Competition is a universal fact of business. Regardless of what your industry is, chances are that you always have one eye on others in your field. When it comes to marketing your eCommerce business, this vigilance may be even more justified, seeing as this particular niche has grown exponentially in the past few years. The explosion of mobile technology has only complicated matters, and as such, you would be wise to gather all the eCommerce competitor intel you can muster — within ethical means, of course — if you hope to keep your business on the front lines.
Why You Should Be Scoping Out Your Competition
Although it is perfectly understandable for you to stay plugged into what your competitors may be doing to boost business, there’s a chance you might hesitate to devote the resources to do so, especially considering how many other aspects of your business require your attention on an ongoing basis. Yet, we believe that such a focus isn’t only wise but necessary. Here are a few reasons why.
- Stay abreast on what works and what doesn’t: One way to gauge what may or may not support your efforts to foster sales and customer engagement alike is to simply watch what your competitors are up to. Often subtle hints like pricing changes or extreme discounts will indicate when they might have struck gold or when they inadvertently failed to execute something properly.
- Competitors can inspire your own improvement: Seeing what your competition is doing can grease the wheels of your own imagination when it comes to your business. Perhaps you can even find a new and better way of approaching something your competitors are doing.
- Keep informed of the latest industry trends: If all your competitors are engaging in a specific marketing strategy that you have yet to embrace, it might be a sign that you’re slipping behind the times. Keeping an eye on what others in your industry are doing can prevent you from remaining ignorant of rising trends and newly accepted industry standards.
Some Tools to Get Started
Even if you have an inclination to take note of your competitors’ activities, you might still be at a loss for exactly how to do so. Luckily, there are countless monitoring tools out there that you can use to keep tabs on virtually any aspect of your competition’s business. Here are some of the most popular ones that should provide a decent place to begin.
- Alexa: This well-known tool ranks websites and monitors their global traffic rank as well as a number of other analytics. It’s especially suited to monitor international competitors and can give you a general impression of how well your site is doing compared to others in the eCommerce space.
- Google Alerts: Naturally, Google is a good source of information on website performance. However, this free service in particular can help you track how many times a specific keyword is mentioned in search results. It’s perfect to identify when and where your competitors are making headlines, with reports sent directly to your inbox.
- SpyFu: Since we’re in the age of trending topics and search engine optimization, one of the most useful bits of information to have on your competition are its keywords. This is, after all, how many customers will come across your business, and this tool can give you all the details on what keywords your counterparts use, including those in Google AdWords.
- WhoIs: This simple tool provides a full list of information regarding a given site, including hosting provider, registered party, contact information, affiliated domains, and more. If you’re looking to get a peek behind the curtain regarding your competitors, this is one destination that you simply must look into.
- Incompetitor: Our retail analytics software combs the web for a wealth of pricing information. The tool helps you to watch overall trends and dig into the specific pricing changes within your competitors’ product line. You can even set up alerts to provide real-time insights and stay one step ahead of the competition.
With the right mindset, eCommerce competitor intel could be an instrumental tool for you to guide and shape the direction of your own business. Simply copying the tactics of leaders in your field won’t cut it, but there are still tons of reasons why monitoring their progress and approaches to marketing can yield positive results for your bottom line. The question remains which tools you will employ and to what end the knowledge you gain will serve your business. Regardless, you should remain firmly on top of your industry at large if you truly hope to establish yourself as an innovator determined to wow customers for years to come.
For more invaluable insights into how you should approach marketing your eCommerce business and use automation to drive future success, check out our new eBook, “Key Automated Marketing Strategies for eCommerce Store Success.”