How to spy on your competitors? – Find out which methods and tools will help you outsmart the competition
- 06 December 2022
Competitive spying often arouses controversy. Many retailers wonder whether such practices are legal and ethical, and what is a balance between benefits and losses when spying on competitors.
Hopefully, nowadays there are more and more sources you can use to gain data about your competitors’ strategies without violating any rules. In this article, we’ll show you how to safely spy on competitors and which tool to use to do it effectively and trouble-free. Read? Let’s start!
Spying on competitors – legal or illegal?
The word “spying” doesn’t bring many positive connotations. Therefore, you may be wondering whether spying on your competitors is actually legal and ethical. The answer is: yes, but… Let us show you what’s the difference between legal and illegal ways of gathering information.
First of all, hacking, extracting confidential data, and copying are strictly forbidden. Such an approach may cause you more harm than gain, from losing brand credibility to being a part of draining lawsuits.
Nevertheless, there are methods to spy legally and ethically. To do so, use publicly available sources only. We will present you with more examples later in this article.
First and foremost – who should you spy on? Identify your competitors
Before we start our journey with the most effective ways to spy on your competitors, you need to ask yourself a question – who actually should you spy on? In other others – find your business opponents. Of course, it may be an easy question if you operate in a niche industry. In that case, it’s very likely you’ve got just a few competitors or even that you are one of a kind.
However, that’s not the case for the vast majority of retailers, especially in the e-commerce industry, as there are up to 24 million e-shops across the globe.
Finding out who your real competitors are is essential. You don’t want to spy on irrelevant sellers with entirely different business models or offers, do you? Therefore, choose wisely and use competitor spying tools. Those apps will scan the biggest platforms such as Amazon or Google Shopping for you to find shops and retailers with a similar offers to yours. You may be surprised how many competitors you’ve got out there!
We’ll talk about valuable tools later in this article, but if you are interested in a tool that will help you identify your competitors, check the video below, and find out more about Dealavo’s functionalities.
Start with spying on competitors’ prices
Spying on your competitors’ websites is extremely important, but the very first step you need to make is to check their prices. Why? Let’s take a look at a few benefits:
- You’ll find out what pricing strategy your competitors use
- You’ll be up-to-date with promotions and special offers your competitors deliver,
- You’ll be ready to adjust your prices to current market conditions and your competitors’ moves.
All of those actions give you one main advantage – you will always stay competitive regardless of circumstances. Of course, don’t try to spy on competitors’ prices manually. It’s would be a mission impossible. Use automation! Automated tools and processes guarantee high-data accuracy and minimalize the risk of human error. Moreover, they save your business time and money. Therefore, when talking about spying on your competitor’s prices, employing a tool seems to be a reasonable and inevitable move.
Newsletters are a form of a sale offer. Therefore, by subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters you will get access to their latest offers, and special promotions or keep up with ongoing service changes. What’s more, newsletters are a great tool for establishing relationships with clients. Thus, you will gain an insight into their communication approach.
Follow your competitors’ Social Media
Following your competitors’ Social Media is another way to find out what your opponents are up to business-wise. Moreover, you can also check various distribution channels they use, how they advertise themselves and what kind of response they get. That’s probably the most important part. By spying on your competitors’ Social Media you’ll get to know how people react to their new business endeavors.
Also, that will give you an overview of their popularity. Checking the number of followers gives you a chance to anticipate their website traffic as well as to estimate how big adversaries they actually are. Moreover, you can also get to know their target audience better.
Read their blog
Did you know that running a blog can drive a lot of organic traffic to your website? That’s exactly why you should spy on your competitors’ blogs – to find out what their professional content looks like. While Social Media is a great sales channel as well, blogs allow you to publish long, engaging, and comprehensive content. Check what your opponents get attention for and study their highest-ranking content.
SEO monitoring – check their SERP positioning & keywords
After finding out what your competitors write about, don’t forget to analyze how they do it. Pay closer attention to the keywords they use in their headlines and on their website in general. Most businesses use AdWords to acquire new customers. Of course, you should also use one, but this tool allows you to check which keywords your opponents use for positioning. Spying on competitors’ keywords allows you to find niche counterparts and estimate the advertising costs needed to overtake their offers.
Find competitors’ display ads
Search engines are not the only place your competitors place their adverts. In many cases, they’ll use display ads, as it’s a very popular and powerful method to attract new customers. Therefore, knowing what kind of display ads your competition is using will allow you to form an opinion about their strategies, spot shortcomings, and employ your own advertising strategy, hopefully, better than your adversaries.
Last, but not least – you can analyze which product they choose to promote and advertise. That’s also priceless.
Check out technologies your competitors use
Nowadays the huge majority of retailers rely on technology. Marketing and management apps or tools give you a chance to react faster, track your target audience better and manage your pricing almost effortlessly. That’s why if you spot that some of your competitors are greatly ahead of you – don’t worry. They likely use algorithms to gain and maintain their market advantage. Therefore, what you definitely should do is spy on technologies your competitors use, and – if you find the interesting – implement those solutions yourself.
5 competitor spying tools you need to use in 2023
So far we discussed the most effective, reliable, and safe ways how to spy on your competitors. Yet, manual spying is neither effective nor feasible. Hence, below you’ll find a list of spying tools you can use to monitor your competitors trouble-free.
Dealavo is a price monitoring software that is indispensable when it comes to spying on competitors’ prices. Thanks to the double verification process the app enables providing data of the highest quality: 75% of mappings are done by our state-of-art Machine Learning algorithms, followed by manual verification and completion by the Quality Assurance Team.
With our price monitoring tool you will be able to:
- identify and monitor your biggest competitors, both online & offline,
- use the Dynamic Pricing feature to adjust your price to market conditions according to the rules you set,
- monitor prices and promotions on every website or marketplace worldwide, including Amazon, Google Shopping or Idealo
- and much more.
Contact us and request a free 7-day demo.
Being one of the most popular e-commerce software, SEMrush probably doesn’t need to be introduced. Whatever you need: SEO, content marketing, competitor research – SEMrush has it all. In total, the software offers more than 55 marketing tools that will help your business grow. The huge advantage of SEMrush is Advertising solutions. In terms of Market Research, users may find 10+ dedicated tools focusing on competitors & market analysis.
The pricing starts from $119/month, so some may consider it a con. However, with such a wide range of products SEMRush is worth considering.
iSpionage is a cloud-based tool that enables its users to gather information about their competitors’ performance, ads campaigns as well as keyword rankings. The app offers two main kinds of services: monitoring and research.
Whereas monitoring refers to SEO & SEM spying, the research covers a broader analysis including PPC keywords, and ad copy Effectiveness Index score, keyword grouping as well as competitors’ users’ journey reports.
Within the free version retailers will obtain:
- 10 Free competitive reports per day
- 3 Complimentary competitor alerts
- Free online marketing tips
iSpionage spying tool will come in handy for those looking for generating more leads, increasing conversion rates, and improving general marketing performance.
Similarweb is a comprehensive Market Intelligence software providing a broad range of e-commerce services. The tool features cover main Business Intelligence benchmarks such as Research Intelligence, Sales Intelligence, Investor Intelligence, and – last but not least – Shopper Intelligence. All of these functionalities will satisfy even the most demanding retailers. Similarweb leads merchants through key business areas delivering competitor analysis, customer behavior reports, audience analysis, and lead generation.
Due to four different types of data e-commerce business owners may be sure of highly accurate estimations and gives a holistic view of your digital landscape.
Similarweb offers a 7-days free trial.
Brand24 can be also called an online reputation management and media tracking tool. However, it’s useful when it comes to online spying as well. Mostly, it allows you to track your competitors’ Social Media channels and monitor mentions about their brands. The tool provides three main features:
- Mention Analytics – to understand who is talking about you and your competitors online.
- Influence Score – to find the most relevant influencers in your industry to work with.
- Sentiment Analysis – helps you to recognize the client’s attitude towards your brand and spot shortcomings of your competitors.
Individual pricing starts from $39/month. Nevertheless, a free 14-day trial is also available.
Though competition spying doesn’t evoke positive connotations it’s a completely normal and ethical business approach. Gathering and analyzing widely available data helps you to spot your competitors’ drawbacks but also find room for improvement for your business.
By following competitors’ social media, and newsletters or getting familiar with the technologies they use you have a great opportunity to learn and become better at meeting your customers’ needs. That’s why don’t be afraid or intimidated to spy.
Nevertheless, be smart to outsmart and use competitors’ spying tools. Today you’ll find dozens of business spying solutions. Explore and improve. Hopefully, with Dealavo.