Updated: 2023-08-25 14:08:15
Competition exists in all kinds of businesses, including dropshipping. In the rapidly changing market, knowing who are your competitors and staying informed of their activities and strategies is crucial to help you stay competitive. Building a list of your competitors helps you identify whom you should focus on when conducting a competitor analysis along with your business running.
So, how to find and identify your dropshipping competitors? In this article, we bring you the most efficient ways and tools to help you get started!
As a dropshipper, your main competitors would be other dropshipping stores with self-built websites or niche-specific retailers who offer the same or similar products as yours. You might find some overlap in terms of product offerings on platforms like Amazon, AliExpress, and Walmart, but please note that these marketplaces are not your competitors since you won't be selling on their platforms directly.
There are usually 3 types of competitors you should identify and focus on:
Direct competitors are easy to identify, who sell the same or similar products and target the same audience as yours. Consumers can easily and quickly switch from your product to that of a direct competitor, for example, when your prices increase. So your direct competitors are whom you should mainly focus on to help improve your business, especially your marketing and pricing strategies.
Your indirect competitors are in the same niche as yours but offer a different product or service. For example, a business that sells hair care products would compete indirectly with a hair salon. They offer different products and services but can solve the same customer needs. They often compete for a share of customers' budgets, time, and attention. Understanding indirect competitors is important for businesses because it helps them identify potential threats and opportunities in the market.
Your replacement competitors sell products that can be your alternatives. For example, electric hair removal devices can replace the need for hair removal cream. So when there's more than one product that can solve the same problem or meet the needs of the customers, you should be aware of those that provide more convenient, advanced, or cost-effective solutions. And adapting to evolving customer needs and market dynamics is crucial to compete with your replacement competitors and retain a loyal customer base.
Dropshipping businesses or niche-specific retailers usually conduct their marketing and advertising campaigns on different platforms. Instead of investing in expensive competitor spy tools, using keyword search is the easiest and most effective way to find your competitors, which won't cost you much time and money. So, it is important to do keyword research to find out which are your main target keywords and which are long-tail keywords that your target customers may use to find your product or brand.
We will introduce some tips and tools that can help you find and identify your competitors efficiently by keywords. Now let's dive in!
The simplest way to find your competitors is to search by your product keywords on Google and check the results shown on the first page. [Product name + location] is your precise target keyword for search. When you search product keywords, Google Shopping Filter can also show you the brands that are selling the product you searched for.
Also, don't miss out on the Long-tail keywords that are commonly searched from the search bar, which can help you find your competitors as comprehensively as possible.
There are both organic and sponsored search results on Google. Those Sponsored results are usually your paid search competitors who are running ads with the keywords you use for search and competing with you. Identifying these competitors would help you make informed decisions on ad keyword selection.
If you are running Google search ads for your product and brand currently, then Google Ads helps you quickly find and identify your paid search competitors' brands. In the Auction insights section, you can find websites that are competing with the keywords you are running ads with.
If you haven't started any ad campaigns, with the Google Ads Keyword Planner, you can find out which brands are competing with your target keywords. Also, the insight into the keyword competition would help you adjust your advertising campaigns to compete with other brands.
Ahrefs is a powerful app for search engine optimization(SEO) and it's perfect to find out your organic search competitors. If you already have an online store that has run some data, you can use Ahrefs' Organic competitors feature to find the top competing domains for the same keywords your target gets the most traffic from.
If you are just getting started and have no store yet, you can try to use a direct competitor's website to do the search on Ahrefs as you both have the same group of competitors and have the same target keywords as yours.
Ahrefs is not free but if you are planning long-term competitor analysis work from the perspective of organic search, then it is worth considering! You can also start a free trial with Semrush or Similarweb as a more beginner-friendly choice.
Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are the most popular platforms for marketing and advertising for small businesses. So it's easy to find if there are brands who sell the same or similar products as you. Also, in the process of identifying your competitors on social media, you will have a preliminary understanding of their marketing strategies.
The first place recommended to find your competitors is the Meta Ad Library, which is free to use. You can search by product keywords to find the newest product ads of different brands. And online stores usually have a Shop Now button below.
TikTok is perfect for product research, at the same time, you can use it to find out your competitors. Among the videos under product hashtags, you can find accounts with brand logos and store links in their profiles. Some are brands with TikTok verified accounts. These are most likely your competitors but it's important to identify if their accounts are still active and if their store links are accessible.
If you are in the niche of fashion, clothing, beauty, or home decor, you can also try to find your competitors on Instagram.
Consumers usually search for product ideas on social media or in communities before making purchase decisions. So many brands also promote their products in communities.
For example, by searching your product keyword on Facebook, you can find some public groups with brands promoting their products. This can be a good way if you have enough time exploring different groups and communities.
Reddit and Quora are also great places to find your potential competitors. It is recommended to check the posts published recently about the niche you are in, where there would be some small businesses promoting their products and stores. And you can easily find their product links within the posts.
Your customers are crucial to finding your competitors because they may have made a lot of comparisons among brands before choosing yours. So you can conduct a customer survey to ask about what brands they have ever considered or used. Understanding why your customers choose or do not choose your products is also critical to help improve your strategies and differentiate your products from others.
When identifying who are your competitors, you should also consider your business scale. You only need to find and focus on competitors who have a similar scale as yours. As your business grows, the market trends and your competitors are changing all the time, so you should keep updating your competitor list.
To help you be competitive at the starting line, you can start dropshipping with SourcinBox for free and get high-quality products, favorable prices, and fast shipping for your dropshipping orders.