Ultimate Guide to Conducting E-commerce Competitive Analysis


Currently, there are more than 26.5 million e-commerce sites in operation globally. The number of e-commerce sites worldwide increased from 9.2 million in 2019 to 26.5 million by 2023. Staying ahead of the competition is therefore crucial. Conducting a thorough e-commerce competitive analysis helps brands and retailers understand their market position, identify opportunities, and make informed decisions. This ultimate guide will walk you through the steps of conducting a comprehensive e-commerce competitive analysis, ensuring you have the insights needed to outperform your rivals. We will also highlight Netrivals, a powerful tool designed to streamline this process.

Why conduct a competitive analysis?

Before diving into the how-to, it’s essential to understand the why. Competitive analysis provides several key benefits:

  • Market understanding: Gain insights into market trends, customer preferences, and competitor strategies.
  • Identify opportunities and threats: Discover gaps in the market that you can exploit and threats you need to mitigate.
  • Benchmarking: Evaluate your performance against competitors to identify areas for improvement.
  • Strategic planning: Inform your business strategy with data-driven insights, enhancing decision-making processes.

Steps to conducting an e-commerce competitive analysis

1. Identify your competitors

Start by identifying who your competitors are. They can be categorized into direct competitors (those selling similar products) and indirect competitors (those offering alternative solutions to the same problem). Use search engines, social media, and e-commerce platforms to compile a comprehensive list. Tools like Netrivals can help you discover competitors you might have missed.

2. Analyze competitor websites

Visit your competitors’ websites to evaluate their user experience (UX), design, and content. Pay attention to:

  • Website structure and navigation: Is the site easy to navigate? How is the information organized?
  • Product pages: How are products presented? What information is provided?
  • Customer reviews and testimonials: What do customers like or dislike about their products and services?
  • Blog and content marketing: What type of content do they produce? How often do they update their blog?

3. Evaluate product range and pricing

Evaluating your competitors’ product range and pricing strategies is a crucial aspect of competitive analysis. This process involves assessing both the variety and specialization of the products they offer and how these compare to your own offerings.

Assess the breadth and depth of product range

Breadth of product range: Determine how many different product categories your competitors cover. Are they offering a wide variety of products, or are they focused on a niche? A broad product range might indicate a strategy aimed at capturing a larger market share, whereas a specialized range could indicate a focus on quality and expertise in a particular area.

Depth of product range: Look at the variety within each product category. Do they offer multiple variations of a single product, such as different sizes, colors, or models? A deeper product range can cater to more specific customer needs and preferences, providing a competitive edge.

New product introductions: Monitor how often your competitors introduce new products. Frequent new product launches might suggest a strategy of constant innovation and adaptation to market trends.

Compare pricing strategies

Pricing models: Analyze the pricing models your competitors use. Are they employing dynamic pricing, where prices fluctuate based on demand and supply? Do they offer regular discounts, promotional pricing, or loyalty programs to attract and retain customers? Understanding these strategies can help you refine your own pricing approach to stay competitive.

Product availability: Examine how often competitors have items in stock compared to you. Frequent stockouts can frustrate customers, while consistent availability can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Price points: Compare the price points of similar products. Are your competitors’ prices higher, lower, or about the same as yours? If they are significantly lower, understand how they achieve this—whether through cost-saving measures, lower-quality materials, or other means. If their prices are higher, what added value are they offering to justify this?

Geographical pricing: Check if competitors adjust their pricing based on geographical regions. This can be especially relevant for international retailers where purchasing power and demand may vary significantly across different regions.

Utilize Netrivals for real-time insights

Netrivals' Competitive Analysis

Netrivals is an invaluable tool in this process. It excels in providing real-time price monitoring and comparison across numerous competitors. Here’s how Netrivals can enhance your competitive analysis:

Real-Time price monitoring: Netrivals continuously tracks and updates the prices of products across various e-commerce platforms. This ensures you have the most current data to make informed pricing decisions.

Historical price data: Analyze historical pricing trends to understand how competitors adjust their prices over time. This can help you anticipate future pricing strategies and react accordingly.

Stock availability tracking: Monitor product availability in real-time to identify patterns in stockouts and restocking. This information can help you manage your inventory more effectively and avoid losing sales due to stock issues.

Automated alerts: Set up automated alerts to notify you of significant price changes or new product introductions by your competitors. This allows you to respond quickly to market changes

4. Study marketing strategies

Analyze how your competitors are marketing their products. This includes their SEO strategies, social media presence, email marketing, and paid advertising campaigns:

  • SEO: What keywords are they ranking for? Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find out.
  • Social media: Which platforms are they active on? What type of content gets the most engagement?
  • Email campaigns: Subscribe to their newsletters to see how they communicate with their customers.
  • Advertising: What kind of ads are they running? What messaging do they use?

5. Customer service and support

Evaluate the level of customer service your competitors offer. This can be done by:

  • Contacting customer support: Reach out with inquiries to see how they respond.
  • Checking response times: How quickly do they reply to customer queries?
  • Reviewing return policies and guarantees: How do their policies compare to yours?

6. Analyze customer reviews and feedback

Customer reviews can provide valuable insights into what your competitors are doing right and where they are falling short. Look for common themes in reviews on their website, social media, and third-party review sites. This will help you understand customer pain points and preferences.

7. Use analytical tools

Leveraging analytical tools is crucial for effective competitive analysis. Tools like Netrivals offer comprehensive features that streamline this process:

Price monitoring

Real-time tracking: Monitor competitor prices in real-time to stay competitive and responsive to market changes.

Price comparison: Compare your prices with competitors to make informed pricing decisions.

Historical data: Analyze pricing trends over time to develop strategic pricing plans.

Stock availability

Inventory monitoring: Track competitors’ stock levels to identify their inventory management strengths and weaknesses.

Out-of-Stock alerts: Receive alerts when competitors run out of stock to capitalize on market opportunities.

Restocking patterns: Predict competitors’ restocking schedules to plan your inventory more effectively.

Market Analysis

Trend identification: Discover market trends and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Competitive benchmarking: Compare your performance against competitors to identify improvement areas.

Customer sentiment: Analyze competitor reviews to understand customer preferences and improve your offerings.

Netrivals and other analytical tools provide essential insights that help you maintain a competitive edge in the e-commerce market.

Implementing your findings

Once you’ve gathered and analyzed the data, it’s time to put your findings into action. Here are some steps to take:

  • Adjust your pricing strategy: Use the insights gained to optimize your pricing, ensuring competitiveness without sacrificing profitability.
  • Enhance your product offering: Identify gaps in your product range and explore opportunities to expand or specialize.
  • Improve customer experience: Make necessary improvements to your website’s UX and customer service based on competitor analysis.
  • Refine your marketing strategy: Adjust your marketing tactics to better align with successful competitor strategies and exploit their weaknesses.
Start your competitive analysis!

Adrian Gmelch

Adrian Gmelch is a tech and e-commerce enthusiast. He initially worked for an international PR agency in Paris for large tech companies before joining Lengow's international field marketing & content team.

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