Ecommerce merchants who really invest time in studying their competitor’s strategies are better positioned to improve the performance and search engine rankings of their website. And competitor analysis can be an easy task if you understand how to attack the situation.
The Competition: Before getting deeply involved on how to analyze your ecommerce competition, it’s always better to define your competitors first, because this can help you to concentrate on what to focus.
Most ecommerce sites gauge their competition based on the site ranking that are obtained organically and upon the keywords that are used in PPC campaigns. While this may be the great place to start but this should not always be the criteria to encompass all your ecommerce competitors in your niche market. Instead you need to consider bigger sites and ecommerce market places like Amazon and sellers on such sites that focus on your product niche.
Secret Shopping: Doing secret shopping on your competitor’s site can give you ideas for your websites improvements and later to become a leader in your ecommerce niche. However, there is no exact process for you to perform secret shopping but there are some things you can always check in to it.
- Contact Information & Customer Service: Check on the things how your ecommerce competitors are making easy on their customers such as providing the contact information, displaying the phone number, and various options for customer service (chat and email support). Also check on the response time they do for email queries and how effective their voice/chat support is. You can also take a step further and check their customer service by being a difficult customer. This is how you can find out how outstanding their support is with reference to their handling skills in tough situations. Superior service is the great way to standout among the competition and this can result in positive word of mouth marketing in driving more traffic to your website.
- Purchase Process: It is not mandatory for you to purchase anything but only need to understand the process flow of your competitors. Observe the things that cause pain to customers and force them to leave the shopping cart without purchasing any products. If you see that your competitor’s ecommerce solution has a weakly designed conversion funnel making hard on customers then you can work on your ecommerce site to make it friendly, quick and easy.
Sometimes your existing ecommerce software may not allow you to make major changes to improve the efficiency of it but there will be always options for you to make the process much more efficient.
- Ecommerce Software Solution: You need to find out what ecommerce solutions are being used by your competitors. You need to determine if they are using hosted shopping carts or licensed ecommerce software because each has got different functionalities to offer. The best hosted shopping carts are often updated with the latest features and they follow the latest trends in ecommerce solutions. While the licensed solutions can sometimes become outdated if the merchant don’t update it regularly.
- If you can find out what ecommerce solution is being used by your competitor then you will have a chance to go ahead and know about the features of it and can compare to your solution. If necessary you can make optimal changes to your ecommerce solution.
SEO / PPC: Check the strategies your competitors are following:
- Who is getting linked to your competitors, and which of those links are most important?
- Scan your competitors website site source code to learn the about their On-page SEO and tactics.
- Check if they have a blog on their website? If so, try to understand how they are utilizing it and with what frequency.
- Know if your competition is running any PPC campaigns. If so, utilize tools such as spyfu.com or SEMRush to understand it in depth. It’s a common behavior of ecommerce merchants to learn about new keywords so that they can experiment to see if those keywords can drive traffic to the website.
Social Media: It has become very mandatory to have a presence on the top social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter because these sites help in driving traffic and in improving the brand value.
- Check if your competition uses any of the social networking platforms?
- Check how actively they participate to promote their business?
- Are they using Facebook or Twitter to address any customer service issues? Or else do they only participate in these sites to post announcements? Today’s customers are expecting support via social media sites so if you don’t respond to them it can seen as rude.
- It’s always better to track your ecommerce competition using social medial utilizing the search features built in to it. Also you can also use Google Alerts for the same.