Maintaining a competitive edge on Amazon is no mean feat. Especially if you don’t keep tabs on your competitors. Learn how to stay one step ahead with this quick checklist for an effective Amazon competitive analysis.
To succeed on a market like Amazon, you need to monitor and anticipate your competitors. If you don’t carry out a routine competitive analysis yet, then you’re losing out. Everybody else is already keeping tabs on you. Why not return the favor?
Competition on Amazon is Growing
Feedvisor’s latest report claims competition on Amazon grew by 8% in the lead up to 2018. With more sellers fighting for a smaller slice of the pie, it’s only natural that sales would drop slightly. But the report points to widespread negative effects because:
- Amazon is the main source of income for nearly half of the 1,200 sellers surveyed;
- most of these merchants have less than five employees;
- very few of them rely on consultants.
To make matters worse, most sellers say they buy hot items with little competition. However, about half as many also look for items that competitors are already selling well. So, the goal is not only to break into new markets but to also completely exhaust old markets. It looks like nobody wants to confront the competition. And this is exactly what enables it to zero in on hot items. From then on, price wars can escalate quickly. But there’s no reason to throw in the towel when competitors crop up and sales drop. Stand your ground, do a bit of research, and analyze your competition. Here’s how:
Competitive Research on Amazon
1. Competitor Count
First, find out what you’re up against. There are several ways to assess your competition, and we can name at least three. Check Profit Bandit before you buy anything. Use the Competition tab in Sellery to research items in your inventory. Or import any ASIN into SellerEngine Plus to check current offers for it. If you’d rather look it up online, there are sites the likes of Amazon ASIN that can help. They even share some information for free. Below is an example of the seller count for ASIN B07PGLBNRD.
Note: Your connection to this and similar sites may not be secure.
2. Storefront Checks
Your competitor has a profile on Amazon and a storefront. On the Offers page, check the seller’s shipping terms and conditions note, and then click on the seller’s name. This takes you to their profile. Here you can access the storefront to see the brands they stock and the number of products they sell.
While we’re on the topic, check to see if they have any Stores. They come with personalized Amazon URLs and easy access to sales and traffic data. The Store shows their brands, the social media platforms they use, and (seasonal) best-sellers.
3. Competitor Profiling
Aside from social media, there are other public sources of information. There’s bound to be a website or a company profile somewhere. Try some of these avenues to get a feel for the company:
- Website domain (WHOis.net in the USA)
- Business records (e.g. Companies House for UK-based entities)
- Director’s story (LinkedIn posts)
- Job posting history (existing or cached Indeed ads)
Any information you find here can be useful. Draw up a list of their weaknesses and strengths. You may not be able to capitalize on them. But at least they’ll help you understand the landscape you’re operating in.
Competitive Analysis on Amazon
When it comes to Amazon competitive analysis starts with listings. Check the Product page and sift through photos, videos, title, and descriptions. Don’t forget branding. Tone, design, packaging, and labeling are all important aspects of this.
You can compare listings yourself to find some of the keywords your competitor uses. Or you could enter an ASIN into a keyword research tool like Sonar to get a free taster. It offers insights into PPC campaigns and backend keywords. Best of all, you can download these lists.
The same applies to Amazon ASIN. A query produces slightly different results, but with nicer visuals. Again, we must stress the fact that neither of these tools offers a secure connection.
Product reviews reveal lots of new information. But you only really need to focus on the positives and negatives of the product. Note any features reviewers are very happy with. Also, find out what they don’t like about the product, and how yours can address the issue.
4. Pricing Strategy
You don’t need to keep a record of sellers’ prices to understand their pricing strategy. Use ProfitBandit to scan any product. Then track price fluctuations on Amazon with the built-in CamelCamelCamel widget. Tip: it also gives you instant alerts on restricted items or brands. Once you’ve identified an interesting product, you can use Sellery to monitor your stock levels. Look for patterns and identify hot selling items and slow movers. Look at how fast your competition can reprice, sell out, and replenish stock. Based on this, you can work on your own pricing strategy.
Tip: The Competition Filter lets you exclude sellers that don’t pose a real threat.
This is where things get interesting. You’ll find several Amazon sales estimator tools online. One example is JungleScout estimator. Tools like this show monthly sales per product, based on sales rank. But it’s not an exact science. So, take the results with a pinch of salt.
Monitoring your competitors? Well done. But you can’t understand their business model if you don’t place a few orders. Ask some questions first, to see how long it takes them to respond. When you order, try various shipping options to see the couriers and the service they use. Look for clues about the dispatch location, and maybe even the cost. Some prepaid labels display the price.
You need to keep an eye on your competitor’s ad campaigns. Look at when they’re launched, their frequency, and their scale. This is easily done with reverse ASIN lookup tools like Sonar, Keyword Scout, and Cerebro by Helium10. They also show the types of keywords they use (short or long-tail). Then there’s also search volume, competition, cost-per-click, ACoS, and other valuable information.
That’s about it, folks. The takeaway here is not to let a little competition on Amazon distract you from your goals. There’s no shortage of software tools for sellers who want to stay on top. And carrying a thorough Amazon competitive analysis is time well spent.
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by the service providers featured in this post.
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed