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How to do eBay and Amazon competitor research

This is a guest post from Dani Avitz of Algopix. Algopix provides comprehensive product sourcing insights for the eCommerce community. Using advanced algorithms, Algopix helps online sellers source and sell with confidence by answering some of the biggest questions facing today’s eCommerce sellers like what product to sell, where to sell it and how to price.

Everybody loves a good tip to success, right? Especially when you’re a seller on Amazon and looking to gain an edge on your pesky competitors. And the best way to do it is to do proper eBay & Amazon competitor research. However, research doesn’t mean sitting all day inside a lab or in front of a computer!

We’ve done some digging to save you some valuable time, because, as we all know – time is money…in a way, it’s like a baking competition: each competitor will want to hide what he’s doing from the other, but will anyway take a look at what the other’s doing to make sure he’s doing better – or at least staying with him.

Here are some tips that can help you move ahead of your Amazon and eBay selling competition.

Tracking Competition on Amazon

To paraphrase The Godfather: Keep your friends close – and your competitors closer.

When it comes to Amazon, there’s an unwritten rule which states that if the first five sellers in a category have more than 300 reviews each, it will be very, very difficult for you to crack into this category. Another unwritten rule says that if Amazon itself sells the product, that’s not a mountain to climb – that’s an Everest to climb, as far as sellers are concerned.

The Q factors: quality & quantity

Take a good look at your competitor’s product reviews:

How many reviewers does he have? How many of those are positive and how many negatives? Do these reviews detail what was good or what was poor in the product/service? And for those negative reviews, how many did he respond do and correct any issues?

Ask yourself: where is the advantage of your product over the competitor? In order to answer that question, you need to dive into the details…

Have a look at their Amazon store: in the old days, sellers would walk into a competitor’s store wearing a long coat and dark sunglasses, to be unrecognizable.  All you have to do is click and see what they are offering, as far as price, promotions (“today’s deals” is another way to check on them), customer service, shipping options, etc.

Look at the product’s Q&A: is the seller active there? Is his info clear, helpful or confusing?

Successful sellers also usually have a high seller rank (although this metric does not necessarily affect the bottom line).

“Just how many products are they selling each month?”

This would be nice to know, right? Knowing how much inventory your competitor moved can enable you to understand how many products he sold.  Not an easy thing to do, but very doable, thanks to available analysis tools. If you really want to, you can also find out your competitor’s ad campaign details, such as average CPC, search volume and more.

Keywords are the key Take a close look at the product descriptions. What phrases stick out, or repeated? Those are probably their primary keywords.  There are tools that can help you do Amazon keyword research, so you don’t have to do all the work manually.

Tracking the competition on eBay

Keeping up with the competition on eBay can be a bit of a challenge: you need to follow-up what products were listed, how many were sold, what products in bids closed at what price, etc.  

To gauge your competition on eBay, do the following:

  1. Enter the category you’re selling in (for example, ‘mens shoes’)
  2. Pick the sub-category (such as ‘men’s athletic shoes’)
  3. Now begin to filter down specifics:
  • Condition
  • Item location
  • Delivery options
  • Show only (for instance, ‘free returns’)

(If you sell only specific brands, you can filter those as well.)

Stage 2 will be to keep an eye out for sellers who have the following:

  • A large amount of feedback – over several hundred
  • A high number of recent sales
  • 99% feedback ratings
  • Have been selling on eBay for at least a year or longer

Find a minimum of 5 sellers who meet the above criteria and:

  • Research their prices
  • Look at their other products
  • Go over their reviews

As with Amazon, one of the most effective tools to learn about your competition is through their reviews, feedback and customer care.  For example, if customers are asking for a certain type of product, which the seller does not have (yet), you can try and source it yourself and promote it in your store. Another way to take advantage is by offering either a refund or promote more durable shoes, if customers are unhappy with the ones they bought, since they tore up in a short time.

Social media front

Keeping track of your competition is not limited to the selling channel itself: following your competitor on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc., even signing up to email or newsletters (if they offer) could gain you invaluable insight into how they message customers and can help you upgrade your own social media activities.

Once you gather all the relevant information, upload it into an Excel file where you can compare it with your info.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways to do competitor research on Amazon and eBay, and the results are not achieved instantly, but they are vital to success. Some software, such as Algopix, can simplify the process while providing additional, vital data that allows eCommerce sellers to focus on marketplaces more relevant to them and their products.

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