How to Analyze Online Competition?
Competitor Analysis: Why Is Researching Competitors So Important? The research process you do about your competitors can generally be called "competitive research".
By analyzing the competition in the relevant sector and maintaining this analysis regularly, you will be more aware of the behavior and trends of your competitors, will start to predict their next moves more accurately, so you will always be one step ahead.
Although conducting competitive analysis is not a rocket science, you will always need more than Google research to identify and classify your competitors.
In this article, you will learn how to properly examine your competitors' online world and understand their approach in the industry, so that you can turn your position in the industry into a sustainable competitive advantage.
Why Is Researching Competitors So Important?
The research process you do about your competitors can generally be called "competitive research".
This type of research is crucial to your success as a business owner. Because, thanks to you, you can gain the ability to quickly identify industry trends, adapt to competitor campaigns or strategies so that you can hold in the industry or leave your competitors out of the industry.
How to Make Competitive Analysis Step by Step?
1. Classify your competitors.
Admit it or not, your competitors will always exist and they will be as hungry as you are.
At this point, this article offers a simple and easy-to-use process recommendation that will help you conduct a competitive analysis that can help you discover your competitors in your field.
In this way;
- Able to turn your strengths and weaknesses into an advantage to help you start your business,
- You will be able to better understand your current situation and, in addition, determine your best possible position in the sector in order to achieve success,
- You will be able to define, understand and monitor your competition, thus minimizing the risk of being overthrown by a competitor at any moment.
This process can also be called the construction of competitive intelligence.
Identify Your Competitors
There are many ways to identify your competitors in your industry, but you can handle most of your small business on Google.
You can start by doing a simple research to determine your company's name, your product ideas and your business model that can distinguish it from others.
At this point, you can check out different social media channels, organizations and online communities.
Other resources you can use to get more comprehensive information about your competitors' websites and visitors include tools such as Alexa, Similarweb, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest.
At this step, your ultimate goal should be to be able to define a comprehensive framework for the competitive environment and to create an adequate network of relationships.
Classify Your Competitors
When you define your competitors, you will want to categorize them at different levels, from the class of your main competitors to the class of your competitors that do not directly compete with you.
At this point, the easy ways to classify your competitors in your industry are as follows.
- Main Competitors: These are the actors who are direct competitors to you. In other words, they either appeal to the same audience as you, or have products or services that are very similar to yours, or it might be applicable in both situations at the same time.
- Secondary Competitors: These competitors offer a lower or upper segment product according to the product you offer or target a completely different audience. If you sell Casio brand watches, the products offered to the market by competitors in this class may be Rolex watches.
- Third-Rank Competitors: This category includes competitors that offer products that are not very similar to your products, but may come in handy when you want to improve your product scale. They offer products or services that may be related to you in some way, or it may be possible for you to partner with these competitors in the future. For example, if you sell jewelry, you can include gemstone sellers in this category.
When you do your research, you can keep this information organized in excel or notebook.
For a start, you can stick to basic information such as company name, location, mission, products, strengths and weaknesses, and category title.
2. Examine the competitors' website and the customer experience they offer.
Once you have identified your competitors, you will need to analyze their website as well.
To get started, you can review the items below.
- How consistent are the product photos? How do they present their products and how do they communicate product details?
- How detailed are the product descriptions? What information do they contain? What information is missing?
- At what points in the online shopping experience do they encourage users to buy? Are they doing this in an open way or don't they have enough website design for it?
- How do they position their social media icons?
- Do they have a blog? If so, how often do they post on this blog?
What types of information do they avoid sharing?
- Are their apps optimized for mobile?
- What are their suggested ways of communicating with the customer? Are there time limits for phone support?
- How long do they respond to customer e-mails, online posts and contact forms?
- What information is included in marketing banners and pop-ups? This information will help you reveal their competitive position within the industry.
- How often do they do their promotions? What benefits do these promotions provide for customers and potential buyers?
Again, the ones listed above are just a few of the ways to get started.
Each website will vary according to the sector it is associated with and the products or services they offer.
At this step, your goal should not only be to master your competitors' strengths and weaknesses (which can be done with SWOT analysis), but also to start thinking like a dynamic business owner.
Based on this, you will be able to define your competitive advantage in the sector.
You Should Always Keep an Eye on Your Competitors, but Don't Obsess About It
Design, create and support your products or services in the most unique way.
Keep an eye on the competitive environment, but don't let that distract you from your vision.
3. Define Your Competitors' Position in the Market
By defining the positioning strategies of your competitors, you can begin to get an idea about the demands and expectations of the sector you are associated with.
At this point, look at your competitors' websites and marketing messages and ask the following questions:
What do customers actually get from your competitors? Are the prices attractive for them? Or is it customer experience?
What are the features that distinguish your products from their competitors? Which product features and benefits do they highlight most in the industry?
According to them, what are the things that make their products or services special?
These questions will help you understand the actors with which your competitors are communicating and where they position themselves within the market. Thus, your job will be a little easier when determining your position against your competitors in the market.
To be able to gather as much information as possible, make sure you do the following:
- Subscribe to your competitors 'newsletters: You can better understand your competitors' business model and communication style, and therefore the environment in which they compete.
- Subscribe to their blog and read it regularly: Find out what topics and how often they include them on their blog.
- Follow them on social media: Try to understand their service approach and way of communicating with the customer.
- Buy their products: Get to know their products closely, order their products, so you can observe how much they care about delivery times and product packaging.
- Throw a product in the cart and exit the app: Check out the emails they send you about your abandoned purchase experience, the templates and language they use in these emails.
4. Check out their pricing.
Your pricing strategy will be one of the most important parts of your online business and potentially your competitive advantage.
There are multiple factors to consider when pricing your products.
To get started, you can examine how your competitors are pricing their products. In this way, you will begin to better understand the monetary value that the target market will be willing to pay and with which prices you can survive in the market.
At this point, it will be useful to monitor your competitors' prices for various marketing and sales channels (especially Google).
Take a look at the information you have gathered about positioning in the market, try to understand what you are actually selling to your customers.
Perhaps your target customers are willing to pay more for a smooth delivery, good website usage experience, or peace of mind with your products.
5. Solve any possible problems for delivery.
At this point, along with pricing, you need to gather intelligence about customer expectations, how they communicate and the delivery processes of your competitors.
Since the most important reason why customers leave the purchasing process is the delivery process, setting more meaningful and competitive delivery costs will be one of the most effective ways to achieve success in your online merchandising services.
If you can't initially set competitive delivery rates, might there be little things you can offer, like personalization or gift cards?
6. Check the current heart rate from customer reviews.
This is not an easy task.
Find as many customer reviews for your competitors as possible. These evaluations should be evaluated in a wide range from the product reviews made by the customers on the websites to the evaluations made about the company on the social media or the comments left under the articles on the blogs.
From the reactions of the customers, you can examine the current pulse of how healthy your competitors' service model is and put the customer in the center, and you can turn it in your favor.
If you've found a lot of reviews about a product similar to the one you're aiming to sell, it's a sign that people are interested in purchasing that product.
If these evaluations are made by customers who are not happy with the service or product provided to them, the conditions under which the delivery was made, or the quality of the product, you can even choose the way to make differences in your business model.
7. Follow social media.
Following your competitors' social media accounts can have many benefits for you.
If they have a lot of followers on social media and they are actively using these accounts, this would be a good sign that there is a favorable market for your products.
You will have an idea of how customers feel about your business model and see what matches your customer base.
Of course, if any of your competitors are extremely popular on social media, that means you have to set up your own game and find your own way to hold onto the market.
If your competitors do not have a noticeable number of followers on social media, it means that the market is weak, the target market is not using social media, or there is a suitable place in the market for you to become a leader in customer acquisition.
You can look at all social media channels you can think of, such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit or Twitter, and ask the following questions:
- How strong are their social media presence?
- Which social media channels do they use the most?
- How do they communicate with their customer base?
- How often do they post on social media?
- Which social media channels are they absent? Are there any opportunities waiting for you?
- How do they share on their social media accounts?
- What percentage of these posts are about work?
Also, check out some other alternative channels.
These include alternative media such as forums, online dating groups, blogs.
In addition, you can measure the size of the search traffic on the internet regarding your competitors with certain tools designed for this job. In this way, you may encounter opportunities that will allow you to optimize your site for certain search keywords that you are not currently targeting.
8. You can use the other items stated below for competitive analysis.
Focus on jagged details: Do you want to know how long your competitors have been operating in the industry? When did they register their domain name, contact information and server statistics?
Monitor their hires: Find out what positions your competitors are hiring for. This will give you insight into both the strength of the industry and the corporate culture.
Always have up-to-date information about your competitors: With tools such as Google Alerts, you can receive email updates based on certain keywords. In addition to your own business, you can create alarms to access all the up-to-date information you need about your competitors.
Remember, regular competitive analysis doesn't mean obsessively monitoring your competitors. However, you will always need a competitive analysis to follow the changes in the industry and new actors entering the industry.
Thanks to competitive analysis, you can be sure that you are now one step closer to gaining a significant market share in the industry and increasing sales.