Competitor research seems hard, right? But eCommerce retailers who don’t know what their competitors are up to find it difficult to make informed decisions about customers needs and get new customers buying your stuff. Therefore our team here at Current Commerce has put together an eCommerce Competitive Research 101 . It will show you 6 tools to help you find your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
However, before conducting thorough research, you should first identify your closest competitors. In order to start the process, make a list of the top keywords that drive traffic and then enter them in a Google search. Make note of the top two ranking sites on the page. Also you can enter “related:www.yourURL.com” in the Google search bar as well to populate a list of companies that are very similar to yours.
Now that you have your list of competitors, you can roll through it and browse their sites to pick out the good, bad and the ugly from each site. When doing this, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do their prices compare to yours?
- What are their call to actions and how obvious are they?
- What is the aesthetic of their website and what does it convey?
- What is their value proposition and how do they convey it to consumers?
- How does their email signup form look and how efficient is it?
- Is their site optimized for mobile, landscape and portrait views?
- In what ways do they offer shipping and what are their prices?
- How do they utilize social media?
Now that you’ve gathered some information on your top competitors, it is time to dig deeper. Next up are six tools – some free, some paid – that will help you dive in headfirst to your competitive research.
SEO Book: Page Similarity Comparison Tool allows you to easily compare page titles, meta descriptions, and common phrases your competitors use on their site.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool helps you analyze your keywords and the traffic generated by them. The tool allows you to narrow down your search by URLs and specific categories. You can also use Google Traffic Estimator to calculate the number of ad clicks and current bid prices for keywords.
Internet Archive allows you to view screenshots of the changes your competitor has made. You can view how their positioning has changed over the year(s), how they market themselves, their pricing over time, and other subtle changes to help you figure out to address your target market.
SpyFu.com really, really lets you dig deep into competitors’ keywords and Adword traffic. For only $79 a month you can see what did and did not work for their ad campaigns, and then you won’t repeat their mistakes.
Google Alerts will email you updates of the latest relevant Google results related to your specific search queries. Set up alerts for key industry terms, your competitors’ store name, and industry news. We suggest that you create a specific filter in your email so that the alerts do not get lost in the mix.
SEMRush helps you develop efficient advertising strategies based on insights of competitors’ display advertising, link builds, and organic/paid search strategies. The tool also puts together a detailed analytics report for you to reference from.
Now that you’ve given the competitor research process all the attention that it deserves, you can start to build your new strategy and store. Make sure to be as thorough as possible!