Leveraging Your Competitor’s Data For ecommerce Marketing
Leveraging your competitor’s data for ecommerce marketing is a key way to stay ahead of your competition and the entire industry as a whole.
Growing up, your mother probably told you not to compare yourself to anyone else. While this is sound advice and you should definitely listen to your mom, she doesn’t have an eCommerce business to look after. The market is stiff nowadays; it doesn’t just pay to work hard anymore, you need to work smart too. This means drawing inspiration from everywhere, even your competition.
Leveraging your competition’s data is a way to stay ahead of your competitors and the entire industry as a whole. If you already know where they’re going, their strengths and weakness, you have two choices: follow them or carve out an entirely new and superior path. Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese military strategist once said, keep your friends close and your enemies closer ̶ let’s find out just how close this will be.
It’s a Dog Eat Dog World
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, users surfed the web to post their adolescent thoughts on Xanga and share statuses on AOL Instant Messenger. Sorry to say, but this story doesn’t have a happy ending because those days are long gone (plus no one really uses Xanga or AIM anymore).
The internet is no longer just a place for expression, it’s now a powerhouse of information and everyone is vying for the same thing ̶ a user’s attention. Constantly pumping out content, hiring top digital design experts, and keeping to yourself simply will not get you as far as you’d like. In this age, running an eCommerce business requires the ability to see the full scope of your projects, including understanding your business’ position within your niche.
Competitor analysis in marketing is important because believe it or not, you learn more about yourself than you do about your competition. Where other do brands stand in comparison to yours? Who is truly the best of the best? What strategies are they using for success? Where does your business need to improve? These are all questions that need an honest answer because they will help your business grow.
It’s a humbling experience, but a necessary one. Neil Parker of Vision Critical writes that competitor analysis “provides the early warning you need to make the necessary correction(s)”. Humility was never an easy lesson, but in order to position your business for success, your ego needs to step aside.
The Sorting Hat
When you sit down and start your competitor analysis, the first thing you’ll need to do is sort them into different categories. Just like the sorting hat from Harry Potter peeked into the souls of every little witch and wizard at Hogwarts, you have to go beyond the surface level and really get to know which brands you need to pay attention to, and which you just need to keep tabs on. Divide the businesses into three different groups: direct competitors, indirect competitors and replacement competitors.
Direct competitors are the ones who offer or provide the same products or services as your own business; they’re the poster child for competition. A couple examples would be Coke and Pepsi, AT&T and T Mobile, McDonald’s and Wendy’s, and Harry Potter and Voldemort. Essentially, they’re your rivals.
Indirect competitors are the ones who offer or provide similar products or services as your own business, and are targeting the same audience to satisfy the same need. For example, Taco Bell and McDonald’s are both fast food chains. Although Taco Bell specializes in Tex-Mex food and McDonald’s is a burger joint, both seek to satisfy the consumer’s hunger with a quick bite to eat. A couple more examples are AirBnb and The Marriott, Uber and The MTA, Vitamin Water and Tropicana.
Replacement competitors are the brands your business can’t necessarily compete with because they belong to a different industry altogether. They are an entirely different option your consumers can go to. For example, if your friends have a day off and plan to go rock climbing, but at the last minute choose to attend a Broadway show instead, that is a replacement competitor.
Categorizing your competition will help your team get a clearer understanding of what you’re up against, and will reveal the businesses that are immediately next in line for your users to go to versus the ones they may visit later. Sort it out and figure out where you stand.
I Spy With My Little Eye
The Internet is a beautiful thing because there are dozens of apps and tools specially designed to aide you with your competitor analysis. The only thing your team has to do now is determine which one will be the most helpful for you. Here are a couple of marketing favorites and what they can do for you:
- SpyFu is the tool you’ll want to use if you’re targeting keywords and you want to know which terms your competitor is profiting from the most.
- SEMrush is the tool you’ll want if you’re looking for a cohesive understanding of your competition’s content strategy. It shows keyword rankings on SERPs in real time, delivers a site audit, and provides a backlink analysis.
- Siteliner is the tool you’re looking for if you want to build your links and increase your Google ranking.
With these tools, you’ll be able to choose better keywords, build your links, and paint a bigger picture of what your content marketing plan should look like.
If I Unlike It Really Quickly, Will They Still Get a Notification?
We’ve all done it.
We’ve all stalked someone on Facebook or a competitor on Instagram to see what they’re up to. What kind of content they’re posting? When are they active on their profiles? Who are they’re connected with? Social media is a huge force in eCommerce because social branding is huge, and the way your audience perceives your brand, engages with your content, and responds to your products or services can all be found on your social channels. According to Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics,
“Social factors such as likes, reviews and ratings are important, because they can lead to a higher click-through rate on your site – and in turn affect its search engine performance. Positive engagement on social networks help improve market share.”
For example, you can see when your competition is mentioned in real time or in blogs or other social channels by using BrandMentions. Just search the business’ name and watch the results pop-up!
It’s All in the Details
Understanding where to spend your time, energy and budget is crucial to your online business’ success; that’s why statistics are important for eCommerce marketing ̶ data doesn’t lie. Tracking your marketing strategies and converting them to numerical values will help your team determine what they need to keep doing and what they need to improve on.
This is exactly why Google Analytics became such a popular tool for business owners. Set up your account and check to see what your statistical standing looks like. This eCommerce guide will help you navigate and make sense of the information. Using data from analytics will also give you a solid picture on whether your strategies are working or not, and what your conversion rate looks like before and after any changes you make.
According to Justin Butlion from KISSmetrics,
“knowing these things enables you to drop certain products or make strategic changes in your pricing that will result in big gains or, at the very least, limit damage to your profits.” Pay attention to the details and your business will be better for it.
Eat My Dust!
Although business is riddled with competitors, they can be great motivators and even better sources of information. Whether you want to admit it or not, there is no one who will understand your situation better than your competition. Let’s take a look at how to do that one more time:
- Sort your competitors into different categories: direct, indirect, or replacement
- Choose tools and apps to help you create a more cohesive understanding of your competition
- Social media is a teller for your competitor’s content strategy
- Data driven decisions are the best kind
Don’t forget to round out your eCommerce strategy with the latest trends!