December 28, 2016

Easy Template for eCommerce Competitor Analysis

by Matt Glaze

If you’re redesigning or launching an online store, you know how important eCommerce competitor analysis can be. But if you’re not the most data-savvy person, it can be a struggle to organize and display your information in a way everyone can understand. If you’ve ever spent more time discussing your competitive analysis approach rather than the results themselves this template can help you display results visually so everyone understands, at a glance, what they’re seeing.

Step 1

Create a table or spreadsheet with one column for categories of site features and four columns for competitors:

You can add as many competitors as you want, but it’s helpful to start with just your primary competitors and expand them organically over time.

Step 2

Add more site feature categories to the left column and separate them with blank rows:

Start with the site features that lead to conversion. You can add more later.

Step 3

Under each category, fill in the blank cells with specific site features:

Step 4

Fill in the blank cells for each site feature and competitor:

In this example, each competitor is graded on a scale from 0 to 3. Grade 0 means the site feature is absent from the competitor’s website, and grade 3 means the feature is executed very well by the competitor.

Step 5

Assign colors to the numbers:

Now you have a visual representation of where your competitors are weak (gray cells) and where they’re strong (orange cells). You can choose whatever color and number combinations make the most sense for your brand. For example, you can grade competitors on a scale from 0 to 10 or use more than three colors.

Step 6

Fill in the blank cells for the rest of the site feature categories and color-code those as well:

You’ll notice a numbered scale is used for the on-site content and design categories while yes and no are used for the other two. You can use yes and no when you want to record whether or not a site feature exists and a numbered scale when you want to grade how well it’s executed. A numbered scale might also work best when a site feature is universally standard across every website, such as navigation, so grading its execution is more important than recording whether or not it exists.

Use this template to quickly visualize what site features are common across competitors, where your competitors are strong and weak, and where there’s opportunity for competitive advantage. Everyone will understand what they’re seeing and you can build on the template over time.

For more on eCommerce strategy check out our post, Six Questions to Ask before You Choose a New eCommerce Platform.

Matt Glaze Is UX director at Lyons Consulting Group.

Matt brings nearly twenty years of experience in user-centered design for desktop and mobile interfaces. Since Joining LYONSCG in early 2015, Matt has worked with a wide range of clients to deliver powerful custom solutions on the Demandware and Magento platforms.