STEP 3: SPYING ON THE COMPETITION
There are no two ways about it - you need to know who your competition is and what they are up to. You need to know their strengths and weaknesses and apply this knowledge to make your dropshipping store even better.
Analyzing your dropshipping competitors has several distinct advantages:
1. It allows you to see if you have any direct competitors (other dropshippers selling the same product)
2. You learn from them. By comparing, you can see what their strengths and weaknesses are. Try to improve on them.
3. You can see which products are trending and which products are not selling. Most of the bigger and more established dropshipping stores will present the total sales of a product for marketing.
How to spy on the dropshipping competition
There are several methods you can use to spy on the competition. Some are more effective than others.
In this list, I've included the ones that are the least technical and have produced great results for me in the past.
1. The Top Shopify-hosted stores in the world
Want to know who the top Shopify-hosted stores are? Follow this link.
MyIP.ms provides you with a ranking order of every single Shopify-hosted online store in the world. Pity it's not by niche, but you can at least get an idea of what the top Shopify stores look like.
2. Find niche-specific Shopify stores using Google
The greatest search engine on Earth offers you a simple way to find your dropshipping competition in any niche.
In the Google search bar, type in site:myshopify.com "cat toys" Just replace "cat toys" with your preferred niche.
Google then spits out the biggest Shopify Stores that sell "cat toys". See the example below.
Tip: Remember the space and inverted commas. site:myshopify.com "your niche/products"
Right click on your search results and open a few competitors websites in new tabs.
These pages show all the "cat toy" products of that dropshipping competitor.
Pay close attention to the layout, use of colors, fonts etc. to attract customer attention. What do they do to keep you on their website?
Make notes of what pops out to you, or what you feel doesn't work for each site. Think of ways to emulate and improve on all their strengths and weaknesses.
Step 3: (Optional)
Check the competition's overall best-selling products by adding the following to the back of their home page url:
Tip: If you add this line of script to the product page and not the home page, then you won't see any results.
3. Use Google! (Again)
Running a simple Google search for your specific sub-niche or product will also offer competitor results.
Once again you can repeat Step 3 above and add "/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling" to check their best sellers.
4. Use Amazon (and eBay)
Look for similar products to what you want to sell on Amazon and eBay.
Look at all the different search options that pop up in Amazon when you do a simple niche search:
Note who the sellers are and then find them on Google.
Do the same for eBay.
Use Google (Again!) in the same fashion as before and see what these online retailers' best-selling products are.
Note: If the particular retailer doesn't have Collections or Best Sellers on their home page, then the search won't reveal anything.
However, you can still make notes on their strengths and weaknesses.
5. Use Facebook
Use Facebook to find competitor advertisements.
Thanks to Facebook's efforts to address privacy concerns, FB added the Ads Library tool in 2018. This is a great free tool to spy on your competitors to see what type of ads they are running.
Ads are only ever run for New Products or for Winning Products. Either way, this method will give you great insights into Competitor Products.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/ and type in your sub-niche, product or competitor name.
Tip: It works best of you type in competitor names, as opposed to the product or sub-niche. Be sure to try all three, though!
See what the competition is doing and IMPROVE on their ads.
6. Use the competition's email marketing
Established dropshipping sites will have the option of an email opt-in somewhere.
It's usually a pop-up that appears when you want to leave the site. It looks something like this:
If a pop-up doesn't appear, then pick a random product and leave it in your cart. (Buy nothing!) Leave it in the cart and try to exit. The pop-up should appear then.
If not, just close the cart and exit. If their Facebook Pixel works properly, you will receive an email before too long.
When you receive a marketing email, pay attention to the wording, layout and frequency of their emails and jot down what works and what doesn't.
7. Use Alexa to find the competition's competitors
Once you have a list of competitor websites, go to Alexa.com. Look at your menu options, choose Free Tools and then click on Find Similar Sites. Or click here.
Type in the name of a competitor website, click on "Find" and Alexa will show you similar sites, based on shared audience and keyword overlap.
Visit these sites and once again look at what works and what doesn't for you.
You can also use the Alexa spying method to find possible winning products for your store.
Analyze your list of competitor strengths and weaknesses and use that info to build an even better online store.
Remember to always analyze competitor websites (and your own), from the point of view of the customer.