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How To Use Competitive Market Analysis To Increase Online Sales

04 October, 2017
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competitive market monitoring

Competition is a war, which you can win only through a detailed research of your competitors, an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. To increase sales you should know your direct and indirect competitors, understand what advertising channels and to what extent they use, which consumer audience target, and what is their price of goods similar to yours. This information will allow you to launch a high quality, effective campaign.

Sales market and competitor analysis will help you to form a set of instructions to optimize and promote your product online. To properly complete this task and control all its steps it’s better to ask a professional SEO agency for the assistance.

What Characteristics of Competitors Can Generally Be Analyzed?

Firstly, the very websites of competitors: How they manage to attract a target audience. How they present themselves and what message communicate to their target audience. Which “hooks” they use in their stores, how they attract customers, and on which product advantages they try to focus customer attention. After that, draw some conclusions and answer honestly “Who wins the comparison?”

Secondly, methods of search engine promotion: Where they place links and what types of links they place, which requests are used for promotion, and other important details.

Thirdly, you can analyze the contextual ads of your competitors: the queries and cost per click. You can track this with the help of special services. They are pretty easy to use.

Fourthly, it is also worth to explore the secrets of your competitors’ work: sign up for their mailouts, try sending them a request, and make an order. This will give you an opportunity to take a look at their email marketing, analyze emails and content sent to their customers, and compare these findings with your own strategy.

Fifthly, you have to understand where your competitors place their promotional content and what it looks like. Such publications can be easily monitored using contact information of the website, the company name or address.

Keeping a tight hold on the working process, analyzing the websites and marketing channels of your competitors to compare with your own assets, you will be much better informed. Stay on top of the current balance of forces in the market and get great statistics of market development to take perfect decisions (define what should be changed in your strategy) and have the clear scheme of online marketing usage in a target niche.

Competitor Price Monitoring

This type of analysis deserves a separate discussion due to its utmost importance. Let’s face it, in many cases, the decision of online buyers regarding a purchase is greatly influenced by competitive pricing. Everybody is interested in the dynamics of prices. Even if you have managed to get to the top of search results, you shouldn’t think that customers are so naive that they won’t check the price of the same product in other online stores. When new stores, which just have entered the market and haven’t developed a customer base, underestimate the importance of price, it’s something similar to a crime. The owners of online stores don’t have to spend money on retail space, therefore, they can lower prices to the point where they will still receive income. Here is where the price analysis takes its full force. You need a good price monitoring service to control the competitiveness of your prices and have your finger on the pulse. With such tool, you can find out that while the price of a certain product on your website is $290, your competitors sell it for $260 and $240. Or vice versa, the price you have indicated is too low, for example, $55, whereas the other websites want $65 and $75. Hence, you can increase the profit margin (profitability). If you want to make timely changes in pricing, Plerdy service is just what you need.

How does Plerdy monitor the prices of competitors? What benefits does it have? First of all, you should know that the data accuracy of this service is 98% and the possible revenue increase ranges from 20% to 100%. The monitoring of the prices of competitors and resellers is crucial for the successful development of your own business.

  1. You will get an opportunity to see how your direct competitors work: Who sells the same products and what their price is?.
  2. An everyday update of the information on competitors’ prices for the same products as you sell.
  3. After each price monitoring, you will get the breakdown of data to your personal cabinet and email.
  4. A timely and correct price analysis will allow you to detect any price anomalies for each product as well as define too cheap or too expensive items.
  5. Thanks to the analysis of the prices of competitors and resellers, information about brands and categories you will be able to react promptly and create the most favorable offers for your customers.

As our experience shows, price monitoring isn’t the most exciting and pleasant method of competitive analysis (comparison of competitors). It’s much easier to view ready-made charts of analytics, and that’s why we recommend the comparative analysis of competitor pricing offered by Plerdy.

Competitive Analysis: Tools and Methods

methods of analysis
The web is a place with an extremely fierce competition, which is not limited by any natural barriers, obstacles, and distances. A few clicks make all distances in the world unimportant. Each online project aims to attract potential customers and increase income. And to achieve this you must be really careful in your actions. Which tools can be used to analyze competitors and the situation on the market? Which methods should be applied? The market and competitor analysis should be complete and detailed, namely include pricing, SEO, advertising, and any other activities.

  • Competitor SWOT analysis. The method evaluates external and internal factors that directly influence a product. These factors work in several directions, allowing to detect strengths and weaknesses of the product, predict the possibility of growth and development, assess existing threats and risks on the market. Such comparative analysis can be applied to the whole industry, a certain niche, products, competitors, and many other structural components. It allows to solve strategic and tactical planning tasks and make necessary changes to the plan.
  • SPACE analysis. It allows to examine the financial capacity of the project and advantages of the offered goods. A set of factors is used to define a competitive position that can be aggressive, defensive, or conservative. The position becomes obvious when the market is unstable.
  • PEST analysis. This is the most effective and efficient method to analyze the macro-environment of a company. It helps to define market trends in the analyzed industry. The results of PEST analysis can be used during SWOT analysis to identify opportunities and threats. This type of analysis is usually done for five years (for long-term strategic planning) but its data is necessarily updated on the annual basis.
  • Michael Porter’s competitive analysis. This method allows to cover the competition in an industry as a whole. According to the theory of competition offered by Michael Porter, there are five main forces that influence market profitability: competitive rivalry, supplier power, buyer power, threat of substitution, threat of new envy. Porter’s analysis shows the real position of competitive forces allowing to find an optimal, safe place for the company to enter the market.
  • Web analytics. Third party services (such as semrush.com or serpstat.com), which collect data on competitors, offer information about the effectiveness of the promotional campaigns launched by competitors, the positions of their resources, their activity in social media, etc.
  • Manual analysis. Specialists of an SEO agency can manually check key parameters of competitive websites and their ads. Relying on this information, they will give specific recommendations, which can help you to solve the main tasks of your project. A proper marketing analysis of the sales market anyway is a must.

If you study your competitors’ actions and the moments of their work directly or indirectly affecting your business, you will get numerous benefits and will be able to better define your strategy. This way, you may avoid serious mistakes, effectively maintain the competitiveness of your web resource, promptly react to market changes, adjusting your own offers accordingly.

Types of Competitive Analysis on the Web

When can (and should) a competitive analysis of the online market be done? It can be carried out both before the start of the project and much later when the resource is already well developed. Not only need you to know whom you should fight when the website is launched, you need to predict the possible future actions of your competitors. This is inevitable regardless of the type of your online store, whether it is home appliances, furniture, clothes, or sporting goods. When you react to changes in your competitors’ strategies you create your own effective strategy. Generally, we define three types of competitive analysis on the Internet:

  1. Strategic analysis before the start of the project and marketing strategy creation.
  2. Post analysis. Update of the information on a competitive environment (after the web resource is launched or relaunched).
  3. Regular monitoring of competitive websites with the help of special services.
  4. Read about each type of analysis, its characteristics, purposes, and effectiveness below.

Strategic analysis before the project launch

This complex of actions taken at the initial stage of the project will define how to launch it and allow to make prompt corrections (if necessary). The analysis helps to understand market saturation with goods that compete with yours and see characteristics of your direct and indirect potential competitors. Yet here you have to answer one important question “How to know whom to compete with for the consumer audience?” First of all, you should define your own key characteristics, such as the target audience and the pricing category, and then involve search engines into the game. After that, you can select competitors that sell brands or products with same (up to 95%) functions as yours.

Post analysis

It is an update of the data collected during the initial analysis of competitive websites. Usually, you need it when some significant changes are made to the website or the launch of the project is paused for some reason.

Regular monitoring

This particular method, which studies the market behavior of competitors, is used when the website already actively works. The monitoring consists of different researches: what information about competitors appears online (on forums, social media, and mass media) and how their websites change (for online businesses with 10,000+ visitors/day). The growth of competitors and their ranking in search is checked once a month, new products and brands are analyzed several times per week, and prices are monitored on a daily basis. This helps to become more attractive to customers. Such data can fully satisfy the needs of online stores with up to 5,000 visitors/day. Regular monitoring helps you to stay alert, remain updated on the latest changes, and correct your own behavior, which in the long run affects the effectiveness of all business decisions. The analysis and assessment of the advertising market will help you to choose the best marketing move and use it.
The monitoring will be focused on the methods competitors use to communicate with customers, assessment of their website design and content quality, check of website usability (ease of use) and more. Special services will help to define the websites’ domain authority. Moreover, there is no need to analyze context ads on competitive websites manually as this is too time-consuming. You can do that with special tools, such as serpstat.com or ahrefs.com.

How to Increase Sales on Your Website

How to increase the turnover of a business? How to grow sales volume in times of crisis? How to boost sales in retail? What creative tools and marketing actions help to achieve the aforementioned goals? What measures can be taken to attract potential customers and keep them? Now online resources are in a fierce struggle for the potential audience. They are fighting for every customer and in every individual case it is necessary to develop a unique strategy to attract customers and grow conversion based on the marketing research results.

Conversion is a ratio of active customers (buyers) to the total number of website visitors. In grocery online stores, conversion rate ranges from 0.3% to 20%. The average conversion rate (taking into account shopping cart and phone orders) ranges from 1% to 4% motivating business owners to search a way to increase sales. During recent years, marketers and IT specialists have gained hands-on experience, which allows to define some effective and trusted methods to improve the conversion rate of online stores.

Conversion Increase as a Way to Boost Sales. Trusted Tips

Grow sales, increase revenue, attract more new customers – all these goals are achievable, especially if you don’t make mistakes that reduce turnover and don’t put a spoke in your own wheel. If you timely update information on availability and pricing of your goods, promptly react to customer requests, and have no delivery problems our recommendations will help you to noticeably grow online store sales and steadily increase their volume.

  1. Thematic traffic growth and attractiveness of the main page. It is necessary to do a complete keywords research and properly distribute keywords among the categories of the online store.
  2. An appealing, user-friendly interface and fast page loading. Without this, you will start to lose your potential buyers and can forget about sales increase. Users are impatient and they are easily repelled by slow websites, strange page structure, and the abundance of irrelevant information.
  3. Competitive pricing of goods, which is regularly updated based on competitor price monitoring.
  4. Orders without registration and a hotline. Impatient potential customers may more likely become real buyers if they can make an order as quickly as possible. It’s recommended to place an easy phone number (in the international format) in a permanently accessible area of the website so that users could ask for help or order.
  5. Cross-browser website and adaptive design. When the website is distorted and works slowly this will have a dramatic adverse effect on its conversion. This issue requires a particularly careful approach because sales growth is put at stake.
  6. Advanced search. Especially in the case of large stores. Easy and convenient filters will help users to organize a wide range of products and find the necessary item. This may well lead to pushing up of sales in the online store.
  7. Intuitive navigation (website usability). Every section of the ecommerce website should be clear and easy to use. Customers must have access to strategically important areas of the online store (cart, contact information, etc.) from any page they open. 404 page also shouldn’t make a negative impression. Mask it with your corporate website colors, use a pinch of humor, and add the link to the main page.
  8. Product cards should have high-quality, error-free content describing specific advantages of the goods. This moment also should be carefully monitored as errors in descriptions, and bulky, incomprehensible texts are just unacceptable. Buyers value clearness. If you ponder how to increase sales in the online store of clothes, sporting goods, auto parts or any other type of ecommerce website, note that you must clearly and specifically indicate advantages of your products and avoid vague descriptions and unrelated rhetoric. Apart from the price, while searching an online store to order some goods clients are primarily interested in the information about sizes, measurements, functions, materials, qualities, strengths of products.
  9. Special offers, discounts, bonuses, sales. Marketers believe that this is probably the best way to earn customer loyalty, increase conversion, and encourage buyers to make repeat orders. Direct discounts, free shipping for a second purchase, accessories sent as a gift, bonus systems, all kinds of special offers and other marketing tricks will make your customers remember you, return, and, very possibly, recommend your store to other people. You should always indicate the reason for the sale (a new season, a new collection, etc.) to prevent customers from doubts about the quality of the product.

The aforementioned ways to attract and keep customers will benefit conversion of any online store, yet the effectiveness of each of them, of course, depends on the peculiarities of the target audience and the type of the web resource. Only professionals with hands-on experience and high qualifications can ensure guaranteed conversion rate improvement.

Additional Ideas On How To Increase Sales in Your Online Store

how increase sales
Regardless of whether you are the owner of an already existing online store or you are just about to start your project, you may need some trusted tips on how to increase traffic and sales of your website.

  • Buy or Order buttons should take the place of honor. It is better to locate key marketing elements above the scroll line. In addition, to meet their main goals, namely, attract attention and call to action, they shouldn’t melt into the background.
  • Traffic increase. Register in all possible online bulletin boards, groups, blogs and forums in social media making use of all available ways to attract customers and increase inventory turnover. Borrow the best ideas from your competitors. Such actions will have a positive impact on sales.
  • Articles that sell and appealing titles. Short, error-free, easy, and interesting texts with keywords, lists, and subheadings will be a very effective tool to achieve the set goals.
  • Testing of the online store to increase sales. Take the path of experiments and adjustments, record indicators, analyze data and draw conclusions, changing the appearance and content of your website.
  • Customer support. Your assistance and attention to customers should never come close to pushiness and aggression. Use pop-up windows moderately, for example, to remind about free shipping, say thank you for the order or offer a discount for the next one. SMS marketing or email holiday greetings is also a good example of how to enhance sales.
  • Reviews page. According to the statistics, over 70% of potential buyers are ready to trust opinions left in reviews. It would be foolish to neglect such a powerful stimulus. Comments and reviews have another additional advantage: they will become a natural generator of unique content. There are many ways to motivate customers to write reviews. A simple example is a discount for the next order, yet you can find plenty of other ideas.

Thus, to increase online store sales it is necessary to combine work in several key directions: optimize the online store, analyze the competitive environment, improve the assortment, use effective marketing strategies and build positive relationships with customers. Sometimes even a minor change has a noticeable positive effect.

Good luck in business and high conversion!

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