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Create your own ecommerce website and start selling successfully with ShopWired today

Create your ecommerce website on ShopWired today.
Start today with 14 days free

How To Perform A Competitive Gap Analysis

23rd January 2024

People performing a competitive gap analysis

In the competitive world of ecommerce, success doesn't just come from having great products or a visually appealing website. The real challenge lies in beating the competition. 

This is where competitive gap analysis comes into play. 

Whether you're launching a new online venture or seeking to enhance an existing one, mastering gap analysis is essential for staying ahead. Join us as we explore how to perform a thorough competitive gap analysis and how platforms like ShopWired can empower your ecommerce business.

Table of Contents

What is a Competitive Gap Analysis?

Competitive gap analysis is an analytical framework that compares your online store's performance and strategies against your competitors. The gap analysis process encompass your entire ecommerce strategy, including aspects like website design, customer experience, marketing effectiveness, product diversity and revenue.

Why Is a Gap Analysis Central to Ecommerce Success

In a world where consumer behaviour and market trends are constantly changing, agility and adaptability are key to survival and success. 

Here’s why competitive gap analysis is crucial:

Highlights weaknesses- A competitive gap analysis helps pinpoint specific areas where your online store may be underperforming compared to your competitors.

Uncovers opportunities- It reveals potential growth areas and strategies that competitors might be using effectively, which you can adapt or improve upon.

Enables market benchmarking- A gap analysis provides a clear understanding of where you stand in comparison to others in your industry, which is essential for strategic planning.

Guides goal setting- With a full understanding of your market position, setting realistic and achievable goals becomes more straightforward.

Key Steps in Conducting a Competitive Gap Analysis


A thorough competitive gap analysis involves several key steps. These include:

1. Evaluating your current state- Start by thoroughly assessing your current state and performance. Analyse your website traffic patterns to understand peak visit times and sources of traffic. Examine conversion rates closely to identify which products are performing well and which aren't. Customer feedback, collected through surveys or reviews, can provide invaluable insights into what customers appreciate or dislike about your service. Only by understanding where your business is currently at can you start to identify areas for improvement. 

2. Setting success benchmarks- Define what success looks like for your business. This could be in terms of market share, revenue growth, customer loyalty or other key metrics. Set these as benchmarks for success. 

3. Industry and competitor benchmarking- Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs provide a wealth of data on how competitors are positioning themselves, from their SEO keyword strategies to their content marketing approaches. It's not just about emulating their strategies but identifying gaps in their approach that you can capitalise on. This can involve anything from noticing a lack of video content in their marketing to a weaker mobile user experience on their sites.

4. Gap identification- This crucial stage is where you align your current performance with the benchmarks and insights gained from competitor analysis. It involves a detailed comparison across various parameters to pinpoint specific areas where your business is underperforming, as well as identifying your unique strengths.

How to conduct gap identification

Compare metrics- Look at key metrics such as customer service response times, website load times, conversion rates, and social media engagement. For each metric, compare your figures with industry standards and competitor performance.

Assess product/service offerings- Evaluate how your products or services stack up against those of your competitors. Are there features or benefits that they offer which you don’t? Conversely, identify unique aspects of your offerings that competitors lack.

Analyse marketing strategies- Review your marketing strategies in contrast to your competitors’. This includes digital marketing tactics, content quality, advertising channels used and customer engagement approaches.

Evaluate customer feedback- Customer perceptions can reveal gaps not immediately apparent through quantitative analysis. For example, if customers frequently praise a competitor’s customer support but rarely mention yours, this might indicate a gap in service quality.

Examples of identifying gaps

  • You might discover that while your product quality is high, your online presence is weak compared to competitors, indicating a need to strengthen your digital marketing.
  • Analysis might reveal that your customer service is efficient, but lacks personalisation, an area where competitors excel.
  • Perhaps your website has a high traffic volume, but a lower conversion rate than competitors, suggesting a need to improve the user experience or checkout process.

In essence, gap identification is about understanding the nuances of your market position. It's not just finding where you're lagging; it's also about recognising where you're excelling and how to leverage these strengths more effectively. By thoroughly analysing these aspects, you can create a more targeted and effective strategy to close these gaps and capitalise on your competitive advantages.

Turning Competitive Insights into an Action Plan for Ecommerce Success

Goal Plan Action

Armed with your gap analysis, the next step is to create a comprehensive strategy to address the gaps and leverage the advantages. Your plan should be your roadmap for steering your ecommerce business towards growth. Here are some common areas to focus on: 

    1.    Refine your product offerings

Assess your product range in light of the competitive analysis. Are there popular categories or niches that you’re missing? Consider adding products or features that address these gaps. 

Also, look for ways to enhance your existing products based on customer feedback and competitor strengths. This could include improving product quality, design or even packaging to enhance customer experience. 

    2.    Optimise marketing and brand positioning

Analyse the marketing channels and tactics that have been successful for your competitors. How can you incorporate similar strategies into your marketing plan? This might mean expanding into new social media platforms, trying out influencer marketing or investing in SEO and content marketing.

Differentiate your brand's positioning by emphasising what makes you unique, whether it’s your product quality, customer service, ethical practices or pricing strategy. If customers have multiple retailers to choose from, make sure they choose you. 

    3.    Enhance user experience and website functionality

User experience on your website is crucial. Make navigation intuitive, simplify the checkout process and ensure your site is mobile-responsive. Regularly update your website with fresh content, improved product descriptions and high-quality images. Remember. turning visitors into customers is all about providing a positive experience that entices them into purchasing. 

    4.    Elevate customer service and engagement

Implement a strategy for improved customer service based on gaps identified in your analysis. This could include offering live chat support, faster response times or a more personalised support experience. You could also enhance customer engagement through loyalty programs, personalised email marketing and active social media engagement. Regularly seek customer feedback and act on it to show that you value their input.

    5.    Leverage technological advancements

Stay ahead of emerging technologies in ecommerce. For example, if competitors are using AI for personalised recommendations, explore how you can integrate similar technologies. Use data analytics tools like Google Analytics to gain deeper insights into customer behaviour, preferences and buying patterns, allowing for more targeted marketing and product development.

    6.    Set clear goals and KPIs

Define specific, measurable goals for each area of improvement. This could include increasing website traffic by a certain percentage, boosting conversion rates or achieving a higher customer satisfaction score. Monitor these KPIs regularly to track progress and make data-driven decisions. Be ready to adjust your strategies based on these metrics.

    7.    Implement continuous monitoring and adaptation

 The ecommerce landscape is continually evolving, so it's wise to implement a routine for regularly monitoring both your competitors and industry trends. Be flexible and ready to adapt your strategies. This could mean switching up your marketing approach, exploring new market segments or adjusting your product line based on market demand.

By thoroughly implementing these steps, your ecommerce store will not only bridge the gap with competitors but also innovate and lead in your market segment. Remember, ecommerce success is a continuous journey of adaptation and growth. With a strategic action plan informed by in-depth competitive analysis, your business is well-positioned for long-term success and industry leadership.

Leveraging ShopWired for Ecommerce Growth

ShopWired is the UK's top-rated ecommerce platform, and for good reason. With a plethora of features and functionalities, ShopWired takes ecommerce to the next level. 

Here’s how ShopWired can complement and enhance your strategic efforts to help you keep ahead of the competition:

1. Streamlined product management

ShopWired’s intuitive dashboard makes managing and expanding your product catalogue effortless. Use it to quickly adapt your offerings based on your gap analysis, whether it’s adding new products, updating descriptions or optimising pricing. You can also leverage ShopWired’s integrations with print-on-demand suppliers and dropshipping services to efficiently expand your product range without significant inventory risks.

2. Optimised user experience and website functionality

ShopWired’s customisable free themes ensure your website is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly. A well-designed website enhances customer experience and can improve conversion rates. ShopWired’s themes are mobile-responsive, ensuring your online store provides an optimal shopping experience on any device, a crucial factor in today’s mobile-first world. 

3. Enhancing marketing and SEO capabilities

ShopWired comes equipped with built-in SEO tools that help improve your site’s visibility in search engines. Unlike most other ecommerce platforms, ShopWired also offers an SEO service where a ShopWired marketing expert will perform an SEO audit of your account and make recommendations to boost your visibility and rankings. 

Beyond SEO, ShopWired also has a range of marketing features for merchants to utilise, from email marketing tools to social media integrations, everything you need to connect with your audience is here. 

4. Empowering data-driven decisions

ShopWired’s dashboard provides a range of analytics to help you monitor the performance of your online store. From website visitors to most popular products and revenue made, tracking these key metrics from your ShopWired dashboard will help you reach your goals and KPIs. Additionally, merchants can utilise the power of Google Analytics by installing the tracking on their website. 

5. Provide superior customer service

ShopWired’s built-in CRM lets merchants quickly respond to inquiries and manage customer interactions to provide great customer service. A range of downloadable apps from the ShopWired app store provide more ways to interact with customers, some of these apps include: 

  • questions and answers on product pages
  • automated abandoned cart emails
  • back in stock notifications. 

6. Staying ahead

ShopWired’s platform is designed for agility and scalability. As your business grows and market trends shift, the platform scales with you, allowing you to adapt quickly to changes in the ecommerce landscape. Regular updates and new feature releases ensure that your online store stays ahead of technological advancements and industry standards. 

Want to try ShopWired for yourself? Sign up for a 14-day free trial today.  

Mastering Competitive Gap Analysis for Ecommerce Success

Growth Line Chart

Hopefully, this guide has given you the advice and inspiration needed to embark on your own competitive analysis journey. By meticulously identifying areas for improvement and understanding your competitive landscape, you can identify opportunities for growth and transform challenges into advancements. 

Remember, success in ecommerce is not a destination but a continuous journey powered by insights from competitive gap analysis. Embrace this method and watch your business not just compete, but lead and redefine your industry.


What is Competitive Gap Analysis in ecommerce?

A competitive gap analysis compares your online store's performance with competitors to identify improvement areas and growth opportunities.

Why is Competitive Gap Analysis important?

It helps understand market positioning, highlights weaknesses and uncovers growth opportunities in a dynamic market.

How often should I conduct a Gap Analysis?

Ideally, you should perform a gap analysis semi-annually or quarterly to stay updated with market changes and competitor strategies.

Can Gap Analysis improve customer experience?

Yes, it identifies customer service gaps and opportunities for enhancing your store's shopping experience.

How does ShopWired assist in Gap Analysis implementation?

ShopWired offers tools for product management, SEO and analytics to efficiently implement and track gap analysis findings.