The good news: eCommerce is growing. Fast.
The somewhat bad news: eCommerce is fiercely competitive.
If you want to survive and thrive with eCommerce, it’s one thing to get your business off to a great start, efficient management, and great marketing; it’s completely something else to stay on top of your industry and know what your competitors are doing.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through benchmarking, which helps with your eCommerce planning. It involves comparing your business to others in your industry to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Here are some ways that benchmarking can help with eCommerce planning:
Identify Key Performance Metrics
Benchmarking allows you to identify the key performance metrics that are most important in your industry. By comparing your business to others, you can determine which metrics are most closely tied to success and focus your efforts on improving those areas.
For example, if you're an eCommerce retailer, you might compare your conversion rates, average order value, and customer retention rates to those of your competitors.
Identify areas where you're falling behind and make changes to improve your performance.
Know where you stand
One look at what your competitors do can help you get your bearings right.
Start with what you can easily see: logos, branding, colors, tone, language, and a general feel for the business.
Look at the campaigns your competitors run, the frequency they run campaigns at, the marketing and technology tools they use for running campaigns or for managing their eCommerce business, and more.
Notice how your competitors setup channels for customer support, the email campaigns sent, and more.
Knowing is the first step to growing.
Set Realistic Goals
Once you've identified the key performance metrics in your industry, benchmarking can help you set realistic goals for your business. By comparing your business to others, you can determine what is achievable and set targets that are challenging but attainable.
For example, if you're a new eCommerce retailer, you might benchmark and calibrate your conversion rates against those of either beginner eCommerce businesses or maybe established competitors (if you are feeling ambitious).
This can help you set a realistic goal for your own conversion rates and work towards achieving it.
Get Inspired (Continuously)
Inspiration can never get dull. We are always learning, evolving, and adapting. Your eCommerce business gets a whole list of benefits (and you thrive) just by looking out and learning continuously.
The only issue, apart from motivation to learn, is the lack of time to keep a lookout on competitors for benchmarking.
Tools like Panoramata can help you keep tabs of your direct competitors, other major eCommerce brands, several hundreds of email campaigns, websites, eCommerce stores, and much more.
Panoramata also helps you create and manage inspiration lists so that you can automatically track competitors to learn from them.
Benchmarking also allows you to stay competitive in your industry. By keeping a close eye on your competitors and identifying areas where they're outperforming you, you can make changes to stay ahead of the curve.
For example, if you notice that a competitor is offering free shipping on all orders, you might consider implementing a similar policy to stay competitive. By staying on top of industry trends and best practices, you can ensure that your business remains relevant and successful.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Benchmarking helps improve customer satisfaction by identifying areas where your business is falling short.
By comparing your customer service, marketing campaigns, shipping times, and product quality to those of your competitors, identify areas where you can make improvements and provide a better experience for your customers.
For example, if you notice that a competitor has a higher customer satisfaction rating than your business, you might review your customer service policies and make changes to improve the customer experience.
In conclusion, benchmarking is a valuable tool for eCommerce planning.
Compare your business to others in your industry, and you can identify key performance metrics, set realistic goals, stay competitive, and improve customer satisfaction.
By incorporating benchmarking into your eCommerce strategy, you can ensure that your business remains successful and relevant in today's competitive marketplace.
Go deeper with learning, inspiration, and competitor benchmarking with aspects such as:
- Websites, web properties, and Search Engine Optimization profiles
- Content on websites (including blog posts)
- Dynamically spot changes made to websites
- Marketing campaigns that your competitors run
- The types of campaigns launched
- Messaging within each of these campaigns
- Changes made to their eCommerce website
- Marketing tools your competitors use
- Email marketing campaigns used (including details such as the number of emails, frequency of emails, and the actual email messages sent).
With tools like Panoramata, you can go “smart” with competitor research, benchmarking, and marketing inspiration.