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Find Your Real Competitors On Amazon

Ever wonder the best way to know who your real competitors are?On Amazon, as with anywhere, preparing to compete against -- and win against -- those who are trying to do the same thing you’re doing means first learning who those competitors are.Preparing to face the wrong competition can be as bad as not preparing at all.The question then becomes, how do you find them?

The Not-So-Obvious

It may seem a simple thing, finding your competition, and in some ways it is, but like most other challenges we face as Amazon sellers, it works better with a strategy.That’s what I’m going to share with you.The second step of any keyword optimization strategy is to either use a reverse lookup tool (like our Keyword Scout) or manually review listings, but the first step is to name your competition.You can’t -- shouldn’t, I should say -- get started until you know exactly who you’re reviewing.Again, somewhat obvious, but in many ways not so much.

The Approach

Whether you decide to use a tool or not, the way you go about creating a list of real competitors is the same. I’ll cover that strategy here.For reference we have a tool, Retriever, that works perfectly for this and I’ll also cover how to use that. Retriever is free, and quite handy, but first I want to outline how to do this research without it.Not everyone wants to use tools. Even if they’re free and super handy. :-)So how do you find those competitors? Those other, eager Amazon sellers, just like you, running the same race with similar products trying to, if not at least win, come in as close to the head of the pack as possible?Of course they’re doing the same things you are -- and that’s the beauty of identifying those sellers that are running the same race. Once you know that you can analyze what they’re doing, incorporate their successful keywords and actions and …Do it better.

The Strategy

First thing to do is to figure out:What’s your primary keyword?Let’s take, as an example, “unbreakable whiskey glass”. If you’re selling an unbreakable whiskey glass, well ... That keyword most signifies exactly what that product is. The trick here is that if there is something different about your product, you make sure you incorporate that unique element into the primary keyword. Like “unbreakable old fashioned whiskey glass”. This way you narrow your search to the products that you’re going to be competing against.Use that primary keyword to do a search on Amazon.Next, using the results of that search, you want to find the appropriate competitors. The ones you want to analyze against your product to see what they’re doing that you might not be doing, and see what keywords they have in their listing you should have in your own.Of course you should know your own product inside and out. Unique features, elements that make it better, how it stands out. When discovering competitors using your primary keyword, look for those products that are very similar to your own product. Some products may be in the same category but have a noticable difference about them. Those will likely be using keywords that aren’t relevant to your own.And so, comparing against your intimate knowledge of your own product, as you continue selecting competitors, choose only those that are similar.Your next criteria, then, is to pick products that are closer to the top of Page 1 and Position #1 for organic ranking. Maybe the top 3 to 5 similar products closest to the top of the ranking on page one. With one caveat: look only for products that have a good volume of reviews and a good star rating. Review volume indicates a product with history, rather than a new product that may be ranking high only because the seller is pouring resources into driving it up. You want an established player. A higher average rating, of course, means it’s doing favorably with customers.So that’s:
  1. Products that are similar to yours
  2. Good organic ranking
  3. Good volume of reviews
  4. Good star rating
Now that you have those, you don’t only want to go after just those top guys. Scroll down to the middle of the Page 1 search results, looking for products that are up-and-coming. Same criteria (good volume of reviews, good rating). These may not be the top dogs, but they may have been in the market for a long time, they’re well optimized, their keyword research is done. It’s true that the higher a competitor is on the page of search results the higher they’re ranked, but you can find good keywords from the mid-tier results that the top guys may not have.Pick maybe 1 or 2 guys in that middle zone.Next go to the bottom of Page 1 or the top of Page 2, to find more that are relevant, have a volume of reviews, and a good star rating, as these could be well optimized listings that are fighting their way up the ranks.Pick maybe 1 or 2 guys in that end zone. You’re picking the right competitors -- your real competitors -- to do your analysis against. The above 3 searches should get you about 7 - 10 competitors to analyze.A note on frequency. Depending on your category, you may want to do this twice a year or perhaps more often if you have multiple high seasonalities for your niche. For example, for a product that’s seasonal you’d want to do an analysis and update before the season starts. You don’t want to be too aggressive with making these changes, but you also don’t want to fall behind. Another indicator would be if you see you’re losing market share. Then you may need to do more due diligence to make sure your listing is the best it can be.

The Tool

So … how ‘bout that Retriever tool?MBS Retriever is a product research extension for the Chrome browser that lets you review millions of products with just a few clicks. Primarily intended for helping Amazon sellers discover products to sell, when it comes to “The Strategy” Retriever makes it much easier to quickly find your real competitors.With Retriever you can quickly isolate competition that meets the criteria you specify. Such as Rank, Reviews, and Rating. Set parameters. Search instantly.For example, say you want to find products with a minimum of 300 reviews and a 4.3 star rating or above. Simply put in that criteria and Retriever refines the search.Makes it way easier to isolate the ones you need to be looking at.You can then review the product images and details right in the tool to select only those applicable to yours.Either way, manually or using tools, finding your real competitors is the first step to analyzing and refining your own product listing to take the lead.

The End

Not really. It’s never really the end, but we’ll put a bow on this little strategy session.There’s a popular series of training we did, called the Trifecta, which dives into all the ways to research and use your keywords to increase your ranking. Once you know who your competitors are, that’s the next step.For fun here are those videos:Lastly, a link to the companion video for this strategy I’ve just given you. Watch me deliver training on discovering your real competitors with example screens and everything: 2 Ways To Discover Your Real Competitors Learn to discover your real competitors and win the race with your Amazon products. To your success, Marc JepsenCOO ManageByStats