In today’s competitive business world, it pays to stand out. If you don’t have a strong online presence, you can pretty much count on losing business to other e-commerce companies selling similar products and services as yours.
By regularly researching the competition and seeing what they’re up to, you’re at an advantage because you’re able to be more deliberate in how you present your brand to its intended audience.
The marketing that you do is on target so that your website sees more traffic and you’re able to convert more visitors into loyal customers.
It’s important to know what your competitors are up to. If you’re not regularly scoping out their websites, you’re missing out on vital information that will help strengthen your e-commerce business.
Some of the things you should be looking for when visiting the competition’s website are:
Their product offerings.
- What is it exactly that they are selling?
- Are the products and services similar to yours?
- Why is that?
- What makes them similar?
- How does the competitor sell the product on their website?
- Do they list all its features and benefits or explain in detail how it fulfills an unanswered need?
These questions help you get very clear about what your competitors are doing to stay in the forefront of potential customers’ minds.
The sales and promotions that they’re running.
Knowing which times of the year your competitors offer deep discounts, BOGO incentives, and other types of promotions is important because it allows you the opportunity to develop your own enticing offers.
If you notice that the competition gets a great response to a certain promotion, you can launch the same type of deal on your website but add your personal flair to the offer. That way, your customers know that they’re getting something exclusively created for them.
Their pricing models.
Get to know how prices are determined by studying their pricing models.
- Does the competition offer free shipping after a customer has spent a certain amount dollar-wise?
- Do they end everything in .00 or .99?
- Is there a 2-for-1 deal or similar type of promotion that encourages the consumer to buy more than one item at once to get a bigger discount?
How you price your products will determine how well their value is perceived by the public. If you price them too high, people may not think they can afford them. If you price the products or services too low, the customers may think that they are poorly made or planned out and ultimately avoid buying them.
Possible keywords they’re using for SEO.
If you want the search engines to do the work for you, you’re going to need to do good keyword research on the competition’s website. By doing so, you’re able to see which words and phrases they’re ranking highest for.
If you sell similar products and services, you’ll want to be among the top spots on the first page of the search engines so that people will automatically click on your website. Take the time to find out which keywords to focus on because without SEO, your business is virtually invisible.
Which products are sold out and which they’ve marked down to clear out.
Supply and demand drives business. When there is something that people must get their hands on right away, it creates a demand for the product.
Businesses respond by either keeping a limited supply on hand so they can ask the highest price for it, or they order additional product, price it competitively, and mark it down after the demand has dwindled.
You’ll know exactly how to answer demand in your own business after having an idea of how your competitors respond to it in theirs.
Although awareness of other companies is essential to the growth and development of your own e-commerce business, remember that time is money. If you spend more than an hour or two each week researching the competition, there are things that aren’t being done in your own business.
Cull the time you spend online ‘researching’ to a specific number of minutes weekly so that you can get busy making your own website, product descriptions, and pricing models stronger.
The Challenging Climate E-commerce Business Owners are Up Against
In today’s world, automation in business is unavoidable. It allows e-commerce business owners to be more efficient by offloading mundane tasks, automatically posting blogs and social media posts, and launching promotional campaigns while the rest of the world sleeps among other things. Automation provides companies with the opportunity to save time and money while delivering a more personalized customer service experience.
How to Keep Up a Strong Online Presence Long-Term
Being able to stay on top as customer needs change is essential to your ability to remain relevant in today’s competitive e-commerce world. There are many ways to do just that with the most important being that you remain knowledgeable about the competition and flexible in your business approach at all times.
If you’re willing to adapt to the challenging climate the virtual sales world presents to you year after year, your business will continue to appeal to customers from around the globe.
The best advice to follow is to know the competition intimately and identify the one or two things they aren’t doing that you can with your business. By being willing to go the extra mile to offer something exclusive to your customers, you’ll win their trust and business long-term. Rather than reinvent the wheel, making use of automation allows you to focus on the areas of e-commerce that need your immediate attention.
This insight will give you a competitive advantage in everything you set out to do as a business owner.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.