy, and audience interaction.

Step 4: Read customer reviews

Customer reviews offer a goldmine of insights about your competitors’ products, services, strengths, and weaknesses. After all, what better way to discover how to position your brand in the market than to hear directly from the people you’re marketing to?

Digging into the pros and cons of your competitors’ strategies can tell you a lot about how to differentiate your brand. Plus, knowing what customers love about your competitors’ products or services can help spark ideas on how you can delight them too.

On the flip side, discovering the cons highlighted in customer reviews also lets you know what to avoid. For example, to learn how to do product research via customer reviews, pay attention to the features that receive positive feedback and those that customers feel are lacking.

When researching customer reviews, keep track of performance indicators that you think would be valuable benchmarks for your own business strategy.

Here are a few key indicators to consider:

  • Product quality
  • Features and functionality
  • Value for money
  • Customer service
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Brand reputation

Clearly, there’s a lot of data you can gather from each of your competitors. So, how do you stop yourself from spending hours manually searching every customer review?

The solution: Use a reputation management tool instead.

ReviewTrackers, for instance, enables you to generate an online reputation report for each competitor. These nifty reports can provide you with key competitor data like review highlights, average ratings, and more.

Advanced ecommerce competitor analysis techniques

For your competitor research to produce the desired results, you’ll eventually need to go beyond the basics. Let’s explore some advanced tactics that will help you get the most out of your competitor analysis strategy.

1. Track market trends

It isn’t enough just to track your competitors. You also have to supplement your market research by keeping track of industry trends and technological innovations within your niche. After all, these aspects also shape how customers perceive your brand and your competition.

Ask yourself, are your competitors adapting to these trends and new technologies? To find out, you can use social listening tools like Brandwatch to monitor social media conversations around your brand, industry, and competitors.

By staying informed, you’ll help position your ecommerce brand as a leader in your market.

2. Benchmark your performance

You won’t know how your ecommerce brand stacks up against the competition if you don’t define benchmarks to serve as the basis for comparison.

Before doing competitor research, revisit your business goals and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) like web traffic, conversion rates, and social media engagement.

With these benchmarks clearly defined, it’ll be that much easier for you to identify areas where you can excel and outcompete your rivals.

3. Create a competitive analysis report

Your efforts at competitor research won’t generate results if you don’t create a competitors analysis report that summarizes your key findings.

Compile your data in a way that helps inform your business strategy. Here are some aspects to highlight:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Areas for improvement
  • Threats

By organizing your data in a way that outlines the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, it’ll be that much easier to translate your findings into action items you can implement in your ecommerce growth strategy.

You know all about your competition … now pair it with powerful hosting

At the end of the day, the goal of doing ecommerce competitor analysis isn’t to make comparisons; it’s to outperform the competition and position your ecommerce brand as the top choice in the market.

And to pull that off, you need a powerful hosting environment that will help your business succeed in a competitive digital marketplace.

At Nexcess, we offer managed WooCommerce plans that are designed to help you sell more, no matter your price range. Our feature-rich plans come equipped with a variety of tools, including those for conversion optimization, analytics, and more.

In addition, we offer smart monitoring alerts to help you stay on top of sales trends, site performance, and checkout problems. And if anything goes wrong, our WooCommerce experts are here 24/7/365 to lend you their support.

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