The world of digital marketing is a competitive battlefield, particularly in the field of e-commerce and dropshipping. Standing out in this complex world requires in-depth knowledge not only of your own strengths and weaknesses, but also those of your competitors. That’s where the importance of doing a competitors analysis lies.
This article is your complete guide to understanding your market’s competitive landscape. It offers you the keys to effectively identifying your direct and indirect competitors, understanding their product offerings and decoding their marketing strategy.
Identify your Direct and Indirect competitors?
In the e-commerce and dropshipping ecosystem, competition is intense and can come from many angles.
- Your direct competitors are those who offer similar products to yours in the same market.
- Your indirect competitors, on the other hand, may not offer exactly the same products, but they satisfy the same needs of your potential customers.
To thrive in this field, you need to be able to determine who these competitors are and understand their strategy. Identifying your competitors is the essential first step in studying their marketing strategy. But who are they, and how do you find them? Here are a few tips:
- Google Search: A simple Google search will find most of your direct competitors. It’s one of the most effective ways of identifying who’s selling the same product as you.
- Facebook: This social media platform can also be a valuable source of information about your competitors.
- LinkedIn: With its expanding professional network, LinkedIn can be an excellent way of identifying your potential competitors.
- YouTube: This popular video platform is also an excellent tool for discovering your competitors.
- Quora: Although primarily a knowledge-sharing platform, Quora can help you find potential competitors.
Why is it important to find out what your competitors are offering?
Once you’ve identified your competitors, it’s time to study their products. This is a crucial step in understanding how they position themselves in the market and how you can improve your own offering. Here are some key questions to ask yourself during this research:
- What are their products?
- Have they launched any new products recently?
- How many of their products are similar to yours?
- How do their prices compare with yours?
- What products do they not have that you do?
One of the most effective ways to understand your competitors is to study the products they offer. Take Shopify, for example, a popular e-commerce platform.
By observing what your competitors are offering on Shopify, you can identify the most popular products, emerging trends, and even gaps in the market that you can exploit.
This information is essential for positioning yourself competitively in the marketplace.
If you’d like to find out more about Shopify, we’ve dedicated a full review to you.
4 Steps to Competitors Analysis
Analyzing your competitors’ marketing strategy is a systematic process that can be broken down into several key steps.
The first step in competitors analysis is to find out who they are. Identify your main competitors, those who target the same audience or sell similar products to yours. These may be direct competitors in your field, or indirect competitors who offer substitute products.
To identify your competitors, use tools like Google and Amazon to see who’s ranking at the top for your main keywords. SpyFu is another tool that can help you identify your competitors based on the keywords they use for SEO and PPC.
Analyze their online presence
Once you’ve identified your competitors, analyze their online presence. Study their website, blogs, social networks, newsletters and any other digital channels they may be using. Look for :
- How they position themselves
- How they talk to their customers
- What types of content they share
- How they engage with their audience
Tools like Google Trends, Buzzsumo and SimilarWeb can help evaluate their online presence:
- Google Trends: This free tool from Google allows you to see the relative popularity of search terms over time. You can use it to see how interest in your competitors has evolved and how it compares with yours.
- Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo is a tool for analyzing what content is doing well on social networks. You can use it to see which of your competitors’ content generates the most engagement.
- SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb provides detailed information on website traffic, including traffic source (referral, direct, search, etc.), audience demographics and user behavior. It’s an excellent tool for gaining an overview of your competitors’ online presence.
Use tracking and research tools
Evaluate their Social Media Strategy
Examine how your competitors use social media. What channels are they using? How do they interact with their audience? What kind of content are they publishing, and how is it received by their audience?
Summarize and apply
Finally, compile your findings and apply them to your own marketing strategy. What elements of your competitors’ strategy can you adopt or improve? Are there gaps in their strategy that you can exploit? The aim is to learn from their successes and mistakes to refine your own marketing strategy.
Analyze your competitors' marketing strategy: what criteria should you take into account?
Analyzing your competitors’ marketing strategy can provide you with an in-depth understanding of your sector. It can highlight your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, help you identify opportunities and threats, and provide you with ideas for improving your own strategy.
You can examine several aspects of your competitors’ marketing strategy, including:
Market positioning refers to the place a brand occupies in the minds of consumers. To understand this, examine your competitors’ values, brand image and value proposition. Tools like SimilarWeb can help identify positioning strategies.
A shoe company might position itself as sustainable, using eco-responsible materials and emphasizing this aspect in its communication campaigns.
Marketing channels are the avenues used to reach consumers. Look at social networks, blogs, newsletters and other ways your competitors interact with their audience.
For example, a beauty brand might use Instagram to demonstrate influencer use of its products.
Customer engagement is about how a brand interacts and maintains a relationship with its customers. Study social networks, responses to comments, loyalty programs, etc. CRM tools like HubSpot can help manage and analyze customer engagement.
Take the example of an e-commerce company that can offer personalized discounts to loyal customers to increase engagement.
Competitive intelligence involves monitoring the actions and strategies of competitors. This can include analyzing market trends, technologies, regulations and so on. Tools such as Google Alerts or Mention can help with this task.
Practical application of your analysis
Once you’ve analyzed your competitors’ marketing strategy, it’s important to apply this knowledge to your own. This application process is not simply a copy-and-paste of your competitors’ methods, but rather a thoughtful incorporation of the lessons learned.
Take the example of a clothing brand that has observed that its competitors have a strong presence on Instagram thanks to successful collaborations with influencers.
Define Your Unique Value Proposition
Studying your competitors will give you an idea of the products they offer and their advertising strategies.
You might discover that your product has a special feature that isn’t valued, or that you can offer better customer service.
In our example, la might decide to set itself apart by choosing influencers whose lifestyle and values are in line with those of its brand. This would make its collaborations more authentic and therefore more appealing to its target audience.
Optimizing your marketing mix
Studying your competitors will give you an idea of the products they offer, how they price them, how they distribute them and how they promote them.
With this information, you can modify your marketing mix to better meet customer expectations and get ahead of your competitors.
Knowing that competitors are having success with influencer marketing on Instagram, the company might decide to reallocate part of its marketing budget to working with influencers.
Improve customer engagement
Observing how your competitors interact with their customers can provide valuable insights into improving your own customer engagement. You may discover new ways of addressing customer concerns, or new platforms for interacting with them.
Once a brand has started collaborating with influencers, it should keep a close eye on the engagement of its audience on Instagram. By analyzing the type of content that generates the most engagement, the brand could adjust its content strategy to better meet its audience’s expectations.
Adopt Continuous Competitive Intelligence
Competitive intelligence is not a one-off activity, but an ongoing process. Markets are constantly evolving, and your competitors won’t stand still. You must therefore continue to monitor your competitors and adjust your strategy accordingly.
For example, if a competitor starts using a new Instagram feature in an innovative way, the brand must be ready to adapt and experiment with this new feature.
Use tools to facilitate analysis
There are many tools that can help you organize the information you’ve gathered and integrate it into your strategy. SWOT analysis, for example, can help you understand where you’re strong and where you can improve, while PESTEL analysis can help you understand the wider business context.
Analyzing your competitors’ marketing strategy is a crucial step for any e-commerce or dropshipping entrepreneur. It gives you a clear view of your market positioning and helps you make informed strategic decisions.
Thanks to tools like Dropispy, this task can be made much easier. By understanding your competitors and adapting accordingly, you can create a solid and effective marketing strategy.
Ultimately, studying your competitors’ marketing strategy isn’t just a task to be ticked off your list, it’s a necessity to stay competitive and thrive in the dynamic e-commerce and dropshipping market.
FAQ - How to Do a Competitors Analysis
What are the tools you need to do a competitors analysis ?
Tools to analyze your competitors’ marketing strategy: SimilarWeb, Moz, SEMrush, and social media platforms are excellent tools.
Why is it important to study your competitors' marketing strategy?
It helps you understand the market, improve your products and services, and adapt your marketing strategy.
How can I identify my competitors?
Using Google, LinkedIn, YouTube and Quora, you can identify your direct and indirect competitors.
How can I apply the information gathered to my own marketing strategy?
Use the information to improve your products and services, adapt your marketing strategy, and optimize your SEO.