- By: Ricky Hayes August 18, 2020
5 Powerful Ecommerce Spy Tools To Effectively Keep An Eye On Competitors
Before a game, teams pore through several hours of video analyzing that weekend’s opponent. They examine what the opponent does well and where they fall short. Throughout the week, they prepare themselves to take advantage of the weakness and ways to breach the strengths.
Your business can pluck a page out of the professional sports playbook. Looking through the Xs and Os gives you an advantage over your competition.
You can decide to choose the long route. That is, painstakingly go through all aspects of a single competitor manually before moving on to the next brand.
Or, you could choose one of the many competitor analysis tools. You can take advantage of these powerful tools to spy on eCommerce competitors.
Some of these provide so much insight that you might get to know your competitor more than they know themselves.
Well, not exactly. But you get where we’re going with this.
It’s perfectly normal to spy on your online business competitors if you want to get a foot into the industry. You’re probably in their crosshairs right now.
So why not swing the spyglass in their direction and bring them into focus?
In this article, we’re going to show you some of the top eCommerce spy tools. They have different features that you can use to your advantage.
Let’s dive in.
But before we do, you need to set up a store that appeals to the traffic you’re trying to attract by spying on your competitors.
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Why Should You Spy On Ecommerce Competitors?
When you start up your online store, it can take a while to make a name for yourself. Looking around, you can see other brands in your niche chugging along quite fine.
Your goal is to become like these brands and eventually overtake them. Spying on them can take you there.
Here is why eCommerce competitor analysis is essential for your fledgling online store.
The advantages include:
- Finding out the prevailing market prices of your products
- Identifying the different market trends you can latch on and take advantage of
- Discovering weakness in their operations that you can exploit
- Setting a standard to operate on
With this set of benefits, investing time and resources in using eCommerce spy tools is a worthwhile effort.
Even when your online store has found success, you should still keep an eye on your competitors. This enables you to stay a step or more ahead of them.
What Steps Should You Take To Spy On Your Competition?
Before you can use one of the various eCommerce spy tools, you need to know what the process entails.
For both new and more established eCommerce brands, the process is very similar.
Here is how you should go about it.
- Identify Your Competition
This is quite obvious. If you’re going to use spy tools, you need to know who you’re aiming them at.
Google your products or niche. The search engine will return results showing several brands that are in the same business as you.
You can identify the more direct competition by adding location to your query. This will show you competitors who’re trying to get the same slice of the market as you.
This sets us up perfectly for the next stage of your eCommerce competitor analysis.
- Sort Your Competitors Into Different Groups
Some of the brands you’re looking at are vying for the same exact turf as you. Others are related to your niche differently. Regardless, you should keep an eye on all of them.
Those who are selling the same products like you to the same market are your direct competitors.
Other brands sell similar products to a slightly different market. Others are just in the general industry but still have a bearing on your niche.
Keep your spyglass trained on all the different categories. You’ll learn a lot from all of them to keep your business on the up.
With everything set, proceed to look closely at your competitions’ operation.
You can do this manually by looking at different features of their websites. Alternatively, you can use various tools to sift through all the vital online store aspects.
And that brings us to this article’s primary purpose.
Let’s peel back the layers of the different eCommerce spy tools.
What Are The Best Ecommerce Competitor Analysis Tools?
Several spy tools have different combinations of features to allow you to keep tabs on your competition.
Some of these tools are free, whereas others require a paid subscription. Nevertheless, they all have their advantages.
We’ll take a look at both the free and paid tools.
The majority of free spy software offers fewer features. In some instances, they specialize in one form of analysis.
However, they offer excellent results in that field.
Paid spy tools offer extensive features that provide plenty of insight into your competitors’ performance.
Enough of that; let’s get into it.
- Google Alerts
This is one of the simplest ways to keep tabs on your rivals.
All you have to do is type in the brand name, niche, product or combination of any. Whenever the brand makes an appearance in the press or blogs, Google sends you a notification.
These alerts keep you up to speed on any developments in your competitors’ camps.
One benefit of Google Alerts is the timeliness of the results. As soon as your rival brand gets a mention, you get a notification.
And the best thing is that it’s free.
SEMrush is a prominent player in the SEO field. While adept at keyword research, the tool is also handy at eCommerce competitor analysis.
It provides exhaustive insights into the online performance of your competitors. And yes, this means that you have plenty of data at your feet.
However, SEMrush doesn’t leave you hanging. It organizes the data in a way that allows you to make informed decisions to take on your rivals.
It shows you which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Additionally, it analyzes their backlinks. This allows you to determine the quality of said backlinks, and if you can, have a crack at getting some of those backlinks for yourself.
Being a paid service, SEMrush is worth it. The tool updates all the information mentioned above in real-time. This keeps you as informed as you can be about your rivals.
Another major player in the SEO field, Ahrefs, is particularly formidable when it comes to analyzing organic traffic and backlinks.
In the tool’s Site Explorer feature, type in your rival’s URL. The function returns all the organic keywords that the site ranks for. Additionally, it shows you how much traffic the site is pulling in for each keyword.
From this, you can see if you can compete for those keywords. You can also spot keywords where your rival isn’t performing well. You can target these and get one up on your competition.
One of Ahrefs’ stand-out features is the fact that it shows your competitors’ best performing content basing on backlink frequency and strength.
Simply put, it shows which of your rivals’ most successful pages. It measures this by analyzing the number and quality of backlinks to that site.
SpyFu does a bit of the keyword and backlink analysis like the previous tools.
How is it any different? It goes a step further. The subscription-based tool helps you to keep an eye on your rivals’ paid campaign activity.
Pay-per-click is a great way to direct traffic to your online store. However, your competitors are also spending money on several keywords to channel traffic to their own sites.
You might be spending a similar amount, but your strategy is hit and miss. More miss, less hit.
Here’s where SpyFu comes in.
The tool analyzes your competitors’ paid campaigns. It shows you the keywords on which they spend more money.
If they’re finding success with these keywords, you can change your strategy and target these words as well.
- Sprout Social
Social media plays a central role in the success of your digital marketing strategy. Your rivals aren’t resting on their laurels. They’re using their social presence to reel in as many customers as possible.
As well as being a social media management tool, Sprout Social also allows you to spy on your competitors’ social media movements.
The tool spews out relevant and insightful reports. These show your rivals’ social metrics. You can compare them to yours and see where you triumph and where you fall short.
Sprout Social also has an advanced social listening tool. With this, you can peel back the deeper layers of your competitors’ strategy across the top social media platforms.
Keeping tabs on your business rivals is the norm in the digital realm. We’ve provided only a handful of the top eCommerce spy tools. They’re practical and keep you fully updated on your rivals’ moves.
Many online businesses use only one of the tools, depending on what competitor’s aspect they’re interested in. However, you can use several tools to cover your bases. Your rivals shouldn’t make a move without you noticing.
By taking advantage of a neatly executed eCommerce competitor analysis strategy, you can divert traffic from your rival to your store.
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