🕵️  Ways To Spy On Your Shopify Competitors
How can you hope to beat your Shopify competitors if you don’t know what they’re doing?
Competitor analysis or (if we want to be all Hollywood about it) spying is part and parcel of running a successful Shopify store.
Whether you need inspiration, information, or insights, it’s essential to know how the most successful Shopify merchants stay ahead of the bunch:
- What are their most successful products?
- Where are they getting their buyers (traffic) from?
- What keywords are they targeting?
- How is their site ranking higher than yours?
- How are they pricing similar products to yours?
They’re probably asking the same questions of you so consider it “tit for tat”. All’s fair in love and Shopify, after all.
But how do you spy on your Shopify competition to get the info you need?
This post takes you through 11 ways you can spy on your Shopify competitors without it consuming all of your time.
Some of the methods are free and some use paid apps. All will increase your awareness of what other Shopify stores in your market are doing, how they’re doing it, and what you may need to do to catch up (or stay ahead).
You can jump to the one you’re most interested in or read the whole darn thing!
- Shopify Inspector
- Facebook ads previews
- Google Alerts
Paid Tools To Spy on Shopify Competitors
Pricing: $99.95 – $399.95 per month (free trails available for Pro and Guru plans)
SEMRush brands itself as an “all-in-one marketing toolkit” and, indeed, it is a comprehensive suite of tools, focusing heavily on search engine marketing.
In-depth competitor analysis is one of the major benefits it provides for both enterprise-level Shopify stores and smaller stores.
Using this tool you can:
- Analyze competitors’ SEO strategies
- Analyze competitor backlinks
- Analyze competitor content strategy
- Analyze traffic to any store
- Uncover paid search and Google Display Network strategies
- Monitor competitors’ ad copy and landing pages
- Analyze Google Shopping campaigns
- Analyze competitors across social media
- Identify market leaders, established players and game-changers
This can help you emulate the best SEO strategies, find gaps in the market or take advantage of weaknesses in your competitors’ strategy.
As well as using this tool to spy on your Shopify competitors, you can also use SEMRush to:
- Run SEO audits
- Track daily rankings
- Research keywords
Pricing: Free version available. Price on Application for Enterprise
SimilarWeb brands itself as “innovative market intelligence solutions” to “empower businesses to make better decisions”.
As part of the suite of tools it offers, you can use it to spy on your Shopify competitors with deep market and competitor analysis.
This can help you with market mapping and benchmarking, channel acquisition, tracking customer behavior, and optimizing your funnel.
Specifically, you can:
- Compare website performance against competitors to uncover new opportunities
- Monitor market share and growth over time
- Map the key players in any market
- Understand changes in category visitation, engagement and marketing channels
- Uncover competing stores’ conversions to better understand funnel leakage and performance
- Identify marketing channels that drive the highest conversion rates
- Gain visibility to the most-viewed content of competitors
- Access 36 months’ worth of data for MoM, QoQ, and YoY analyses
Pricing: $99 – $999 per month (for agencies). A $7 trial is currently offered for the Lite and Standard plans.
Ahrefs provides a suite of SEO marketing tools for Shopify store owners but the one we’re most interested in for the purposes of spying on your Shopify competitors is the Site Explorer tool.
This allows you to “get an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL.”
Most successful ecommerce sites get plenty of organic search traffic for competitive keywords.
Competitors who outrank you in search are costing you money. That’s the bottom line. So, you need to do everything you can to overhaul them and compete for a slice of their traffic.
Ahref Site Explorer is actually three SEO competitor analysis tools rolled into one:
- Organic traffic research: see which keywords your competitors are ranking for and which pages bring the most search engine traffic.
- Backlink checker: identity which websites link to your competitors’ sites and gauge the quality of their backlink profiles.
- Paid traffic (PPC) research: learn whether your competitors are doing paid search advertising and where they funnel their paid traffic.
Together, these tools provide a comprehensive, 360-degree view of just why your competitors are out-ranking you. It considers both on-page and off-page SEO, as well as paid search.
Pricing: Free to use for individual site lookups. $295 – $950 per month for paid versions.
BuiltWith goes beyond SEO and search performance and looks under the hood of the store itself to see what’s driving its success.
This tool helps you discover exactly what is powering your competitors’ websites, what’s making them sales, and what you can do to catch up.
BuiltWith has indexed key information on over 370 million websites – including your competitors.
Simply enter the URL of the Shopify competitor you want to check out and you will receive detailed results that show:
- How the store caters for mobile shoppers
- The widgets used to make the store look and perform how it does
- How they speed up their website
- The content delivery network it uses
- The content management system used
- The analytics and tracking tools it used to monitor customer behavior
- How they monetize the store, including the payment gateways used
- Their advertising technology
- Their email and web hosting providers
- The security elements of the store (SSL certificates, etc.)
- The server technology employed by the store
Pricing: $79 – $299 per month. Free trial for 7 days for all plans.
How do your competitors develop content around the same keywords that you’re targeting?
Content is king and if your competitors are developing better content than you around your target keywords then it stands to reason that they will rank higher in organic search than you.
BuzzSumo tells you how they’re doing it with inbuilt tools such as:
- Content analysis reports – browse a huge index of social engagement data to find the best content
- Domain reports – compare and analyze domains to benchmark social content performance
- Topic explorer – generate content ideas, starting with a simple keyword
- Influencer searches – find influencers to collaborate with
- Backlink analysis – see the websites linking to key domains and competitor sites
- Question analyzer – find the most popular questions asked about the products you sell
- YouTube analyzer – understand what works for video marketing in your niche
- Top author search – find the most active and influential authors in your area
So, using BuzzSumo you can really nail down the best-performing keywords, the type of content that is ranking best, where it was shared, how often it was shared, and by whom.
It helps you identify the brands or individuals targeting your keywords so that you can either partner with them (in the case of influencers) or try to out-rank them.
It’s easy to see how BuzzSumo can help you enhance your content to improve search engine rankings and become more prominent than your Shopify competitors.
Pricing: From FREE up to $450+/month (Enterprise)
Mention is a tool that allows “brands and agencies to monitor the web, listen to their audience and manage social media.”
So, it not only helps you monitor and track other competing brands but it allows you to manage your own online reputation.
The main interest in the context of spying on your Shopify competitors lies in identifying areas of weakness, thereby uncovering opportunities for you to move ahead.
Mention provides in-depth brand intelligence and offers the following competitor analysis features:
- Track how competitors reach and engage with their target market
- Discover how they develop relationships and interactions with shoppers/influencers
- Find out what their customers are complaining about or the reasons for high satisfaction levels
- Monitor locations of mentions to discover the most favorable geographical positions to market to
- Identify all instances of mentions for particular brands – which you can use to reach out to your competitors’ customers and offer better solutions to
Free Shopify Spy Tools
Xpareto makes no attempt to hide what it’s for.
You can see from its homepage, where it proudly says “Spy on top ecommerce stores. Now you can reverse engineer these proven winners to replicate their success.”
This is a simple free tool that does exactly what it says on the tin. It allows you to reverse engineer the successful elements of your competitors’ stores, from ad campaigns to their best-selling products.
This is a particularly good tool for a new Shopify store owner who is just starting out and is looking for insight into various ecommerce business models.
It’s easy to use:
- Type the store name or the store URL into the search box
- View the daily traffic and the rating of the store
- Visit the link to the best-selling product on the store
- If the store uses Facebook ads, you can visit the latest campaign ad
The analysis you can do with this tool is limited – but for free it’s a really handy tool, especially if you are targeting Facebook ads or wondering which products to focus on for a dropshipping store, for instance.
Shopify Inspector is a Google Chrome extension that calls itself the “ultimate source of competitive intelligence about ecommerce stores”.
It allows you to gather competitor intelligence in the form of data on:
- Product launches – discover what the hot new products are
- Bestsellers – find out which are the best-selling products
- Pricing – compare how similar products are priced
- Traffic – monitor where the traffic is coming from
- Real-time sales stats – get weekly revenue figures and sales figures for specific products
- Ad campaigns – see which ads work the best
- Technology – find out the apps they use and don’t use
Shopify Inspector has indexed almost one million Shopify stores and you can access the information you need from competing stores easily with a few clicks.
This tool helps you discover the secrets to the success of competing stores, providing inspiration and insights that you can potentially use to improve the performance of your own store.
Facebook Ads Previews
Sometimes, your best tool is your own research skills.
Chances are your strongest Shopify competitors are using Facebook ads. And if they are doing it well (better than you), they are taking business from you.
There are plenty of tools that help you research Facebook ads but, in our opinion, the best plan of attack is to visit the Facebook ads page of the business in question.
First, go to the Facebook ad library here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/library
Type in the name of the Shopify store you want to investigate the ads for and then click All Ads. It will return previews of all the ads for that business, as in the image above.
It tells you when the ad started running and if you click on See Ad Details you will see the actual ad as it appears in customer feeds.
This is a great way to reverse engineer and replicate the ads from the most successful stores in your own Facebook ads to make them more effective.
Click through the ads to the landing pages and you can also reverse engineer those. Don’t forget that the landing page is just as important as the ad.
Did you know that site speed is not only critical to the customer experience in your store but also to Google?
Page load speed is a ranking metric used by the Google algorithm and chances are you will be penalized if you have slow-loading pages.
GTMetrix is a free tool to help you “See how your site performs, reveal why it’s slow and discover optimization opportunities.”
But you can use it to check the speed of competing Shopify stores too.
If you’re wondering why they’re out-ranking you in search, you might just find the reason with this tool.
And if speed is an issue, you can start taking steps to make your store snappier for users – and for Google.
Google is another great tool for helping you research your competitors.
For instance, Google Alerts allows you to monitor almost anything online. In the above example, an alert has been set up for “MVMT watches”. This will generate alerts every day featuring all the news about, and mentions of, MVMT watches anywhere online.
You can enter any brand name or keywords you want to track and Google Alerts will follow them for you.
This is a free way to track competitors if you don’t want to go to the expense of using Mention.
Another more immediate way to check out competitors is to simply Google their name, preferably excluding search terms like “Shopify website”.
You can also type the name of your Shopify website (site:myshopify.com) and your main keyword or phrases into the Google search bar. It will detail all the Shopify stores that are relevant to that keyword, which should identify key competitors for you.
Start going after your Shopify competitors
Shopify competitors come in many shapes and forms.
- Direct competitors, who sell the same or similar products (you both sell women’s jeans)
- Indirect competitors, who provide a different type of product but target the same type of customers as you (you sell women’s jeans and they sell women’s slacks)
The type of competitors you are targeting will partly determine the method you want to use to track and investigate what they’re doing.
Do you want to:
- Identify key players?
- Identify industry trends?
- Reach out to their audience?
- Compare pricing?
- Improve your reputation in the market?
- Create benchmarks for your service?
- Improve your search rankings?
- Identify gaps in the market?
All of the methods suggested above can help you get a competitive edge.
Most of the paid tools have free trials, the free ones are really useful and, sometimes, there is no substitute for your own research with no other tools than your own efforts and insight.
Decide what information you need on which competitors and go after them.