#176: How To Steal Your Competitor’s Website Sales Techniques

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In This Episode…

In today’s episode, we’re talking about how to spy on your competitor’s eCommerce stores and figure out how they’re making sales.

Using the same competitor analysis framework we use for our eCommerce client sites, Tim looks at the key areas every successful eCommerce site improves to increase their conversion rate.

These areas include:

  1. Building a mailing list
  2. Making the sales process easy
  3. Decreasing cart abandonment rate
  4. Nurturing return purchases after the first sale

Building a Mailing List

Not everyone is ready to buy from your site straight away. Just like in a shopping mall, people like to browse a lot before they finally commit to buying.

People shopping on the internet are no different. They certainly shop around a lot more than they would if they were in your local high street.

Shoppers today can cross-check the prices of similar products on ten eCommerce websites all at the same time from the comfort of their sofa. It takes minutes, unlike traditional shopping which can take hours.

When people aren’t ready to buy they close the internet browser it’s in. They’re a lost customer. Instead, they should be offered something simple, yet attractive, and easy to get.

This is where mailing lists come in.

By offering people a 10% discount for signing up to a newsletter, an eCommerce store can gather the contact details of hundreds of previously “lost” customers. They can then email those prospective buyers, again and again, week after week, until they decide to return to the website and commit to making a purchase.

What was once a “cold” lead is now a first-time customer, simply by gathering email addresses and sending out the occasional (and automated) email.

Making the Sales Process Easy

Oddly, too many eCommerce stores make their website too difficult to use and they make the perfect product for someone too difficult to find.

Even the most benign of choices, such as how the website’s main menu is designed, can result in lost sales and a very low conversion rate.

Navigating through your competitor’s website and attempting to make a purchase — and we’d recommend completing it too so you can find out what happens next — will teach you a lot about what a good (or bad) shopping experience feels like.

Decreasing the Cart Abandonment Rate

People add things to their basket and then leave without making a purchase. It’s highly common and every eCommerce store tries different ways to combat it.

Some stores use pay-per-click ads to show people the product they were looking at earlier in the day. Some eCommerce stores use emails to remind people that they still have items in their basket ready to be purchased.

Many of your competitors will be using some method of cart abandonment prevention or reactivation (i.e. getting someone back to complete the purchase). Trying to complete a purchase on your site (but not doing so) will teach you a lot about which of your competitors are doing this well and which aren’t.

Nurturing Return Purchases

Most eCommerce stores rely upon return purchases. They need the people that purchase products through their website to return to make a purchase again, and again, and again to be profitable.

Many businesses are actually happy to make a significant loss on their first purchase simply because the amount they’ll make from that customer over the months (or years) ahead will return a bigger profit for them.

Knowing how your competitors encourage their customers to return is important for your business as it’s this special relationship they form with their customer at this post-sales stage which is going to make stealing their existing customers difficult to do.

How We Do It

This is something we do all the time. We review how our client’s competitors convert their traffic into sales and we take advantage of that knowledge.

We spy and “steal” (clearly I mean, “get influenced by”) the best bits for our client’s campaigns and, where they exist, we take advantage of any negatives we see.

The framework we use is really simple. In fact, it’s less of a framework, it’s more of a checklist that reviews the areas above, plus a few others.

To find out what the framework (or checklist) looks like, listen to or watch the video above to find out what I’d start by looking at for eCommerce competitor analysis.


00:00 — Intro
00:42 — How to steal your competitor’s sales
01:58 — Check their lead capture method
05:04 — Check their sales process
12:15 — Check their cart abandonment process
14:52 — Check their post-sales process

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