It is customary to say that there is no such thing as ‘bad competition’. As an online seller, though you want your products to be in demand, you also should ensure that the market isn’t too crowded with sellers who offer the same products as yours. The best way to understand the balance between the two is to perform proper market research: you must know your industry. In other words, it imperative you are familiar with both the product category and your competitors. In this blog, I will share with you 7 insights that will serve as a guide for you when you research your competitors.
Disclaimer: We assume that you are familiar with the relevant product category. In other words, you know the size of the market, geographical presence, the pricing of the product and its advantages and disadvantages. You can learn about all of these in terms of your competitors, but you will be more objective and less biased if you come up with prior knowledge of the product.
Our list of 7 Best Tips to Amazon & eBay Competitor Research
- Number of competitors. Do you have competitors? Are they scattered across several marketplaces and countries or only in one place? Do those competitors sell additional products or are focused on your niche (if so, understand why they do it). How many products are listed in their store? Our starting point is that we want to get closer to the strong sellers and understand what the weak sellers are doing (or not doing) in order to differentiate ourselves from them.
- Learn the business foundations. Is it a big business or someone’s second income? If it is a large business, what is its structure and who owns it? When was it established? How many employees are employed and which are relevant to the store we are investigating? What is the online and offline presence of the business? In addition, you also better check the store’s metrics (feedbacks score, number of reviews, DSR, etc.)
- Store infrastructure. Which listing tool does your competitor use? Which system does he use to support his logistics (ERP) and customer base (CRM)? How does he issue invoices? What are the payment methods? Answering these questions will help you learn more about the tools your competitor is using, and as a result, you’ll be able to understand what limits they are subject to. Know the limitations of your competitor and make them your advantages!
- Find your competitors best sellers. It seems that the basis for your competition lies in the popular products you both sell, and that at this point, you think you can sell side by side. Learn these products: what are they? Try to estimate how many units each of your competitor’s product sells (you will not always know for sure, but you can certainly make an assumption. I hope to write about it in the near future); How many units have they sold in the same marketplace recently, and at what price?
- Quality listings. Quality listings are important in two main ways. First, it is important to increase exposure by making the search engine find the item page and make sure to display it (SEO Friendly). Second, be sure it contains all the relevant information about the product and conveys credibility and professionalism, which increases the conversion rate. When you learn your competitors, make sure to thoroughly study they keywords they use, attributes (including the GTIN, which eBay has started to request as a mandatory attribute for branded items, and can be easily found using Algopix), images, product description and general visibility (graphics, convenience, etc.).
- Your competitor’s logistics. From which country are the items shipped? Does your competitor send his products from his warehouse or fulfillment center? What shipping method does he use to send items domestically and internationally and how much does it cost? What is the handling time and how long is shipping? Is there a place where your competitor specifies his return policy, insurance, taxes and customs? These questions will affect your bottom line, customer satisfaction and profitability.
- Business intelligence. It is quite possible to purchase a product (or several products) from your competitor to better understand how the supply chain works. This will help you better understand the customer service that your competitor offers, what appears on the invoice of the product you purchased, how the package comes to your doorstep, and whether it contains any advertising material.
In conclusion, even if you choose to sell online, these skills will help you better understand your market, your competitors, and your potential for market entry. Be ready to be analyzed by your Amazon & eBay competitors as well. As Joseph Heller once said: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you! 🙂