Ecommerce has been growing considerably for several years. However, while the customers are growing in number, so are the competitors.
In order to survive, every company must closely monitor the activities of its main rivals, their customer communication strategies, and their evolution. This is what we call competitive intelligence. To help you in this permanent and tedious task, you should know that there are specific tools that can provide you with analytics, data, and priceless insights.
How do you perform competitive intelligence?
Constantly monitoring other professionals belonging to the same sector as you must be an essential component of your ecommerce marketing strategy. This is why it’s essential that you conduct competitive intelligence.
Competitive intelligence: Definition
Competitive intelligence is a method that consists of searching, collecting, and analyzing all kinds of data concerning the activity of other companies present in the same sector as yours. In other words, it’s about monitoring the existing competition as well as any potential competitor or competitors that may enter the market. As an integral part of economic intelligence in a company, competitive intelligence is essential to the sustainability of your business.
Competitive intelligence is a continuous process, which is not done all at once. It’s an analysis that’s constantly renewed.
What are the advantages of market analysis?
The main goal of competitive intelligence is to anticipate the evolutions of your market in order to never be overtaken by digital marketing trends, consumer habits, or your competitors. It allows you to make the best possible decisions given the context, for an overview adapted to your environment and therefore better decision making.
Competitive intelligence provides you with valuable insights that allow you to detect who the new entrants on your market are and the way they position themselves towards consumers. It’s used to observe the marketing actions of your competitors in order to get inspiration from them. It’s also an excellent starting point for highlighting the threats and opportunities that you face. Essential for positioning yourself in your market, it’s a very good indicator of your e-reputation.
Competitive intelligence is a tool whose objective is above all to adapt. It aims to anticipate market changes, to search for the best new products or services to offer, in accordance with the latest trends. With the data you obtain via your competitor analysis, it also allows you to develop a better ecommerce digital marketing strategy, by creating unique and differentiating content, to capture the attention of your ideal customer. In the long run, competitive intelligence is crucial to gain market share and learn how to get ahead of your competitors. It’s an essential activity for remaining competitive and on top in your specific niche.
What are the best tools at your disposal to stay informed of the latest news?
To conduct effective competitive intelligence and to learn the top trends of the moment, you need to use tools best adapted to the different types of intelligence. These tools are particularly present on the internet. These powerful digital marketing tools will allow you to collect a lot of qualitative and quantitative information, which will then help you in your business strategy.
Whether you’re looking to obtain competitor insights concerning product or service pricing, review data about your website traffic and SEO performance and compare it to that of your competitors, or check out the competition’s marketing strategies, be it for email, social media, etc., these are some of the best tools to have by your side.
Tools for business and price monitoring
- Talkwalker: Talkwalker is a kind of software that allows you to analyze your main competitors' presence on social media and online in general. With it, you can see the sentiment generated by each of their posts and observe the impact of their posts on different media (web, radio, social networks, etc.). Talkwalker is a very useful tool to track brand mentions within different articles published on the web.
- Similarweb: This is one of the best free online tools, whose objective is to retrieve traffic statistics about different sites. The Similarweb software allows you to measure the web traffic of your competitors and thus evaluate your market share and your website’s positioning in relation to your main rivals to help with your competitor analysis. It’s also ideal for identifying emerging players.
- VisualPing: Although competitive intelligence consists of observing everything that’s said about your competitors on the web, you shouldn’t forget what your competitors say about themselves on their own websites. This is precisely the mission of VisualPing! This plug-in alerts you in real time when a change is made on the sites you’ve asked it to monitor.
- Owler: This software serves as a valuable tool for conducting your competitor analysis, as it collects all kinds of information and data about the competition and provides real-time news alerts. Owler does this by monitoring business press, government public documents, press releases, or any other content. It’s then a question of not missing any of your main competitors’ publications.
Tools for your digital marketing strategy and your brand image
- Netvibes: This content aggregator is presented in the form of a dashboard and allows you to follow hundreds of information sources simultaneously. Thanks to this tool, select the RSS feeds of the sites you consider useful for your monitoring and observe the activities of your competitors! Build and modify your dashboard on the platform at will, adding tabs and automated functions.
- Mention: Because you need to have eyes and ears everywhere when you're doing competitive intelligence, that's precisely what Mention is all about. Like Google Alerts, this tool works through a keyword system. All you have to do is enter your company name or the name of one of your competitors. Mention then lists absolutely everything that is said about it online and on social networks.
- Feedly: This RSS feed aggregator is available on the web or as a mobile application. It allows you to view all the new content published by your competitors. Very reactive, it makes press sites appear only a few minutes after the publication of the concerned articles. With it, you won’t miss any more digital marketing news!
- Agorapulse: This solution allows you to manage your social presence on the various networks and to centralize several accounts and several brands on a single platform. This tool not only allows you to perform brand social monitoring but also to obtain complete reports. What's more, it’s also used to publish and schedule all kinds of elements on several social networks simultaneously. It offers complete management of interactions and comments. In other words, it makes your life on social media much easier!
- Swello: Another one of the top social media management tools, this platform allows you to manage and track your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram posts with ease. Use this tool to plan social media posts, work in teams, and conduct online monitoring. To do so, you just have to define topics that interest you from the Swello catalog. It delivers all the news related to your preferences.
- SendView: This tool focuses more on the email marketing strategy of other companies in your sector. It allows you to obtain complete reports with data to better understand your competitors' strategies, especially in terms of emailing.
Tools for your search engine optimization (SEO)
- Semrush: A tool widely used by marketers, it’s an essential ally to monitor your SEO performance and compare it to that of your competitors. Semrush is the only one that includes dozens of different tools and features. In particular, it allows you to decipher Google Ads and the SEO of other sites. With WiziShop, you’ll benefit from a 15-day free trial with Semrush!
- ahrefs: With this solution, track the ranking of your website compared to your competitors. It’s more specifically interested in the backlinks of websites, a key component of any good SEO strategy. The software also features some additional modules on its platform, offering, for example, the ability to set alerts, especially when your website reaches a desired position for a specific keyword.
- Ubersuggest: This is a keyword generator, which will help you search for long-tail keywords or more relevant keywords relevant to your audience, essential for making the most of your SEO efforts to boost traffic to your site. It’s a kind of content marketing specialist, ideal for finding new ideas for articles, especially in view of what your competitors are doing.
How do you set up your competitive intelligence in 5 steps?
Like any strategic marketing approach, competitive intelligence must be established in a rigorous and organized way. To keep an eye on the news and help you to achieve the best results possible, I strongly advise you to follow these 5 steps.
Identify your website’s areas of improvement
First of all, it’s necessary to ask yourself why you’re conducting your research on the competition. You must first identify all the potential areas of improvement for your website.
There are a multitude of possible approaches to perform competitive intelligence. For your monitoring to be effective, it must be conditioned based on a precise objective. Highlighting your areas of progress beforehand will allow you to avoid spreading yourself too thin.
Determine the types of markets and KPIs to monitor
Based on the targeted areas of improvement, you must then determine the markets you wish to analyze and identify the information you’ll need.
Depending on your objective, you may need to analyze your competitors' sales, their strategy, their marketing positioning, their location, their site traffic, their product pricing policies, etc.
Turn to dedicated software and applications
Depending on the type of competitor data and elements you want to observe, you won’t use the same tools either.
As seen before, apps do not all have the same analyses: some applications allow you to compare the product or service pricing policies of your competitors, while others are more specialized in SEO or in brand image.
Create a complete dashboard
Once you’ve identified the information, you need to make it as readable as possible in order to be able to efficiently compare your findings. To be easily exploitable, your competitor and market data and insights must be presented in a clear and relevant way. To do this, I strongly advise you to create a dashboard using the free or paid platform of your choosing.
Analyze the results and apply new measures for your company
Based on this table, all you have to do is analyze the data collected. If your competitive intelligence has been done correctly, it should provide you with the necessary information to supply you with relevant answers to your problem.
Depending on the results obtained through your data analysis, don’t hesitate to modify your business strategies, perhaps by changing your product pricing, taking a new approach with your email newsletter content, focusing on different keywords for your blog, updating your customer service offerings, etc. Your competitive intelligence is only a starting point to enable you to apply new measures within your company.
The lessons and insights you can learn from competitive intelligence and a competitor analysis can be multiple. How are your competitors engaging their audience? Who’s talking about your main competitors? In what country are they visible? What price do they charge for their products or services?
Whatever your goals, remember that competitive analysis is a major asset for your company. Whether you're the leader in your industry or a new entrant, it's a useful tool for any type of business, regardless of your size, revenue, or number of customers. Competitive intelligence is a lever to get to the top, especially with both the free and paid ecommerce tools available to help you stay there!