Competitor Research for Online Technology Store

StudentDeals is a small online technology and academics books provider situated in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The Challenge

South Africa, and more specifically Port Elizabeth, has quite a bit of catching up to do in terms of online marketing.

My client, StudentDeals, has a website which they also use to sell goods from. My challenge was to help them see the value in online marketing. They were skeptical, because it’s a new area for them and they had no clue what to do.

I wanted to clearly demonstrate to them where they stood in comparison to their competitors. The best way to do that was to perform competitor research so they could see something tangible.

The Research

Knowing that their competitors in South Africa were unlikely to be doing much better than StudentDeals in terms of online marketing, I found the worldwide benchmark in online laptop sales; the ecommerce store that has the highest SEO score in the industry, so that we could make a true comparison.

I also found three of my client’s closest competitors, and conducted the same analysis for my client, the benchmark company, and the three South African competitors.

Analysis

Social media

The benchmark company boasted a whopping 7394962 Facebook likes, with a 100% message rate.

My client had a Facebook page with 5839 likes, generated from paid ads, and their message response rate was poor.

Their wording was the same for every post, and every post was promotional.

My client’s biggest competitor had 23569 Facebook followers, also mostly obtained through paid ads, but they were also more social media savvy than my client.

Website

The benchmark’s domain was much, much older than any of the other companies, which gives it a powerful boost from search engines.

Their website design is clean, attractive and logical, and their site is optimised for conversions.

Most importantly, their content is what makes them excel. Out of all four of the analyzed sites, this one was the only one that offered content that adds value to their audience, not just sales copy.

Their product descriptions were customized and written in plain non-geek speak.

They rank for more than 700 000 organic keywords.

They also offer weekly promos.

My client’s website domain was less than one year old, which means search engines viewed it with low credibility.

Their website looked unprofessional, their product descriptions were copied and pasted from the manufacturer’s specs, and much of the layout did not make sense. From a marketing point of view, I could see why online sales were poor.

Out of the four websites evaluated, my client’s website got the least amount of traffic. None of the websites, excluding the benchmark, used content to attract traffic, so any traffic they did get was from paid advertising. The highest competitor got 400 000 visitors a month, while my client only got 10 000 a month.

All of my client’s competitor websites had poorly written product descriptions, all of them copied and pasted, which means duplicated content and not user friendly, as normal people would not be able to understand them.

Results of The Research

The results of my analysis clearly proved that my client was way behind their competitors in terms of online marketing.
I was able to demonstrate, via competitor analysis, what they were doing right, what they were doing wrong, and how they could improve.