Achieving market intelligence has become more crucial for e-commerce businesses as the industry faces various challenges (Figure 1). Online businesses need to step up their game to stay competitive.
This article explores 12 best practices of ecommerce market intelligence to help marketers in the industry streamline their processes, stay ahead of the competition, and drive growth. Real-world examples/case studies are also provided in the best practices section.
Figure 1. Disruptions in the ecommerce industry
What is market intelligence for the ecommerce industry?
Ecommerce market intelligence refers to the process of gathering, analyzing, and applying information about the online market, consumer behavior, competitors, and emerging trends to make data-driven decisions. This actionable knowledge enables online businesses to identify new opportunities, optimize their strategies, and ultimately gain a competitive advantage.
12 best practices for achieving market intelligence for ecommerce businesses with case studies
This section highlights 12 best practices that marketers can follow to achieve market intelligence in their online businesses. The best practices are devided into 6 categories based on the area they cover.
Monitor Your Competitors
1. Carry out competitive analysis
Understanding the competitive landscape, including insights into competitors’ strategies and activities, is crucial for gaining market intelligence in the online world. Monitor their product range, pricing, marketing efforts, and customer reviews to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, Shopify’s1 competitive analysis led to the introduction of its Lite plan, which allows merchants to sell products without a full-fledged online store, directly competing with rivals like Square and PayPal.
2. Use competitor monitoring tools
Various software tools can help monitor competitors’ activities. These tools can track changes in product prices, new product launches, or shifts in marketing strategies.
An AI-powered competitive analytics or price monitoring solution can help you gather and analyze competitor data to give you an edge in the market.
To find the right competitive analytics solutions, check out our articles on:
Bright Data offers an AI-powered web data platform, called Bright Insights, that helps ecommerce businesses gather and analyze actionable data of competitors and the market to stay ahead of the competition. The platform offers:
- Data analytics of multiple competitors
- Track competitor pricing for their products and services
- Monitor competitor product catalogs to help you improve yours
- Monitor consumer sentiment toward your brand
Leverage data-driven insights
3. Utilize predictive analytics
Predictive analytics uses historical data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to predict future outcomes. This can be invaluable for e-commerce companies trying to leverage market intelligence, particularly for forecasting sales, trends, and customer behavior changes.
For example, Amazon2 uses data analytics to optimize product recommendations, pricing strategies, and inventory management.
4. Embrace A/B testing
A/B testing refers to comparing two versions of a webpage, email, or other marketing assets to determine which performs better. It’s a valuable tool for gaining insights about what resonates with your audience.
For instance, an online cosmetics store might test two different product images to see which one leads to more conversions.
Understand the market environment
5. Conduct market research regularly
Keep a pulse on current and emerging market trends to anticipate and capitalize on new opportunities. Regular market research helps keep abreast of changes in the market or customer behavior.
For example, subscription box services gained popularity as consumers sought the convenience of curated products delivered to their doorstep. Businesses that identified this trend early, like Birchbox3 and Dollar Shave Club4, were able to establish themselves as market leaders.
6. Utilize SEO analysis
SEO analysis involves examining how your website ranks on search engines for relevant keywords. It helps identify opportunities to improve visibility and attract more organic traffic.
For example, if an online pet supplies store finds that it ranks poorly for “organic dog food,” it might focus on improving its content and use SEO strategies around this keyword.
Understand your customers
7. Utilize customer analytics
Understanding customer behavior is the foundation of becoming intelligent in the ecommerce market. This involves collecting and analyzing data on customer demographics, purchasing patterns, and feedback.
For example, an online retailer selling fitness equipment may find that a significant portion of its customers are millennials. By understanding their preferences, such as interest in smart home gym systems, the business can tailor its offerings and marketing strategies accordingly.
8. Leverage social media listening
This involves tracking conversations around specific topics, keywords, brands, or industries and leveraging this information to discover opportunities or track sentiment.
- Leverage social media sentiment analysis to learn what people are talking about your brand on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Work with a sentiment analysis service provider to make the process more efficient.
Foster a culture of learning and adaptation
9. Encourage continuous learning
Continuous learning is important in any industry. Encourage your team to stay updated on the latest trends and technologies in the ecommerce sector.
For instance, AI and generative AI applications are benefitting every part of the ecommerce value chain (Figure 2). AI has revolutionized the way online businesses personalize customer experiences and predict future trends. Test these solutions in different parts of your business to explore new ways of efficiency.
Figure 2. AI applications in ecommerce
10. Be adaptable
Flexibility is key in ecommerce. Markets can shift quickly, and your level of resilience or ability to adapt can be the differentiator between success and failure. Consider change as an opportunity rather than a threat.
For instance, many airline companies, such as Virgin, British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, etc., shifted their primary business, from passenger travel to cargo, during the pandemic.
Follow an ethical, legal, and global approach
11. Follow ethical and legal practices
Ethics in ecommerce is crucial to building trust among consumers. It is also important to comply with laws and ensure sustainable growth. Negligence can result in a damaged reputation, legal troubles, and loss of customer loyalty.
When collecting and analyzing competitor or market data, it’s vital to respect data privacy, honor intellectual property rights, and promote fair competition. Unethical data practices can lead to legal consequences, harm the market, and invite regulatory scrutiny.
For instance, in 2020, Amazon5 faced legal consequences for allegedly using third-party seller data to develop its own private-label products, a potential violation of antitrust laws.
12. Leverage global data
Use data from international markets to capture opportunities beyond local customers. For example, ASOS6, a UK-based fashion retailer, expanded its global reach by offering localized websites, currency options, and shipping services, resulting in substantial international growth.
The ecommerce landscape is constantly evolving. Hence, constant vigilance, regular updates, and the willingness to innovate based on the market intelligence you gather are essential for sustained success.
With these best practices, your online business can gain the insights needed to make informed decisions and maintain a competitive edge.
- Top 10 Competitive Intelligence Tools & Selection Guide
- Top 18 Ecommerce KPIs to Measure Business Success
- Top 10 E-commerce Analytics Tools & Selection Guide
If you need help finding a vendor or have any questions, feel free to contact us:
- ‘Shopify Lite plan.’ Shopify. Accessed. 15/May/2023
- Pathak, Ritesh (2020) ‘How Amazon uses Big Data?’ Accessed. 15/May/2023
- Chabra, Eshra (2015). ‘Key To Success: Beauty Box Company Birchbox Says It’s Not Just About The Box.’ Forbes. Accessed. 16/May/2023
- Laroia, Megha (2022). ‘The Dollar Shave Club: An Extraordinary Story of An Ordinary Product Brand.’ Velocity. Accessed. 16/May/2023
- European Comission (2020). ‘Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Amazon for the use of non-public independent seller data and opens second investigation into its e-commerce business practices.’ Accessed. 16/May/2023
- Joly, Bruno (2011). ‘Asos continues international expansion.’ Accessed. 16/May/2023
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