5 Steps to Spy on Your Competitors in E-Commerce

E-commerce has become a major player in the retail market, with global sales estimated to reach $4.2 billion by 2021. Indeed, with the rise of online shopping, more and more companies are getting into e-commerce. But with so much competition, it can be hard to know where to start. That's where spy tactics come in. If you want to succeed in e-commerce, you need to learn how to spy on your competitors.

With the right tools and strategies, you can discover the marketing methods and strategies used by your competitors and use them to your advantage. In this blog post, we'll explore how to spy on your competitors, the tools you can use to do so, and how to use different spying strategies to improve your e-commerce or dropshipping business.

Introduction to e-commerce

E-commerce or online shopping has been around for decades, but has grown tremendously in the last few years, especially with the global containment. Buying on the Internet has become a habit and even after the containment, we still continue to witness a growth of the market.
E-commerce is a type of business model that allows customers to purchase goods or services online. It can be clothing, electronics or anything else you can imagine. The principle of operation is almost the same as for in-store purchases. Only here, the buyer does not often have the opportunity to try the product. Everything happens virtually until the moment of receiving the product. That's why for an online store, you need a lot more marketing arguments to convince your potential buyers.

Many businesses are turning to e-commerce to reach a wider audience and increase sales. But with so many businesses entering the online sales world, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition .
As an entrepreneur, you need to know that there are bound to be others offering the same service as you. In fact, if you don't find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition, you will have a hard time making a mark in the market, especially if you operate in a very competitive niche such as beauty, clothing or many others.

In this article, we will discover all the strategies you need to spy on your competitors in order to identify the strategies that work for them and replicate them for you. 

Why spy on competitors?

Spying on your e-commerce competitors has become increasingly important as the digital world has grown and evolved. Knowing what your competitors are doing online can give you a huge advantage in the e-commerce world. By keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing, you can gain valuable insight into the strategies and tactics they are using to succeed in their e-commerce businesses. And that's what's important to you.

By spying on your competitors' activities, you can identify the plans they are succeeding in and those they are failing in. You can use this information to adjust your own strategies and make sure that your online sales business is as successful as possible.
The advantage is that you won't waste time repeating the same mistakes they made because you already know them, and you won't be breaking your neck trying out dozens of strategies. Take what works for them and adapt it to your business.

You can also use the information gathered during your spying to identify new opportunities that your competitors may not be aware of.
It is also important to spy on your competitors in the e-commerce field to ensure that you do not miss out on important updates in the market. Be aware that, the sales market is changing very fast and if you don't keep up with new trends regularly, you can very quickly find yourself using methods that no longer work.
In fact, staying on top of the latest trends and developments in the world of e-commerce can help you stay ahead of your competition and ensure that your business is taking the right actions.

How to spy on your competitors in 5 steps?

There is no better way to know your competitors than to spy on them. Spying on your competitors is a great way to discover their winning strategies and determine how you can use them to your advantage. There are several ways to do this.

Identify the presence of competitors

First of all, you need to identify where your competitors are. Depending on the sector, each e-commerce player locates itself where its audience is. Some online sellers have built their audience primarily on Facebook, others on Instagram, TikTok or other social networks. At the same time, other sellers are much more on search engines, either through paid advertising or natural optimization.
So you need to identify where your competitors are before you start spying on them. To do this, simply ask yourself where your potential buyers might be.

Let's take the case where you sell digital services for business. You probably know that LinkedIn is by far the best place where you can find your prospects and sell your services more easily, because it is a professional social network where most entrepreneurs are present.
Indeed, your competitors will certainly be there too.

Another technique to identify your competitors is to search for your product on search engines or social networks. For example, if you want to sell dog products, just search for the products name on Google or other social networks.
You will see a list of all the online sellers that offer that product.

Spy on the website 

To spy on your competitors or in general an online vendor, the first place you will visit is their website. Use one of the techniques seen earlier to identify your competitors' website and then take a tour of those websites.
What you are looking for here is first of all the quality of the website. Try to understand how the website is made and why customers come to buy from the site. Visit as many pages as possible and try to understand the structure and logic your competitor uses in their sales copy .

Put special emphasis on the sales page and the product description. You will end up identifying the criteria that make this competitor different from the others. Then, you will just have to copy them on your site. I am not asking you to plagiarize your competitors' sites, but to be inspired by what is being done well and to add your personal touch so that it resembles your brand or your product. 

Next, you need to look at the reviews that customers have left on your competitor's site . Thanks to these reviews, you will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors' products. This information is very important, especially if you are selling exactly the same product. Focus on the weak points of your competitor's products and try to improve them on your product.

For competitors who optimize their site for search engines, it can also be interesting to see the keywords they rank for. To do this, I recommend using tools like SemRush and Ahrefs, which are SEO tools. These are tools for spying on your competitors, enabling you to spy on their SEO and search engine positioning. You'll also get highly relevant information on their various sources of traffic. 

You just need to insert the link of your competitor's website and the tool provides you with all the necessary information you need to know about website optimization. You will be able to identify the best keywords of the site, the back links and use all this information to optimize your website. 

You can also use the SimilarWeb tool to spy on your competitors' websites. The best way to use this tool is to install its chrome extension.

Once you have the extension installed on your browser, all you have to do is visit your competitor's store and the tool provides you with relevant information such as: 

  • Monthly traffic; 
  • Number of pages per visit;
  • Average length of visit;
  • Visitor's country;
  • The main sources of traffic.

You need to repeat this analysis on several of your competitors to have enough data to work with. 

Spying on social networks 

Depending on your field, your competitors may also be present on social networks. From their Website, you can find the social networks on which they are present. It is usually on the footer.
The idea here is to visit their page and analyze the type of content they offer to their audience. Try to identify the strengths and weaknesses and especially the content strategies they use to keep their audience engaged .

You can also take a look at the comments of the publications to identify if there are any complaints from their customers about their products. If, for example, you notice that there are several comments that point out long delivery times, there is an opportunity and you can use this weakness as a marketing argument.
You need to make sure you have a better delivery service. This is the only way you can increase your brand awareness and build your own customer base.

Spy on your competitors' ads

Advertising is one of the best ways of acquiring e-commerce traffic. Most e-commerce companies use it to drive traffic to their website.
In fact, if you want to spy on your e-commerce competitors, it's important that you also take a look at their ads on social networks. To do this, you can go directly to their social networking pages to see what they're offering in terms of advertising.
For example, you can spy on competitors' Facebook ads or even spy on competitors' Google ads.

In the rest of this article, I will give you a tool that will allow you to spy on competitors' Facebook ads as well as TikTok ads and have relevant data on each ad.
While spying on your competitors' ads, take note of how the creative is done. You can use this as inspiration for your own creative.

Don't forget to also spy on the ads that are made on search engines . For this, you need an ad spy tool. Minea is the tool par excellence in terms of spying on ads. We will see how to use this tool in the following chapters.

Buy competitors' products 

The best way to get more information about your competitors' products is to buy the products yourself. When you buy your competitor's product yourself, you will be able to use it and identify more easily everything that can be improved on the product.
All you have to do is to implement these improvements on the products you offer. Also, you will be able to follow the whole purchasing process and see if there are any weaknesses (form too long, website not fast enough, inactive customer service...). 

For example, if you buy an electronic product and you notice that the battery does not have a good autonomy, you can use this as a marketing argument on your website and make your product according to it. 

Now that you know how to spy on your competitors, let's see the best tool you can use to spy on your competitors effectively. 

Minea, the best tool for spying on competitors 

We have just seen the importance of spying on competitors in e-commerce as well as the different methods and techniques you can use to spy on your competitors.
But to be effective in spying, especially in spying on advertisements, you must necessarily use a tool. That's where Minea comes in.

Minea is basically an all-in-one product search tool that you can use to find your winning products. But the creators of the tool wanted to do better by adding a spy tool for online stores. This makes Minea a complete spy tool. You can spy on your competitors' advertisements and ads as well as their online stores. 

Spy on advertisements with Minea

Minea spies on most of the major social networks. In fact, no matter which social network your competitors are on, you can find their ads in Minea's database. 

Log in to Minea and then to the interface of the social network for which you want to spy on ads. For example, if your competitors have a presence on Facebook and you want to see their ads, just click on the "Facebook ads" tab located on the left side of Minea's interface to access the library where all the ads that Minea collects on Facebook are stored. There is no doubt that you will find those of your competitors. 

To make the search even easier, Minea has several filters that allow you to optimize the search according to your needs. Thus, you can search for ads by : 

  • Keyword; 
  • Country; 
  • Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares...);
  • Page Name;
  • Domain name;
  • Language ;
  • E-commerce platform;
  • Date of view;
  • Creation date;

All these parameters will help you identify the best ads of your competitors. What's good about Minea is that the tool doesn't just show you the best ads of your competitors.  

In fact, for every ad found on Minea, you can find information such as the ad's social engagement, country, target audience, time period and much more information that you can use to see how your competitors' ads are performing. 

The principle is the same for all other social networks. If you have competitors on TikTok, Instagram or even Pinterest, you can spy on their ads with Minea.
In addition to spying on ads on social networks, you can also spy on your competitors' stores with Minea's Shop Spy tool.

Spy on competitors' stores

There is a reason why Minea is called the all-in-one product research tool. With its store spy tool, you can even spy on your competitors' stores.

Remember that earlier in this article we said that spying on competitors starts with spying on their stores. Indeed, once you have identified the competitor's store, all you have to do is copy its link into Minea's spy tool to get all the information relevant to the store's performance.
In a word, Minea is the tool you need to spy on your competitors. You can test Minea for free here.

Spy on your competitors: What to remember

In conclusion, e-commerce spying is a great way to discover your competitors' winning strategies and use them to your advantage. With the right tools and strategies, you can spy on your competitors easily and get an in-depth look at the best marketing strategies on the market and stay ahead of them. 

As a tool to spy on your competitors, you can use Minea which is an all-in-one tool. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it ethical to spy on your competitors?

With the methods discussed in this article, you can spy on your competitors easily and safely. 

However, here's what NOT to do when spying on your competitors. Do not call them posing as a customer, or a customer's representative, to get information about their pricing and access to documents that they would not share with a competitor. It is dishonest, fraudulent and, in many cases, against the law.

How to spy on competitors in e-commerce?

  • Identify the presence of competitors
  • Spy on the website
  • Spying on social networks
  • Spy on ads
  • Buy competitors' products

What tools are used to spy on competitors?

If you are wondering about tools to spy on your competitors, I can only recommend Minea. It is by far the best tool you can use to spy on your competitors' ads and store. As far as SEO spying is concerned, I recommend the SemRush tool. 

How to spy on competitors for free in e-commerce?

If you are wondering how to spy on e-commerce competitors for free, Minea is what you need. With Minea, you can spy on your competitors for free and see relevant information about their business. 

How to spy on competitors' Google ads?

To spy on your competitors' Google ads, you can start by searching for keywords related to your product on Google. You will get several ads from your competitors.

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