How to do a competitive analysis: guide and example

Competitive analysis involves comparing the marketing strategies of your competitors. It is used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different marketing approaches within an industry. Marketing analysis helps companies determine the potential benefits and barriers within a specific market or industry, and allows brands to monitor how direct and indirect competitors are implementing their strategies and marketing tactics, their pricing and distribution.

It is an essential component of market research and strategic analysis of a company.

Your competitive analysis plan can vary widely depending on what you want to learn about your competition. You can perform competitive analysis around a specific aspect, like a competitor’s website, for example, or you can perform a high-level review of their overall marketing approach and resources.

First, let’s take a look at the different types of information that businesses look for in this type of analysis.

If you want to perform a high-level competitive analysis, you need to consider the following questions, which relate to the positioning of competitors in your market:

  • Who are their target customers?
  • What unique added value do they offer?
  • What are the main characteristics they highlight in their sales materials?
  • Where is their price range?
  • How do they approach the shipping of their products?

All of these points will help you analyze what separates your competition from each other and observe how they work to differentiate themselves from the competition within your industry.

If you want to take it a step further, you can consider adding additional study elements: 

  • Website features (search tools, design / layout, etc.)
  • Elements of the customer experience (payment facilities, customer support, mobile UX )
  • Copywriting tactics (product descriptions, calls to action, etc.)
  • Social media approach (channels used, frequency of publication, engagement)
  • Etc.

How to do a competitive analysis

Once you are ready to launch your own competitive analysis, follow the 6 steps outlined below so that your research is well structured.

1- Select from 6 to 10 competitors

To identify relevant competitors to include in your analysis, start by researching Google about your product and the business idea that defines your business. 

To put together a list of diverse competitors that will give you a good overview of your competitive landscape, it is a good idea to limit yourself to a group of six to ten competitors.

Here are the main features you should find in these competitors:

  • They market similar products
  • They have similar business premises
  • They are aimed at a market with similar demographics and at the same time slightly different
  • They can be both new to the market, but also more experienced

2 – Create a spreadsheet

As you collect data on this group of competitors, organize it in a table or spreadsheet that can easily be shared and updated over time. In this document, you will compare and oppose competitors based on the following different criteria:

  • Price scale
  • Product Offers
  • Social media engagement
  • Content used for lead generation
  • Offers for new visitors
  • Any other criteria worth comparing

3 – determine the types of competitors

Start working on your spreadsheet by categorizing each of your competitors as a primary or secondary competitor. This will help you better determine how to gauge them.

  • Direct competitors, or main competitors, i.e. those who sell a similar product to a similar audience
  • Indirect competitors are secondary competitors who offer a high-end or low-end version of your product to a different audience.
  • Tertiary competitors are brands that can target the same audience, but do not sell the same products as you or are not in direct competition with you. 

4 – Identify the positioning of your competitors

Positioning is one of the most important marketing tools for a business. Good positioning helps you connect with a target audience and build loyalty over time. It also allows your business to acquire a message, a brand image, values ​​and a global commercial strategy.

It is for this reason that you absolutely must understand the positioning of your competitors, and especially learn to stand out and forge a favorable reputation in the eyes of your customers. Differentiation also helps increase brand awareness and justify your pricing, which necessarily impacts your bottom line and bottom line.

In order to determine the positioning of your competitors, analyze the following key channels:

  • Social media
  • Editorial content of the website
  • Events
  • Product description 
  • Press Releases

When looking to identify the positioning of your competitors, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do they describe their unique value proposition?
  • What story do they tell customers?
  • How do they position their products?

If you can identify the communication framework of your competitors, you will be able to position yourself differently and stand out more easily.

5 – Determine the competitive advantage and the offers of your competitors

Once you get the message from your competitors, take a look at their competitive advantage and their offering. Most businesses are indeed based on competitive advantage.

For example, the competitive advantage of a fashion retailer may be to offer high quality products at a reasonable price and fast shipping services. An SEO agency can have 15 years of SEO experience and tangible results with some of the biggest companies in a given industry. Unique selling propositions like these aren’t easy to replicate, but they do promote a company’s brand recognition and brand awareness.

Take the time to look at your competitor’s products and services and compare them to yours. They may offer similar products at a lower price or focus on sustainability. Either way, you have to find their competitive edge and find out how you can deliver something better.

6 – Understand how your competitors market their products

Understanding how your competitors market their products will give you a wealth of detail about the specials and promotions they do, how they create and manage their contact lists, and how they deliver their content online.

Along with the research you’re doing through specialized software and tools, it’s also a good idea to get your hands dirty: nothing beats taking on the role of a potential customer and checking out what your competitors are doing when it comes to sales. marketing.

Here is what you can actually do:

  • Subscribe to their newsletter and blog
  • Follow their social networks
  • Abandon a product in the shopping cart on their website
  • Buy a product

As you perform these activities, be sure to note every action taken by your competition. By studying their approaches to cart abandonment and examining how they provide support through social media, you can spot your competition’s strengths in marketing, marketing strategy, and customer service, as well as any tactics they use to attract more customers and drive sales.

7 – Perform a SWOT analysis

Also consider conducting a SWOT analysis to accompany the data you collect. It is a competitive analysis framework that lists the strengths and weaknesses of your business, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces. 

Strengths and weaknesses focus on the present. These are things you control and can change over time:

  • The reputation
  • The product offer
  • Intellectual property
  • Market share
  • Assets of all kinds

Opportunities and threats are beyond your control. Here are the main ones:

  • The economy
  • Consumer trends
  • Competitor’s products
  • Market size
  • Market demand

Try to perform a SWOT analysis every year to shed some light on your business case and keep an eye on the competitive landscape. In this way, you will be able to anticipate problems and make continuous improvements to your business. 

Example for your competitive analysis

If you still don’t know where to start your competitive analysis, here is a template you can start your process from.

Competitor 1 (primary)

Competitor 2 (primary)

Competitor 3 (primary)

Competitor 4 (Secondary)

Competitor 5 (Secondary)

Company Name

Price scale

Target audience

Market share



Marketing strategy

Number of products offered

You can add as many sections as you want to your template, but remember to limit your primary and secondary competitor group to less than ten companies, so that your terms of reference are as relevant as possible.


You can’t compete effectively with your main competitors without knowing them, and you won’t be able to differentiate yourself if you don’t know what really makes you different.

If you are starting an e-commerce business, a competitive analysis will allow you to make informed marketing decisions, identify industry trends, compare yourself to the competition, determine a unique value proposition and a consistent price scale. 

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