Five Ways to Track Your Competitors’ Online Activities
September 12, 2018
Monitoring Your Competitors
“We don’t have any competition” has to be one of the biggest fallacies in business. It doesn’t fly in fundraising meetings with VCs, nor is it likely to survive any pre-acquisition due diligence analysis.
The existence of competition is the reality for every business. It can be direct (someone offering a similar product or service) or indirect in the form of an alternative or replacement for whatever you’re currently offering the market.
Everyone has competition for the customer’s attention and money. So, wouldn’t it be nice to get a little closer to the competitors to better understand what they’re doing?
Whether you consider it monitoring or tracking, automating the process of “knowing what they’re up to” is one of the most common reasons why our customers are our customers. Having opened our doors over a decade ago, Mozenda has become a reliable and the secret weapon for companies that can use web data to discover their competitors’ strategies and reveal their operational tactics.
Some of our customers are global Fortune 500s with large IT teams; others are scrappy e-commerce retailers fighting to thrive for every edge they can get. Regardless of their headcount, Mozenda is a proven edge.
Having helped thousands of companies and scraped billions of web pages, it’s abundantly clear to us that accurate and up-to-date competitor data is one of the foundations of effective corporate strategy. While Mozenda can deliver data and actionable insight on your competition in dozens of areas, we selected five examples or use cases that you can copy:
1. Monitoring Retail Prices (E-commerce)
This is one of the most common—and most important—ways our customers track their competitors. If you run any kind of e-commerce site, B2B or B2C, it should almost be a daily requirement.
Price-monitoring use cases are numerous; how does your pricing compare to the marketplace? Are individual products above or below the most important competitors? If you’re a supplier and need to enforce MSRP floors, how do you monitor whether your retailers are respecting the contracted prices?
When pricing changes, or advertised prices are coordinated with PPC campaigns, how can you know what your responses need to be? Frankly, you can’t, unless you use an advanced, reliable, “proven by 1/3rd of the Fortune 500” tool like Mozenda. Otherwise, your business will leak customers and leave profit on the table.
With Mozenda, you can easily create an automated web data scraping Agent (your customized search and collect tool), capture your competitors’ prices, and build a reliable database to mine. After analyzing the data, you’ll learn where you are and be able to identify what business decisions you need to make.
2. Track Website Changes (Inventory Management)
Changes your competitors make to their sites can be an important source of knowledge about merchandising strategy, product churn, inventory fluctuations, and promotional cycles. Mozenda can provide you with the website extracted data so you can answer questions such as:
- What inventory changes have they made?
- What products are no longer offered?
- Which products are new?
- What form factors are competitors selling?
- What products have been marked down or relocated to the Sale section?
- What are they doing with discounts and promotions?
- Have they added any new content sections to the product data template or format?
With Mozenda, you can extract web data (scrape data off of PDFs, download images and even take website screenshots) from nearly any website—even your own Intranet. Build an Agent once and then schedule it to run regularly and effortlessly to spot what’s changed.
3. Discover Hiring Trends (Recruiting)
One of the best ways to monitor the competition is to track their recruiting and staffing trends. What positions are they trying to fill? What departments are they recruiting for, and which offices? Mozenda puts this insight as close as your cursor so you can identify who they’re hiring, the skills sought, and the locations where they’re staffing up—all using data automatically scraped from their careers pages.
The information you need is already out there; it’s just a matter of using an easy-to-build Mozenda Agent to pull it together efficiently. Tracking their hiring and jobs data is a simple way to get a competitive edge.
4. Mapping retail locations (Distribution)
This is an example we learned of from a business consultant who uses Mozenda for many of the business problems his clients pay him to solve. One of them is a CPG category leader that wanted to build a geolocation database of retail locations where its competitors’ consumable products are carried.
The consultant created several dozen Agents to scrape a “Product Locator” map data available on competitors’ sites. After compiling the individual search results into a single dataset, the consultant was able to map all of the retailing establishments in various geos, the comparative market presence of competitors, identify market saturation and highlight retail locations that carried relatively few competitive SKUs. Those stores immediately became priorities for his client’s Market Development team.
5. Trade Shows and Events (Marketing)
If you’re in the marketing department of a company and trying to figure out which trade shows or events are worth attending or even exhibiting at, wouldn’t it be nice to find out what everyone else is doing? It’s a simple process to create enough Mozenda Agents to scrape the events pages of the 10-20 companies closest to yours.
There’s no shortage of events, conferences, expos and industry trade shows that would love you to buy a booth or an attendee ticket. Learning what older, more established companies are doing can be a simple and effective way to avoid unnecessarily risking your limited event budget.
This is especially helpful if you are personally new to an industry or your company is a market newcomer and unsure of where to go to conduct competitive research or spend some event marketing money.
As you can see, the competitive research use cases for Mozenda are many and provide ample returns for departments throughout an organization. We’ve heard many fascinating stories from customers over the years about what they did to uncover their competition’s activities. The common thread is that they all consider Mozenda almost a magic discovery tool that delivers a vital competitive edge.
Whether you’re a business owner looking for data on your competitors’ prices, you work in the research department of a large company and have been tasked with monitoring the inventory available on your competitions’ sites, or you need to know about the positions they’re trying to fill in their new branch, Mozenda can help.
Sign up for a free trial today so you can learn more about your competition than you ever imagined was legal. Or, if you would much rather have us use our internal resources to pull this data for you, contact our Professional Managed Data Services department for a quote.Free 30-Day Software Trial