From showing up on the first page of search results to increasing website traffic and luring potential customers on social media, it all boils down to outperforming your competitors when it comes to e-commerce.
The volatile e-commerce market is competitive and dynamic. Over the years, the industry has enjoyed growth that is nothing short of a revolution. Not to mention, the competition which continues to soar by leaps and bounds. So much so, that the internet is crammed with information, guidelines and tips on how to start and maintain an e-store and drive success as an e-commerce retailer.
However, those comprehensive blogs, articles and guides on the web aren’t the only sources of information individuals involved with e-commerce can refer to. You might not expect this but some of the most effective e-commerce tips, strategies and advice can come from your competition itself.
Believe it or not, even the smallest of your competitors can teach you lessons that can help you to avoid common slip-ups and discover opportunities to grow and differentiate your business from others.
Research you Competitors
While many e-commerce entrepreneurs and marketers are creative enough to come up with unique business ideas, there are chances that every new idea is inspired from something that already exists and of course presented with innovative changes.
Your competition not only serves as a spur to your business, but also provides you with vital information that helps you make right decisions for your e-commerce business.
To cash in on your competition, you need to first research it. This research will allow you to determine what your competitors are up to, why they are doing so, what customers like or do not like about their product/service, which of their strategies can benefit your business too.
A good competitive research must reveal the following things about your competitors and the e-commerce industry in general:
- Marketing practices
- Branding strategies
- SEO tactics
- Weaknesses and strengths (of competitors)
- Customer loyalty rate
- Latest market trends
- Growth opportunities
Getting a good understanding of your competitors will provide you with the information, which in turn will enable you to establish effective strategies for your own business and add value to your business.
Steps to Researching your Competitors
- Visit the competitor website(s) and analyse the UX, layout, content and other aspects of the website. You might want to hire a professional Magento website designer if you want to outdo your competitor in terms of e-commerce features on your store. A professional can help you effectively analyse the website and all its components.
- Check out their social media channels to track their activity and check how they connect with their audience on social media.
- Order a product from the competitor’s (obviously as an anonymous user) website to observe how they interact with their customers and how they serve them.
- Get in touch with their customer support with a made-up query to see how promptly the team responds to and acknowledge customer queries.
- Check customer reviews online about their product and service.
While you can carry out a competitive research on your own on a daily basis, there are many other tools and means to perform competitive research in case you don’t have time to invest on research or have other core operations to focus on.
You can hire a professional to do the competitive research for you or you can integrate tools like Twitter, Google Alerts and RSS feeds to stay updated with the activities, updates and trends of your competitors.
Once you have researched your competitors and gathered enough information about their business practice, customers and marketing strategies, it’s time to ask yourself the following questions;
- What does their website have that yours doesn’t? What is it in their web design or layout that you would want to incorporate into yours?
- How do they attract prospects and keep existing customers engaged?
- What products or services do they offer that you don’t?
- Are they offering any freebies, discounts or promotions that could be helpful in luring customers?
- What marketing strategies and techniques used by your competitors failed?
Answers to these questions will give you an idea of integrations and changes you need to make to your website to optimise it for better performance and results.
To sum up, understanding your competitors, what they do, why and how they do it can be beneficial for your own business growth. You can learn from their mistakes, failed attempts and successful strategies to make informed decisions for your business and make a thoughtful investment of your time and money.