22 Tools to Spy on Competitors in eCommerce

Tools to Spy on Competitors

In the dynamic world of e-commerce, you should always know the tools to spy on competitors and stay ahead of the competition. Understanding what your competitors are doing can provide valuable insights that help you refine your strategies, identify opportunities, and drive growth.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of competitor analysis and share practical, free and premium tools to spy on your competitors effectively.

Why spy on your competitors in eCommerce?

Some people will say that spying on your competitors is not a great tactic and instead focus on your business. But that is not true. While you should work on improving your e-shop, the user experience, and the products you offer, how will you do that if you don’t have a clear idea of what is out there? Competition in the e-commerce landscape is fierce, with businesses vying for the attention of consumers. By keeping an eye on your competitors, you gain several advantages:

  • Strategic Insights: Understanding your competitors’ strategies, tactics, and initiatives can help you identify gaps in the market and capitalize on emerging trends.
  • Benchmarking Performance: Monitoring your competitors’ performance allows you to assess your own strengths and weaknesses and set realistic goals for improvement.
  • Market Understanding: By analyzing your competitors’ actions, you can gain valuable insights into consumer behaviour, preferences, and market trends.
  • Innovation Inspiration: Studying your competitors’ successes and failures can inspire innovation within your own business, leading to the development of new products, services, or marketing strategies.

Tools to Spy on Competitors for Free in eCommerce

You can spy on your eCommerce competitors for free. Obviously, you can invest some budget to sign up for a paid version of the tools we’re going to suggest below, but there is no need if you’re a small or medium business.

For the past 3 months, I’ve been offering free sessions to business owners on GrowthMentor. Before having a session with a new mentee, I would go to the following tools and check what their business is doing. Although you cannot identify the whole strategy, someone could have a clear idea of what a business is doing online.

Let’s dive into my favorite tools we check frequently for each of our e-commerce clients.

Tools to spy on competitors' ads

With performance marketing in mind, we always start with what our competitors are doing in terms of Paid Social ads and advertising on search engines. The main free tools to spy on competitors’ ads are Facebook Ads Library, Google Ads Transparency Center, TikTok Ads Transparency Library.

#1 Facebook ads spy tool

Facebook Ads Library is the best facebook ads spy tool for competition tracking. Explore the ads your competitors are running on both platforms, Facebook and Instagram. This tool provides valuable insights into their advertising strategies, messaging, and targeting.

For example, one of our clients livbergen is a German brand selling cool sustainable clothing. Karo Kauer Label is one of their competitors. With the help of Facebook Ads Library we can see the following info:

  • What type of content they are using in their ads
  • On which platforms/placements they are running ads
  • Their targeting audience
tools to spy on competitors - facebook ad spy

Isn’t it a great way to see competitors’ ads? OK, let’s move to the next one.

Did I mention that we achieve up to 11 ROAS for our eCommerce clients? Check out our Facebook Ads services and book a Free Meta Ads Audits.

high ROAS Facebook Ads

#2 Google ads spy tool

Looking for the best YouTube ad spy tool? Interested in how to spy on competitors’ Google ads? Do they run Shopping Ads? How about Search ads? Or maybe they also try dynamic search ads? You can answer almost all of your questions by getting a glance at Google Ads Transparency Center .

For example, this is how our ads of our client livbergen look like:

Using this Google ads spy tool, you can identify multiple types of ads that we’re running such as Shopping Ads, Dynamic Search Ads, Performance Max & more. This is also how you view competitor display ads.

#3 Tool to spy on competitors' TikTok ads

The tool is called TikTok Ads Transparency Library or Commercial Content Library. Discover the advertising strategies of your competitors on TikTok. It allows you to understand competitors’ creative approaches and audience targeting. Again, you can click on the ad and see the target audience they use.

Let’s use the same brand as an example:

However, we suggest using tools to spy on competitors not only in terms of ads, but also for identifying their website traffic, channels, promotions and more.

Free tools to spy on competitors' traffic

#4 How to spy on competitors' website traffic with Similarweb

In order to find out your competitors’ website traffic I use one of my favourite tools, which is called Similarweb. We’ve been using it for as long as I can remember myself in marketing. It is an all-in-one website traffic analytics. The paid version is a gold, but even with a free one you can have a pretty much great glance at what is the traffic of each of your competitors’ e-shop.

Furthermore, you can discover from which countries they are getting the traffic from, which are the best channels and even more info.

As an example, let’s spy on one of our Australian clients, Only Sport.

Now remember, that if the competitor is quite small (less than 5K visitors per month), you might not have any insights from the tool.

There are a few alternative platforms for checking the traffic, such as:

#5 Competitors website traffic checker by Semrush

Another way to spy on competitors’ website traffic is to use Semrush’ Traffic Analytics. Let’s spy on one of my past employers located in Greece, Skroutz.gr.

tools to spy on competitors - Competitors website traffic semrush

#6 Neil Patel's Competitors website traffic checker

There is another tool that offers a Free version, Website Traffic Checker by Neil Patel.

tools to spy on competitors - Competitors website traffic Neil Patel
tools to spy on competitors - traffic analyzer Neil Patel

#7 Ahrefs' competitors website traffic checker

And of course, another favorite tool to spy on the organic traffic of our competitors is no other than ahref’s website traffic tracker.

OK, but what if you want to find out which eCommerce platform a store is built on? My favourite tools to identify what eCommerce platform competitors use are Wappalyzer and BuiltWith.

#8 Wappalyzer for identifying the eCommerce platform

Wappalyzer is an extension for your Chrome browser that provides you with all the info. You’ll find out not only the e-commerce platform, but also how advanced they are based on the technologies, apps, and plugins they have installed. This is what it might look like:

Find out what a website is built with Wappalyzer example

#9 BuiltWith for identifying the eCommerce platform

BuiltWith Technology Lookup is another quick tool that will get you results and info when you copy-paste your competitor’s website. Let’s spy on one of our clients OnlySport 🙂

Oh, yes, my dear, you now know what software we use for email marketing (Omnisend). By the way, MailChimp and Shopify broke up back in 2019 because of a conflict in data sharing. That’s why we switched to Omnisend as our main email marketing tool.

Tools to spy on competitors' organic keywords in eCommerce

How to identify what organic keywords your eCommerce competitors rank for? Nowadays, we can not only spy on what ads our competitors running but also get Organic Search Insights for free.

#10 Keywords spy with SemRush

Semrush is a tool used by marketing professionals. I mentioned it before for spying on your competitors’ website traffic, but the truth is that it is a much more powerful tool. Semrush and ahrefs are used a lot among SEO and SEM professionals across the globe. Thus, an e-commerce business owner is not expected to be aware of them. However, we suggest you still sign up for a Free Trial to see what it has to offer.

For instance, there is a section called Pay-Per-Click Keyword Research Tools where you can check what keywords your competitors use in their Search campaigns. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

keyword spy with semrush

#11 Keywords spy with Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a tool very similar to Semrush, mostly known within SEO community (SEO=Search Engine Optimisation). Let’s say you want to know on which search terms you competitors show up in organic results. Then you’d go to

Site Explorer section -> Type in your domain the search bar -> click on Organic Competitors

Voila! You’ll see a list of websites that rank in the top 10 for the same keywords as your website. That’s just a tiny thing, you can actually see the kwyords they’re ranking for. Semrush and ahrefs are used as for organic results as well as for google ads spying too.

Are you into more advanced marketing tools?

#12 Keywords spy with Moz

Of course, you’ll get much more details with a paid version of Moz. However, even just checking the Free SEO Competitive Analysis Tool will prodide a sense of what keywords your competitors rank for. 

keyword spy with Moz

#13 Keyword spy tool SEOquake

If at some point you would like to invest more into growing organic traffic, then the SEO expert you’re gpoing to work with, will probably have installed a Chrome browser plugin called SEOquake.

SEOquake keyword spy tool

#14 Keyword spy tool octoboard.com

It is a similar tool, but not so popular.

#15 Keyword spy tool webceo.com

Another alternative.

How fast is your competitors' website?

Understanding the loading speed of your competitors’ websites is crucial in the digital landscape. How to spy on competitors’s website speed? With tools like PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom. They offer invaluable insights into their site performance. 

#16 Website speed checker PageSpeed Insights

For this example, in order to check site speed of okisdigital.com, we used a free tool called PageSpeed Insights.

Website speed checker PageSpeed Insights

#17 Website speed checker Pingdom

For instance, suppose you’re in the e-commerce sector, and you’re keen on analyzing the speed of “Competitor X’s” website. With Pingdom, you find that their homepage loads in 3.5 seconds, boasting a 2.5 MB page size and 50 requests. This knowledge not only sheds light on their user experience but also provides a benchmark for your own site’s optimization efforts. In a competitive market, knowing where you stand in terms of loading speed can be the key to gaining an edge in user satisfaction and search engine rankings.

Track your e-commerce competitors' email marketing strategy

Email marketing remains a highly effective channel for e-commerce businesses today. Despite the rise of social media and other digital marketing channels, email continues to deliver strong returns on investment and remains a preferred communication channel for many consumers. Shouldn’t we know what our competitors do then?

#18 Subscribe to your competitors’ newsletters

Subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters offers valuable insights into their email marketing strategies, including:

  • What messages do they send?
  • Do they offer exclusive promotions?
  • Email frequency – How often do they send newsletters?
  • Do they launch new products?

 

By monitoring their approach, you can gain a competitive edge, refine your own tactics, and stay informed about market trends and customer preferences.

#19 Test your competitors for Cart abandonment emails

Additionally, add products to your cart and abandon it to see if your competitors have implemented abandoned cart email campaigns. Understand their follow-up strategy for recovering lost sales. Here’s a great example by Kate Spade:

Cart abandonment emails example

How to Spy on the Customer Experience your e-Commerce competitors offer

#20 Place on order on your competitors eshops

Ordering from your competitors provides firsthand experience of their customer journey. By immersing yourself in their purchasing process, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in their website navigation, checkout process, and post-purchase support.

Furthermore, understanding your competitors’ user experience allows you to benchmark against industry standards, pinpoint areas for improvement in your customer journey, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

#21 Read your competitors online reviews

Go to Google reviews, facebook page reviews and comments on social media. Read what customers love and hate about their products. Then, go to your website and emphasize the advantages that customers would love based on the reviews you read. By reading our competitors reviews, we came up with this creative for Paid Social ads:

a reliable agency with a proactive approach

#22 Google Trends

Get ahead of the compeitirion by utilizing Google Trends. Spot emerging trends and assess the popularity of products or services in your niche. One of the best selling products right now in Australia in the sporting industry is… resistance bands. Now, depending on where you competitors are located geographically and can use an in-store pickup option.

Conclusion

Spying on your competitors in e-commerce is not about copying their strategies but about gaining insights to refine your approach. By leveraging free tools and techniques, you can stay informed about your rivals’ activities, make informed decisions, and ultimately, gain a competitive edge in the market.

More posts

More posts