2023 Ecommerce Competitor Research Secrets

Improve your e-commerce game in 2023 with our top insights on competitor research. Unlock tools, strategies, and tips for a thriving online presence. As the digital realm evolves, a brand can't just follow, it must lead. Curious? Dive deeper with us.

Unlock the Secrets of Ecommerce Competitor Research in 2023

In the dynamic world of Ecommerce, understanding competitors is more than just good business—it's essential for survival. In 2023, with the online marketplace more saturated than ever, delving into competitors' strategies can offer a distinct advantage. Welcome to the realm of Ecommerce Competitor Research. Join us as we unpack the nuances of e-commerce competitor research, blending in insights, actionable tactics, and a sprinkle of those common traps to sidestep.

A heads up: Competitor Research is not a once-off endeavour. With ecommerce perpetually in flux, revisiting your Competitor Research routinely is not just wise—it’s vital.

Why Competitor Research?

Before diving in, let's emphasise its value. Competitor research isn't about imitation; it's about inspiration and innovation. By grasping what others are doing, gaps in strategy can be identified, new market opportunities can be discovered, and a unique value proposition can be refined.

Tips for conducting competitor research

An important component of that forward-thinking approach is an in-depth understanding of one's competitors. But where to begin? From pinpointing actual competition and delving into their online presence to deciphering their technological innovations, there's a method to the madness. In this section, we'll guide businesses through a key tips to comprehensively dissect, understand, and ultimately outpace the competition.

1. Identify real competitors

The Ecommerce landscape in 2023 is much like a bustling city centre, with numerous storefronts vying for attention. However, not every shop in the city is a direct rival. To fine-tune a competitive strategy, it's important to distinguish between peripheral players and the true competitors.

Understanding the difference begins by recognising that not every store operating in a similar space poses an equal threat. For instance, while two businesses might both sell athletic wear, they could cater to entirely different demographics—one could be selling high-end, designer sportswear, while the other is focused on affordable, everyday gym gear.

Here are some tips to ascertain who the real competitors are when conducting competitor research:

Target audience analysis
  • Determine which businesses are appealing to the same demographic. This includes age, buying behaviour, geographic location, and other vital factors that define an ideal customer.

Aspirational benchmarks
  • Sometimes, it's not just about who's on the same level but also about who's performing at a level that a business aspires to reach. Identifying and analysing such market leaders can provide invaluable insights for growth.

Leverage digital tools
  • Platforms like SimilarWeb and SEMRush are not just tools but vital allies in this reconnaissance mission. They can offer insights into website traffic, user behaviour, and even audience overlap, providing a clearer picture of who's fishing in the same pond.

By narrowing down the focus to genuine competitors, businesses can allocate resources and design strategies more effectively, ensuring efforts aren't wasted on irrelevant players.

GRAVITATE DIGITAL | Tips for competitor research

2. Analyse website & customer experience

The digital storefront of an e-commerce business, namely its website, is a telling reflection of its brand ethos, efficiency, and customer-centricity. In an age where user experience can make or break a sale, diving deep into the intricacies of a competitor's website offers invaluable insights.

A virtual walkthrough, immersing into competitors' websites as if a first-time visitor, can uncover these insights. This exercise helps to understand the initial impressions, the intuitiveness of design, and the overall user journey. Key areas to take note of include:

Site structure and navigation
  • How are products categorised? Is it easy to find specific products or information? A convoluted site structure can deter potential customers, making them abandon the journey midway.

Product presentation
  • Beyond just product images, consider how information is presented. Are product descriptions comprehensive? Are there videos, 360-degree views, or user-generated content like customer photos?

Call-to-Action (CTA) placement
  • A strategically placed CTA can guide a visitor seamlessly from browsing to purchasing. Analyse the prominence, clarity, and appeal of CTAs, and consider how they compare to best practices.

Performance metrics
  • In 2023, patience for slow-loading sites is virtually non-existent. Tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights can shed light on a site's performance. Load times, especially on mobile devices, can significantly impact bounce rates and overall user satisfaction.

Mobile responsiveness
  • With a significant chunk of users shopping on mobile devices, a website that isn't optimised for mobile viewing is essentially turning away potential business. Assess how the mobile version of the site compares to the desktop experience. Is it fluid, intuitive, and visually appealing?

Google's Core Web Vitals
  • As cornerstones of Google's page experience signals, the Core Web Vitals—measuring loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability—should not be overlooked. Sites that fail to meet these standards risk diminished search visibility.

Critically examining these elements can glean insights about the competitor landscape.

3. Dive Deep into SEO Strategy

In today's digital landscape, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) isn't just a buzzword—it's a pivotal element of e-commerce success. An effective SEO strategy can help a businesses to rank prominently on search engines, drawing in organic traffic and establishing a robust online presence. By delving deep into a competitor's SEO approach, businesses can uncover a treasure trove of insights that can help to refine their own strategies. Areas to analyse include:

Keyword analysis
  • Competitor keyword profiling: Platforms like Ahrefs and Moz offer comprehensive breakdowns of the keywords that competitors are ranking for. This includes high-volume search terms, long-tail keywords, and even the emerging or seasonal trends they might be capitalising on.
  • Opportunity spotting: While identifying the keywords competitors rank for is crucial, it's equally essential to spot the keywords they're missing out on. This can open up untapped avenues to target, allowing a business to corner a segment of the audience.

Backlink assessment
  • Quality and quantity: A robust backlink profile can significantly boost a website's authority in the eyes of search engines. Assess not just the number of backlinks a competitor has, but also the quality. Are these links from reputable, high-authority sites?
  • Backlink gaps: Understanding where competitors are earning backlinks can highlight potential websites or platforms that might be open to linking to other relevant content or products.

Content analysis
  • Content types: What form of content is yielding results for competitors? Are they leveraging blog posts, how-to guides, infographics, case studies, or video content? Identifying these can provide clarity on what resonates with the target audience.
  • Content depth and quality: SEO in 2023 isn't just about quantity—it's about delivering genuine value. Study the depth, comprehensiveness, and overall quality of competitors' content. Are they just skimming the surface or offering deep dives?

Authority and trustworthiness
  • E-A-T Assessment: Google's emphasis on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) has made it vital for businesses to ensure their content meets these benchmarks. Evaluate competitor content through this lens to discern their adherence to these standards and their results.

Gleaning insights for strategy refinement
  • By amalgamating the insights from keyword, backlink, and content analyses, businesses can craft an SEO strategy that not only emulates successful tactics but also ventures into areas competitors might have overlooked.

Ultimately, the objective of this deep dive for the competitor research isn't imitation but inspiration. While competitors' strategies can provide a blueprint, the real magic happens when businesses innovate on these foundations, crafting a unique SEO footprint that drives traffic, conversions, and growth.

4. Understand Content Strategy

In 2023, the potency of content in the digital landscape remains undiminished. Analysing competitors' content strategies is essential to discern what resonates with audiences.

Diverse content formats
  • Competitors might employ a mix of multimedia such as videos, infographics, and even interactive quizzes. Monitoring these can offer insights into what engages users most.

Topic analysis
  • Survey the variety and relevance of topics competitors delve into. This can highlight trends, challenges, and potential content gaps.

Engagement metrics
  • Review which content pieces receive high engagement, be it shares, comments, or backlinks. Even criticisms can illuminate areas for improvement.

Content consistency and frequency
  • Consider how often competitors post and the balance between evergreen and seasonal content. This can help to guide optimal content scheduling.

In essence, understanding competitors' content strategies isn't about imitation but about drawing inspiration, identifying opportunities, and ultimately delivering superior value.

GRAVITATE Digital | Digital Marketing Agency | Competitor Research Tips

GRAVITATE Digital | Ecommerce competitor research tips for 2023 | Social Media Engagement

5. Decode social media engagement

In the digital age, particularly by 2023, social media platforms aren't merely spaces to post advertisements. They are vibrant, interactive communities where brands can foster deeper connections with their audiences. Decoding a competitor's social media engagement strategies as part of a competitor research activity can illuminate tactics that captivate audiences and drive conversions.

Platform-specific engagement
  • Each platform has its own ethos and audience. For instance, while TikTok thrives on short, catchy videos, Instagram might shine with visually appealing images and stories. Assess which platforms competitors prioritise and the nature of their posts on each.

Influencer Collaborations
  • Influencers, with their niche followings, can dramatically enhance brand visibility and credibility. Observe if competitors collaborate with mega-influencers or prefer micro-influencers, each coming with its own set of advantages.

Campaigns and contests
  • Social media contests can create buzz and enhance user participation. Are competitors hosting giveaways, challenges, or quizzes? Such activities can lead to spikes in followers and engagement.

User-Generated Content (UGC)
  • Brands that harness UGC can foster community trust. Monitor if competitors encourage their users to share their experiences with the brand's products, as this can act as organic testimonials.

Engagement analysis
  • Beyond likes and shares, delve into the comments section. What are users saying? Are there recurrent praises or criticisms? Such feedback can be invaluable.

Consistency and posting schedule
  • The frequency of posting and the consistency in the brand's voice are crucial. An erratic posting schedule or a mix of tones can confuse followers. Notice if competitors have a set posting calendar or themes they regularly touch upon.
Lauren Rae
Read Time

6. Review pricing & offers

In the competitive landscape of eCommerce, pricing and promotional offers play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining customers. Reviewing and understanding competitor pricing can equip businesses with the intelligence needed to make informed decisions that maximise both sales and customer satisfaction.

Direct price comparisons
  • Begin by directly comparing prices of similar products or services. This reveals where an offering stands within the market spectrum. Is it perceived as a premium product due to its higher price, or is it competitively priced to attract a broader audience?

Value proposition
  • Price isn't just about the number. It's about the perceived value. If a competitor's product is more expensive but offers features that others don't, there's inherent value there. Analyse what added benefits or unique selling points justify their price tags.

Discount strategies
  • Regular promotions, flash sales, or holiday discounts can significantly impact purchase decisions. Observe the frequency, type, and depth of discounts competitors offer. Are they giving a flat percentage off? Do they use buy-one-get-one deals or offer bulk purchase discounts?

Loyalty programs
  • Repeat business can be a substantial revenue stream. Review if competitors have loyalty or reward programs. How are they structured? Are they point-based, tiered, or based on purchase frequency? Understanding these can shed light on how competitors encourage repeat business.

Additional incentives
  • Beyond discounts and loyalty rewards, businesses often employ other incentives like free samples, extended warranties, or exclusive member sales. Such incentives can make customers feel valued, leading to increased trust and brand loyalty.

Market positioning through pricing
  • Some brands intentionally price higher to position themselves as luxury or premium, while others aim for affordability to attract a larger market segment. Determine the intention behind the pricing strategies to understand market positioning better.

The bigger picture
  • While it might be tempting to simply match or undercut a competitor's pricing, this isn't always sustainable or strategic. Instead, focus on offering discernible value, whether through product quality, customer service, or unique offerings.

In essence, a holistic understanding of pricing and offers within the competitive space can arm businesses with the insights they need through competitor research to strategically price their offerings, keeping overall business profitability in mind.

7. Monitor customer feedback

In today's digital era, customers are vocal about their experiences. Monitoring feedback is important not only for direct feedback about one's own brand but also to glean insights about competitors.

Leveraging review platforms
  • Sites like Trustpilot, Google Reviews, and Yelp provide a goldmine of customer insights. They offer unfiltered views on what customers like and what irks them about various brands.

Pain points & high points
  • Look beyond mere star ratings. Delve into detailed reviews to pinpoint specific aspects customers love or detest. Perhaps a competitor's product excels in quality but has terrible customer support. These are actionable insights.

Comparison insights
  • Often, reviewers draw comparisons between brands. Such mentions can provide direct insights into how one's offerings stack up against competitors in the eyes of the consumer.

Actionable Feedback
  • Addressing issues highlighted in competitor reviews can give a competitive edge. For instance, if multiple reviews point out slow shipping times for a competitor, ensuring swift deliveries can become a unique selling point.

Celebrate strengths
  • Recognising what competitors are doing exceptionally well is also key. It's not about imitation, but about understanding market expectations and setting benchmarks.

GRAVITATE Digital | Ecommerce competitor research tips for 2023 | Tech innovations

8. Keep an Eye on Tech & Innovations

In the rapidly evolving landscape of e-commerce, technological advancements can significantly differentiate one brand from another. The year 2023 sees an array of sophisticated tools and solutions integrated into the e-commerce sphere. Being aware of these innovations, especially those adopted by competitors, can be the difference between stagnation and exponential growth and is a key part of competitor research undertakings.

9. Analyse Competitor Paid Ad Strategies

Paid advertisements are a potent arsenal in an e-commerce brand's marketing strategy, and understanding a competitor's approach can yield insights into their targeting, budgeting, and messaging priorities. By deconstructing their ads, businesses can make more informed decisions for their own campaigns.

Platforms to monitor
  • Google Ads: Look for competitor ads when typing in relevant keywords. This will provide insights into their AdWords strategy, including which keywords they value most. Google Ads Transparency Centre. Explore the Google Ads Transparency Centre. This platform is your window into the ad campaigns your competitors are rolling out on Google's vast network. From ad timelines and keyword nuances to occasional expenditure insights, it's a holistic overview of a brand's ad endeavours, a must-have for those eager to navigate the competitive landscape successfully.
  • Social Media Ads: Platforms like Facebook Ad Library offer a transparent look at the ads a company is running, allowing for an analysis of creatives, ad copy, and offers. The Facebook Ads Library is a treasure trove. It provides insights into the live and archived ads of any Facebook page, detailing targeting tactics, budgeting approaches, and performance metrics.
  • SEMrush & SpyFu: These tools can be instrumental in uncovering competitors' ad strategies, including their estimated ad spend and the keywords they're targeting.
  • BuiltWith: This nifty tool offers a sneak peek into the tech infrastructure of competitor websites, including platforms and apps they're leveraging.

Elements to Evaluate
  • Ad copy & creative: Examine the headlines, images, videos, and call-to-actions. What emotions or needs are they targeting? This can shed light on their perceived unique selling propositions.
  • Landing pages: Where does the ad direct? A product page, a custom landing page, or a sign-up form? The chosen destination can indicate the primary goal: direct sales, lead generation, or brand awareness.
  • Offer & incentives: Are competitors providing discounts, free trials, or exclusive content? Such offers can be indicative of their customer acquisition strategies.

Informing your strategy
  • Gap analysis: Recognise the gaps in competitor campaigns. Is there a segment they're ignoring? Can you craft a more compelling offer or ad copy?
  • Budgeting insights: While exact budgets can be hard to pin down, understanding the breadth and frequency of competitor campaigns can give a rough idea of their ad spend, allowing for more informed budgeting decisions.

By taking a deep dive into competitor paid ads, businesses can refine their strategies, better allocate resources, and craft more compelling messages. It's not about imitation but about understanding the competitive landscape and carving out a distinct, effective space within it. But remember, the digital domain is just one piece of the puzzle. Ponder competitor's offline engagements—whether it's their brick-and-mortar ventures, trade show involvements, or other public engagements. This broader perspective will enrich your overall market strategy insights.

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Wrap up

In the dynamic realm of e-commerce, understanding one's competition is not just beneficial; it's essential. By delving deep into competitors' strategies, from their SEO practices to their paid ad campaigns, businesses can equip themselves with invaluable insights. This knowledge isn't about copying what others are doing, but about identifying gaps, anticipating market shifts, and crafting strategies that resonate with the target audience.

As 2023 unfolds, staying informed and agile, while continuously iterating based on the competitive landscape, will be the cornerstone of e-commerce success. So, keep researching, keep refining, and let the insights pave the way for unparalleled growth.

With GRAVITATE Digital's ethos in mind, remember that your brand's unique flair and authenticity are its true north. Craft a narrative that resonates, offering unique products or services, and ensuring your customer experience remains unparalleled.Navigate confidently and innovate ceaselessly.

Want to learn more? Reach out to the GRAVITATE team today for a chat.



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"In the digital arena, Competitor Research is more than a strategy—it's a compass".