As a dropshipper, you always want to know who your competition is. The best dropshipping websites are the ones that can differentiate themselves from the competition by offering a unique selling point (USP). Competitor research is something you want to do before launching – or scaling – your dropshipping website.
At Doba, we have almost two decades of experience providing dropshippers with high-quality products and suppliers. We work with drop shippers across the industry who operate in marketplaces and e-commerce platforms. We’re sharing our how-to guide for competitor research, sharing with you the tips that every dropshipper should know.
Why is competitor research important?
When you identify your competition, you can research everything about them, from their pricing strategy to their online reviews. Competitor research offers you a window into the industry to see what others are doing well and where they can improve. If you want to create a successful dropshipping website, competitor research is something you want to be doing from day one.
Competitor research feeds directly into your branding and marketing strategy, allowing you to create a space for yourself within the niche. Conducting competitor research can also help you identify potential gaps in the market and areas for improvement.
How to conduct competitor research
Competitor research is more than searching your keywords and scrolling through a few pages of Google. This guide gives you six steps for how to do competitor research at any stage of your business’ growth, whether you’re starting before launching your business or when you’re hoping to scale it to the next level.
It’s worth remembering that there are two types of competitor research: direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are ones who are targeting the same demographic as you with a similar product. Indirect competitors selling a similar product to you, but with a different target demographic – or have a different product and target the same demographic as you. You want to make sure you’re covering both with your competitor research.
1. Identify your main competitors
The first step is to identify both your main direct and indirect competitors. Search for the products that you plan to sell, keeping track of the businesses that target the same demographic as you. These competitors will be the businesses that your target customers are already using to access the products you’re planning on selling.
The more in-depth you go with identifying your competitors, the more thorough your research will be. Don’t be afraid to cast the net wide and look for different direct and indirect competitors. You can learn something from every business, whether it’s the way they market their product or how they interact with their customers.
2. Evaluate their online presence
For each of your competitors, look at their online presence. This step includes looking at all of their spaces online, including their website and social media profiles. Don’t forget to check for any blogs that they run or write guest posts for.
You can evaluate their online presence by breaking down the components of each of these platforms. What is the user experience like on their website? Can you easily navigate their website? How do they translate their product to their customer?
Your evaluation should include looking at whether their website is mobile optimized and how often they post on their blog or social media profiles. It’s also worth looking at the quality of their content. Is it professional or does it look dated?
Make a note of all the social media platforms that your competition uses, including the type of content they use on each platform to engage their audience.
Evaluating the online presence of your competition allows you to identify what they’re doing well, along with potential areas for improvement. It gives you a baseline for the kind of content and website you’ll need to produce to take on your competition.
3. Act like a customer
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and interact with your competition as though you’re a potential customer. You can get a feel for the customer experience that your competition creates. Interact with their website the same way you would if you were going to make a purchase and engage with their social media profiles.
Sign up for their newsletter or email list for an insight into how they market their brand and explore their website to test its useability.
4. Keep track of your research
Your competitor research is something that you want to reference and return to while creating your marketing strategy. The best tip we can give you is to keep track of your research in real-time. You don’t need to create fancy spreadsheets or graphics. An excel document or Google sheet is an easy solution for you to keep track of the information you’re gathering.
Your spreadsheet can keep track of the USP of each competitor and their online presence, along with any notes you have about their marketing.
5. Check their online reviews
Hear directly from your competitor’s customer base by looking at their online review. Don’t rely solely on their website reviews and instead check websites like TrustPilot for a balanced picture. You can also search their social media handles to see what customers are saying about their products and service. Make a note of any negative feedback that you see to ensure you’re not making the same mistakes.
6. Find areas for improvement
You want to use your competitor research to set your business apart by succeeding where they’re failing. You should be able to find at least one way that your business can offer a better service for your customers than the competition.
At Doba, we’re a leader in the dropshipping industry, providing our customers with high-quality dropshipping suppliers and products to grow and expand their businesses. We offer integration with the top marketplaces and e-commerce platforms, allowing you to add products and sync orders directly with your supplier.
Our service makes it easy for you to put your competitor research into practice by giving you access to the products you need to set your dropshipping business apart from the competition.