E-Commerce Industry Analysis: 5 Ways to Analyze Your Competition


eep your friends close and your enemies closer.

With the E-Commerce industry rapidly growing, the competition is growing too. We’re not saying that your competition is your enemy, but they sure as hell ain’t your friend.

If you’re always losing to your competitors it’s going to be difficult to ever promote your business to the next level. How do you stop losing to your competitors? You analyze them!

In this blog, we’re going to teach you how to perform an E-Commerce Industry Analysis so that you can get insights into your competitors. Keeping your competition close to you allows you to be proactive rather than reactive. Let’s get started with defining what an E-Commerce Industry Analysis is!

What Is An E-Commerce Industry Analysis

Small Business Chron defines an Industry Analysis as “a tool to help you understand your position among your competitors.” Performing an Industry Analysis for your E-Commerce business can provide you with benefits such as:

  • Ability to identify threats to your business
  • Ability to identify opportunities for your business
  • Insight to know which area of your business to put focus into to gain a competitive advantage
  • Foresight into future trends that the industry is heading into

You may be thinking to yourself, “This all sounds great, but how the hell do I do an E-Commerce Industry Analysis?” Lucky for you, we’ve done the work for you and we’re going to walk you through 5 easy ways that you can do an Industry Analysis for your E-Commerce business.

At the end, make sure you download our E-Commerce Industry Analysis template. It’s gonna make doing this a whole lot easier!

01. Social Media

What do Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter all have in common? Well not only are they all filled with angry people with unwavering opinions on utterly every single topic, but it’s also where your competition is. Social Media is a great first place to start when starting your E-Commerce Industry Analysis. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Platforms: Which platforms are they using? Are they only utilizing the “big” platforms like Facebook and Instagram? Are they using more niche social media outlets like LinkedIn or Pinterest? Knowing this information will give you an idea if you need to expand your social media presence or not.
  • Frequency: How often are they posting? What time are they posting? 
  • Content: What type of content are they posting? Is the content original content or are they sharing other people’s content?
  • Following: This one may take a little longer but it’s important! Start tracking their follower count and see how much it grows (or doesn’t). If your competitor struggles on social do not, I repeat, DO NOT take any influence from them.
  • Engagement: The last thing is do they have good engagement (likes/comments) on their posts? If they have 20K followers but only get 15 likes, something is wrong. Their engagement should have a sensible ratio to how many people are following them. Once again, if you see poor engagement, DO NOT take influence from their strategy. 

Getting all the details on your competitor’s social media presence is important, but it’s not the only thing to review. You also need to look at their website and we’re going to tell you exactly what to look for!

02. Website

Looking at your competitor’s website is a great way to see how their online presence is performing. Here are some quick things to look for when scanning their website:

  • Is what they are offering communicated clearly?
  • Is the website design clean and simple?
  • Are you able to search for things easily?
  • Is it Mobile-Friendly?
  • Is it easy to “Shop”?
  • Do they have professional photography (or at least have clean photography that’s not blurry and off-brand)
  • Do they stay consistent with their brand?
  • Do they have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? (Not sure what this is? We’ll cover this in a later blog!)

All these things can give you insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. If your answer was “no” to most of these then you know your competition is probably not doing as well as it may seem. This new knowledge shows you what things you should implement for yourself and what things you should stay far away from.

Pro Tip: Hold your website up to this list too. Making these changes can have a huge impact on your online presence and ultimately, give you the upper hand on your competition!

03. Email Marketing

Some say email marketing is dead. Just kidding, no one says that. Actually, if you’re not utilizing email marketing your business may be dead sooner than later. 

Does your competitor have a way they’re collecting email addresses? Maybe it’s by asking their customers to sign up for their monthly newsletter? Maybe it’s through offering a discount in exchange for an email address? Regardless of the way they're asking, here’s a crazy idea - Give them YOUR email address! 

As you begin to receive communication from them here are some things to look for:

  • How frequently are they sending out emails?
  • What kind of content is in their emails?
  • Are their emails optimized for mobile devices?
  • Do their emails go straight to your spam folder? 

So far you’ve checked out your competitor’s social media, website, and email campaigns. These are great things to look at when analyzing them, but how do you know if all of the things they’re doing are even working for them? If only there was a way to check this… oh wait there is and it’s a simple Google search away!

04. Reviews

If there’s one thing that people love more than anything, it’s sharing their opinions. Thanks to the internet, people can share their opinions anywhere and everywhere on everything. If your competitor has been around for any amount of time, they're sure to have reviews posted about them.

Here are some places to look for reviews on your competitors:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Google
  • Any industry-specific sites (ie. Etsy)

By researching what others are saying about your competitors you can learn a lot. Maybe in your research, you find that a lot of people actually aren’t too pleased with your competitor’s service. With that new knowledge, you know that you shouldn’t try to copy the things they’re doing.

Alright --- It’s time to buckle your seatbelts. The last way of analyzing your competitors is freakin crazy!

05. Purchase From Your Competitors 

WHAT??? That’s insane! Why would you do that?

The real question is, why wouldn’t you do that?

Now we purposefully listed this one as the last way to analyze your competitors. Why? Because  you should only purchase products from the competitors who are getting results. When you purchase from your competitors who are doing well you get first-hand experience into how they run their business. 

To Sum It All Up

Always coming in 2nd place to your competitors is frustrating. The best way to change that is through performing an E-Commerce Industry Analysis on your competitors. There are 5 easy ways to gain these insights. Their social media presence, their website, their email marketing strategy, their reviews, and their actual service (you figure this out through hiring them). This is an easy way to help you come out on top of your competition! 

ACTION STEP: Download the Free Template below and gain access to a worksheet that will help you organize all of your research from your E-Commerce Industry Analysis.

Reference Links