The explosive growth of eCommerce in recent years has been nothing short of spectacular. In 2017, the industry as a whole accounted for 10.4% of worldwide retail sales, totalling a little over $2.3 trillion. Fast forward to 2021, and that percentage has risen to 18.1 percent, almost exceeding the $5 trillion milestone.
Extrapolating this data forward to 2023, the global eCommerce industry is expected to facilitate a whopping 22% of global retail sales, which makes now a good a time as ever to own an eCommerce company.
Due to the overwhelming pressure from more agile digital competitors, many brick and mortar establishments have been forced to adapt their business operations to the new retail landscape or face the stark reality of bankruptcy. This is due to the fact that online stores often provide a better, cheaper, and faster service than most physical stores, which is why the number of digital buyers across the globe sits at a staggering 2.14 billion (27.6% of the global population).
Competition in the eCommerce sector
Competition amongst eCommerce companies has never been as fierce as today, especially as online sales continue to reach new highs. Many sub-categories within the eCommerce industry have become saturated due to a large number of new entrants coming into the market, driving prices lower and increasing advertising costs.
For example, between Q1 and Q2 of 2021, the CPM of Facebook advertising grew by 89%, while Google and YouTube increased by 108 percent. If you run an online business, this will undoubtedly affect your bottom line and make it more challenging to earn a profit. With this in mind, digital store owners must do everything possible to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals if they want to stand a chance at maintaining or expanding their current market share.
Thus, gathering data and conducting competitor analysis should always remain an integral part of an eCommerce store’s operations. Here are three things to watch out for in your eCommerce competitors’ web traffic patterns that will help you gain an upper hand over your rivals.
1. Traffic sources
When you check the website traffic of your competitors, one of the first things you should analyze is the sources from which they acquire their visitors. After all, this reveals important information about their marketing strategy and the techniques they utilize to attract visitors to their websites.
If social media accounts for the bulk of their traffic generation, you can reasonably conclude that their marketing approach centers upon social media advertising on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Suppose you know this site performs well and directly targets the same customer demographic as you. In that case, it opens up a new possible channel for expanding your web presence, since you now have a better idea of what resonates with your target market.
On the other hand, this also shows you potential areas that your competitors neglect, allowing you to pick the low-hanging fruit and acquire new customers via a less competitive traffic source. For example, if you see your competitors aren’t getting much traffic from search, this could present an ideal time to double down on your content marketing efforts – assuming that you have already seen good results up to this point, and that your blogging strategy is informed by solid keyword research.
2. Organic vs. paid search traffic
The traffic acquired from search comes in two very different yet comparably valuable sources: organic and paid. The methods for obtaining traffic from these two sources are known as search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) respectively, and each pipeline comes with its own set of pros and cons.
Once again, observing which source competitor sites acquire their search traffic is vital to understanding their marketing approach and prioritizing their online presence. If your competitors are targeting organic search, you can look at the keywords they are targeting and assess the quality of their content marketing strategy.
Finding out which keywords your competitors are after, what they’re doing to rank for them, and figuring out a way you can beat them is an excellent way to boost your traffic and improve your sales figures.
Conversely, if you observe that your competitors are continually targeting the same keywords week after week, month after month, that usually means they are seeing a return on investment and are converting customers at a sustainable rate. In these instances, you could look at the landing pages for their PPC campaigns and see if you could do better. If you can, target the same keywords with an optimized landing page and watch the conversions roll in.
3. Social traffic
Examine which social media platforms are working for your competitors and which aren’t. If your objective is to increase traffic and boost conversions, analyzing your rival’s social traffic will give you a decent sense of what resonates with your target market and what sort of content is optimal.
Once you’ve figured out where most of their social traffic originates, check out their pages and see how they engage with their followers.
What kind of material do they publish? Some might favor posts with links to articles, while others depend solely on media content such as short video clips, infographics, and product images. Take the time to research what’s currently working in your sector so you can incorporate it into your marketing plan.
Just don’t forget to keep it original and true to your brand values.
Analyzing competitor web traffic patterns is essential if you want to gain an advantage over your rivals and unearth new strategies that will help you increase your store’s traffic. Rather than going through the trial-and-error process of coming up with new ideas on your own, you can study your competitors and obtain insights into their tactics, allowing you to understand what is working and what isn’t without wasting any resources on your own.
Of course, this does not mean you should copy your competitor’s strategy entirely; instead, it should be used to acquire a competitive advantage over them through a deeper understanding of their online strategies and recent performance.