Keeping a watch on the competition

Competitor analysis used to be easy. There were maybe five or six major competitors and you knew who they were.

But now there are literally thousands of sellers joining the Amazon marketplace every day. (That’s right; not every month, or even every week – every single day.) It’s much less easy to keep an eye on them.

The easiest way to find your competitors is, of course, just to search for your product keywords and see who else is selling the same products. Start broad, and narrow down the results little by little to find the guys who are really in your niche. 

So for instance, if you sell non-slip, eco-friendly, waterproof yoga mats to use outdoors, you’ll see hundreds of yoga mats, but as you narrow it down you’ll see who are your main competitors in the eco-friendly sector, in outdoors yoga mats, and so on.

Take particular note of the top dozen or so products. These are the guys you need to monitor. The products showing up on the second page are not going to be selling as much.

First off, take a look at their listings. How do they compare with yours? Do they have as many photos? Are they as attractive as yours? Is specific information missing (eg the dimensions of the yoga mat)? Are there features that you don’t have on your page, that might be useful to have?

A picture of your yoga mat is not necessarily what you want to lead with – it’s a rectangular blue thing, that rolls up. If you see your competitors are leading with pictures of people doing yoga outdoors against a beautiful sea or mountain backdrop, you know you need to raise your game.

Look at the titles and the keywords your competitors are using. Is relevant information missing? For instance, customers who are buying an ice cream maker want to know the capacity. A 5 oz capacity ice cream maker really isn’t enough for a family with children – 4 quarts might be more appropriate! So that’s information that needs to be in a headline.

Then read through the bullet points and descriptions. Do they highlight features and benefits well? Compare the list with yours and think about whether you are stressing the right benefits in the right order. Also, check the tone – is it different from yours? Why do you think that is? Are they selling to a different customer – younger, more or less business-oriented, women rather than men?

And read through the reviews. You can spot the strengths and weaknesses very easily by just checking the five star and one star reviews. Is it poor product design, lack of durability, or poor customer service that buyers don’t like? Now you know exactly where your competitors’ weaknesses are – and you can target that in your copy-writing by using words like ‘well designed’, ‘easy to use’, ‘long-lasting’, ‘our no-quibbles money-back guarantee’.

Now for the quantifiable stuff. First, pricing. Customers who see two products that look alike, sound alike, but have different prices, will usually go for the cheaper option. Look across the pricing range and see where you sit in comparison with competitors. You may need to shave your price just a couple of dollars to improve your sales dramatically; alternatively, there may be room to put your price up without losing sales.

And secondly, sales. You already know these products are doing well because they’re up there at the top of the first page, but you can also check their sales in CashCowPro. Are they on the way up, or the way down? Are they doing better or worse than you?

Next time, we’re going to stay focused on the competition but we’re going to talk about looking at their marketing. Meanwhile, have a great week!

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