Ecommerce is hyper-competitive. But even though every retailer knows that, it’s amazing how few companies actually know what their competition is doing on a regular basis. While copying their strategies might not be the best idea, there are still a lot of important things your competition can teach you: customer preferences, effective marketing techniques, and most importantly, what’s selling! Here, we’ve snooped around and created a list of six things you can learn from your competitors.
1. What’s unique and what’s not: Ecommerce retailers often thrive by offering their customers something unique, whether it’s a product, service, or the entire shopping experience. If they’ve developed a program that seems to be working well, study it and see if you can make it better (but remember.. if you just copy it, it’s not really unique at all!).
2. What return policies are out there: Return policies have the innate ability to close a sale or scare the crap out of a customer. By understanding what policies are available elsewhere, you can tailor yours to be the most alluring in the market – or at least to be competitive enough to keep customers interested.
3. How to engage your customers: What are rival brands doing to talk to consumers? You need to know what your competition is saying and how they’re saying it if you want to lure customers away from them! Check out their social media pages, peruse their blogs, and even read their product descriptions and FAQs to glean info and gauge if what they’re doing is working.
4. What promotions to run (and what ones not to run): Are they offering free shipping with any purchase over $50? Did they run a Groupon deal and run out of inventory, resulting in scores of customer complaints? It’s important to know what promotions your competitors are running, a) so that you can offer something unique to differentiate your brand, and b) so that you know what offers are piquing customers’ interests.
5. What customers want: Read their reviews, check out their Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages to see what products are most liked/commented/shared, and check out what customer conversations are happening on Twitter and compare it to what you’re seeing with your own brand. The feedback can help you tailor both your marketing and merchandising efforts!
6. Great tools and resources to use: One of the best ways to find new vendors or resources for your business is to check out what others in your market are using. Not only does it cut down on your research time, but it also helps you vet out their performance in a similar situation without having to spend a dime! From live chat vendors to outsourced fulfillment partners, the possibilities are endless.