Curtains are up. Both the younger and older generations can see that ecommerce is climbing the charts. Everyone wants to have a go at it, making ecommerce a highly competitive industry.
What’s more, it’s easy. Almost anyone can open an online store and begin selling products.
Even if you start with a solid competitive advantage, the world of ecommerce changes all the time. You need to keep an eye out for changes in the competitive landscape if you want to stay successful.
The good news?
You can use competitive intelligence software to automate your competitor research workflow and make things easier for yourself.
Competitive intelligence tools like Visualping’s API can alert you any time your competitor’s website changes so you can stay on top of marketing trends and focus on optimizing your marketing campaigns.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Creating a Competitive Edge in Ecommerce
- Competitive Intelligence Software 101
- Monitor Your Competitor’s Website With Visualping
- Monitor Competitor Social Media With Visualping
- Other Ways To Use Visualping’s Competitive Intelligence Software
- Final Thoughts: How To Use Visualping’s Competitive Intelligence Software
Creating a Competitive Edge in Ecommerce
Ecommerce is an incredibly competitive industry, whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers. Since barriers to entry are relatively low, it’s easy for new competition to arise.
Let’s look at how you can establish and maintain a competitive advantage for your ecommerce business.
Create a Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is an essential part of your marketing strategy. The USP statement describes how you deliver value to your customers and how your brand differs from your competitors.
In other words, you need to know what makes your brand unique.
For example, plenty of brands sell cars. But BMW sells “The Ultimate Driving Machine” while Subaru sells adventure and reliability.
Ecommerce is a saturated field, so you have to figure out what makes you different and communicate that in your digital marketing strategy.
Focus on Customer Experience
Unlike a traditional customer who meets you face-to-face and tries out the product you are offering, an ecommerce customer makes up their opinion based only on customer experience — how easy it is to search, select, and pay for your products.
According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report, 75% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that offer a good user experience, and 50% of customers will switch to another brand after just one bad experience.
If you want to stand out from the competition, customer experience is an excellent place to focus. It’s simple: Make your purchase process fast and easy. Customers will love it and keep coming back.
Leverage Social Media
As an ecommerce business owner, your website is your most valuable sales and marketing channel. However, that shouldn’t make you overlook the importance of social media.
A whopping 91% of people who follow a brand on social media visit the brand’s website, 89% of them will make a purchase, and 85% will recommend the brand to a friend or family member.
Building a social media following helps increase your website traffic and lets you engage with your customers outside the point-of-sale. If your competitors are active on social media, you can’t afford to ignore it.
Competitive Intelligence Research
Competitive intelligence research is the process of collecting and analyzing information about your business competitors. Companies use competitive intelligence to influence strategic decisions, especially for creating and maintaining a competitive advantage.
While you can collect competitive intelligence manually, it’s time-consuming and error-prone. We recommend using a competitive intelligence software or program instead.
An effective competitive intelligence program pulls information from various primary and secondary data sources. In other words, it tracks your competition across multiple channels such as websites, social media, and search engine results pages (SERPs).
You can’t set yourself apart from the competition if you don’t know their strengths and weaknesses as well as you know your own. Competitive intelligence software does that and helps you differentiate your brand.
Competitive Intelligence Software 101
Gathering and analyzing competitive intelligence research can be an uphill task. You have to track multiple channels for each competitor and analyze updates to see what they changed.
Competitive intelligence software uses technology to make your research easier. It can automatically monitor your competitors, help you analyze the data, and alert you of relevant changes.
Using the data collected by competitive intelligence software, ecommerce business owners and marketers can perform a competitive analysis and identify benchmark goals for their industry.
Visualping’s Competitive Intelligence Software
Visualping is a competitor intelligence software solution that lets you monitor your competitors’ websites, social media accounts, and search engine rankings. It’s a part of Google’s Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning accelerator for startups.
Visualping serves several purposes, including personal website monitoring, competitive intelligence gathering, regulatory compliance (tracking changes in relevant laws), and quality assurance.
Marketers using Visualping for competitive monitoring can automatically receive real-time change alerts from competitor websites.
Furthermore, Visualping is more than just a competitive insights research tool. It can also inform your website visitors when you make a relevant change — such as a price reduction, scholarship opening, proposal request, or regulatory update — that you want them to see.
Keep reading to learn how to use Visualping for competitive intelligence research that will help you keep your competitive advantage.
Monitor Your Competitor’s Website With Visualping
Tracking changes to your competitor’s website is an essential part of competitor analysis. With Visualping, you can use its technology to monitor competitor websites and receive alerts about relevant updates.
To begin monitoring a website with Visualping’s competitive intelligence software, perform the following simple steps:
- Enter the URL of the target website
- Select an area of interest, such as stock level or current price. You can also choose
All page by using the Advanced menu
- Enter the email address where you want to receive change alerts and set the frequency for Visualping’s checks
Using Visualping’s dashboard, you can also edit these settings afterward.
Below is what you can watch out for when monitoring a competitor’s website with Visualping.
Watch Stock Levels
Managing product supply can be tricky; an ecommerce business rarely stays fully stocked all the time. Look out for when and what goes out of stock on your competitor’s website — knowing that will help you decide your market strategy.
First, monitoring stock levels gives you an understanding of items that are in the highest demand. Second, out-of-stock notifications alert you to the opportunity to market similar items.
You can also use Visualping to notify customers of items that you restock by using the Visualping widget, which sends alerts to customers about changes to stock and prices.
Visualping uses two methods to monitor stock levels: Text-compare and web-compare. You can choose either of the two and customize the frequency by which Visualping checks the website.
Track Pricing Changes
Consumers often use price as one of their decision-making factors. While it’s not always the final decision-making criteria, it’s good to know how you compare to the rest of the market in terms of pricing.
When you set up website monitoring with Visualping, you can select just the pricing area of the page and receive alerts when your competitor’s prices change. Benchmarking your prices based on the competition helps you stay in a reasonable range for your target consumer.
Follow Job Openings and New Hirings
Marketers often overlook hiring activity when doing their market research, but it can be a helpful tool for long-term decision-making. Job openings and hiring decisions can signal greater market trends that your competitors are following.
For example, if you see a competitor hiring an SEO specialist or content marketing manager, you’ll know the type of marketing strategies they’re prioritizing.
Read Company Announcements
Like hiring activity, company announcements are good data sources to understand your competitive landscape. The quality of your market intelligence increases when you assess each competitor as a whole and keep the big picture in mind.
Learning about competitor announcements in real-time, such as changes in leadership or acquisitions, empowers your strategic decision-making.
Monitor Competitor Social Media With Visualping
In addition to tracking your competitors’ websites, you should also include social listening in your competitor research. Social listening is the process of monitoring activity across various social networks for any mention of your brand, products, and competitors.
Visualping’s competitive intelligence platform gives you an easy way to automate Facebook monitoring with Visualping’s real-time change detection system.
Here’s how you can set up Facebook monitoring with Visualping in six simple steps:
- Go to the Visualping homepage and paste the Facebook URL you want to track
- Select how often you want Visualping to check the page
- Enter an email address where you want to receive change alerts
- Use the Advanced section to choose a monitoring feature. We recommend selecting Visual-compare for Facebook tracking
- Select All page from the Screen’s drop-down in the Advanced section
- Wait for change alerts to arrive in your inbox!
The Visual-compare feature monitors web page pixels and includes page screenshots in your email change alerts.
When you receive a change alert from Visualping, the artificial intelligence software highlights new content in green and removed content in red.
More than 75% of businesses use Instagram. There’s a good chance that your competitors use it too. Since Instagram can generate up to four times more engagement than Facebook, it’s an excellent platform for online retailers like you.
While you can follow your competitors and keep an eye on them by yourself, it’s hard to keep track of changes when you’re manually watching pages.
Instead, you can use Visualping to automate your Instagram research for any public profile.
The steps for monitoring competitors on Instagram are similar to Facebook:
- Go to the Visualping homepage and paste the Instagram URL you want to track
- Select a frequency for checking the page
- Enter the email address where you want to receive updates
- Choose a monitoring feature. We recommend using Visual-compare for Instagram monitoring
- Select All page from Screen’s options
- Wait for change alert emails to arrive in your inbox
Visualping will send you alerts anytime there’s a change on your competitor’s account, such as a new post, profile picture, or description.
Other Ways to Use Visualping’s Competitive Intelligence Software
Tracking your competitors’ websites and social profiles is an excellent place to start your competitive research, however, you should also monitor other data sources to get the best information and actionable insights.
Here are a few other ways you can use Visualping’s competitive intelligence software to stay on top of your marketing game.
Keep an Eye on SERPs
If search engine optimization (SEO) is one of your marketing strategies, you should be monitoring changes on SERPs for essential keywords.
After you do your keyword research, you can set up Visualping monitoring for the associated SERP and be the first to know when there’s a significant change in rankings.
Watch Crowdfunding Campaigns
Many ecommerce brands begin as a new idea launched on a crowdfunding page. Tile, for example, raised over $200,000 in 24 hours on Kickstarter. Similarly, Fidget Cube raised $6.4 million on the same platform.
Monitoring crowdfunding campaigns with Visualping can alert you when a potential competitor reaches its fundraising goal, so you know about upcoming products before they come and surprise you.
Track Supplier Websites
The supply chain can be challenging, even for ecommerce businesses. If you want to avoid out-of-stock notifications for your supplies, monitor your suppliers’ websites for stock levels and plan accordingly.
Visualping can alert you to price changes on your suppliers’ websites so you can always take advantage of the opportunity to cut costs.
Additionally, you can also use it to track company news for your suppliers, so you’ll be the first to know if their business gets in trouble or plans for a big shift.
Final Thoughts: How To Use Visualping’s Competitive Intelligence Software
The world of ecommerce is an exciting one. The only constant in it is change, which challenges marketers to differentiate their brands to maintain their uniqueness. That’s why more than 1.5 million users use Visualping for their competitive intelligence automation. Visualping’s intelligence solution provides easy-to-use monitoring tools that you can customize to your business’ needs.