Consumers compare your products side-by-side with powerhouse brands before making the decision to buy. Frankly, so should you. Only when you understand what you are up against in your own aisle will you be able to elevate your listing above your Amazon competitors
A competitive analysis unearths what your competition is best at, where they have weaknesses, and what you can do to soar above the rest. This process of analyzing your own brand and comparing your results to your competitors will help you capitalize on your own unique value proposition and implement valuable changes to your listings.
Amazon is its own ecosystem, and it should be treated as such. You may have an idea already of who your top competitors are, but do Amazon shoppers agree?
Consumers have decades of browsing experience walking into brick-and-mortar stores and down the aisles, looking at the options, and making a decision based on the information presented to them. The Amazon shopping experience is shockingly similar.
Products presented near your listings are like products displayed side-by-side on a shelf. The shelf here is the search engine results page (SERP) for your target keyword phrases (KWP), and those products that appear when you type in your KWP are your direct competitors.
While you will compete on some level with all the products on your shelf, not all of them are going to be direct competition. Here are a few tips to focus your efforts and narrow down your most direct competition:
Perform a competitive analysis on your own brand first, looking at your business as if it were a competitor to see where you stand. Only then will you be able to identify with accuracy the opportunities you’re most poised to seize.
At the end of this post is a link to the ebook, How to Conduct an Amazon Competitor Analysis, for quantifying your competitiveness and that of the brands you sell against. We encourage you to read this guide, then put the worksheet into action. Using these steps will help you climb the SERP ladder.
There is a fine art to keyword research, as we explore in our blog on the topic. To conduct competitive research, you don’t need a list of 100 relevant keywords, just the top 2-4 terms. Any attempt to be everywhere at once will spread you too thin, making you a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Instead, focus your competitive efforts where they’re likely to do the most good.
Take note of the following as you examine the SERP for competitors matching each KWP:
There is a lot to explore on the product listing and lots to consider. As we’ve discussed in our blog post, How to Create Fully Optimized Listings, there are several components to a great listing. If you know what goes into a great listing, then you know what to look for to see which of your competitors is most vulnerable.
A full explanation of the buy box and all of its components is a whole blogs-worth of information, but when you’re reviewing a competitor’s listing, there are a few things to keep in mind that will give you a better idea of what you’re up against:
Suppressed Buy Boxes – Amazon is looking to show the most relevant products that will give the customer the best experience. In the buy box, that means the best price and the quickest shipping.
Competition Within the Listing – Several sellers means a potentially popular product with lots of vested interest in its success. Look for this section just below the buy box where it will say “New (#),” or “New and Used (#).” Clicking on this section will show you how many sellers are on the listing and their buy box information.
Stock Levels – Low stock levels indicate a potential to be out of stock and not appearing on the SERP, affecting the listing’s rank. High stock levels mean this listing will be present and competing for a while.
Fulfillment Type – Amazon’s algorithm favors products fulfilled via FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) over products fulfilled via FBM (fulfilled by merchant). FBA sellers usually have faster shipping and are eligible for Prime Discounts, giving them an advantage over FBM and making them tougher competition.
Amazon Retail – Competing against products where Amazon is listed as both the manufacturer and the seller is immensely difficult. Amazon gets first dibs on the market. If you are selling products that are in direct competition with Amazon, you will be competing with everyone else for whatever scraps remain.
Pricing – Just because your product isn’t the cheapest on the SERP doesn’t mean your product won’t sell. Consumers are looking at overall value more than just cost. The number and quality of reviews, differences in features, and even the values held by your brand convince buyers of the greater value of a more expensive product.
The reviews and ratings section is arguably your most powerful tool to understand your customers. In reviews, your target audience can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Use reviews to identify additional keywords and search terms your customers use to find similar products, and look for areas where your competition has fallen short. Pay special attention to incorrect listing information, shortcomings of the product that were not explicitly explained in the listing, and differences between the ordered vs. received products.
Brand Stores are growing in popularity thanks to Amazon’s increased focus on them.
The presence of a competitor’s Brand Store means they have Brand Registry and access to all the resources it affords. But just because they have it, doesn’t mean they’re using it to its full potential. Explore their Brand Store to get a better understanding of how much effort and expertise competitors are putting into their Amazon business. Analyze these factors when determining whether or not to compete against this brand:
If you have completed all the steps up to this point, you have a thorough understanding of your competition on the Amazon marketplace. But, to get a truly holistic view of a brand, you must understand everywhere they are selling, how well they are doing it, and why they’re there.
Things to keep track of when researching brands off Amazon:
Just like most aspects of selling on Amazon, analyzing your Amazon competitors is a moving target that evolves as all parties shift focuses, gain skills, and discover new best practices. An Amazon competitor analysis should therefore be an iterative process, executed every quarter.
The biggest lesson to learn from your competitive analysis is this: on Amazon, you are never selling in a bubble. Even if you are first to market, the chances of things staying that way for long are slim. Staying ahead of the curve and understanding the growth of your category and competitors gives you a roadmap for what needs to be done to become the top seller on Amazon.
Download our free eBook, How to Perform an Amazon Competitive Analysis, to access the competitive analysis worksheet.
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