3 Tips for an Ecommerce Marketing SWOT Analysis


A SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – can help an ecommerce business improve their marketing, find new ways to promote their brand, and avoid competitive threats.

However, listing a company’s marketing strengths and weaknesses may not be enough to provide actionable information or help the company’s marketing staff make decisions.

There are some things you can do to make your SWOT analysis more useful, including selecting your competition carefully, identifying the marketing models of these companies, and learning how a strength or weakness is overlaps with opportunities or threats.

Listing a company’s marketing strengths and weaknesses, however, may not be enough …

Tip 1: Select Competitors Carefully

The marketing strengths and weaknesses of an e-commerce business should be considered in relation to its competition. You can’t say your business is great at email marketing if you don’t know how your competition is using it.

But which competitors should we consider? If your business sells workout clothes for expectant moms, for example, should you consider Amazon or Gymshark or both as competitors? Both sell workout clothes. But are they having an impact on your niche?

As of this writing, Gymshark does not have a maternity line. But the company does an incredible job marketing their workout clothes. So while you might not want to see Gymshark as a competitor when listing the relative strengths of your business, you can consider it when looking for marketing opportunities.

If you sell maternity workout clothes Gymshark might not be a direct competitor, but you can learn some lessons from how they market a similar product to similar consumers.

You probably wouldn’t include Amazon among your competition. It is as much a market as it is a retailer, and it has many other products. It would therefore be difficult to analyze its marketing.

On the other hand, you should probably consider Blanqi, which sells maternity training equipment specifically, for all four areas of your marketing SWOT analysis.

A company selling a similar product in a similar price range is exactly the kind you want to analyze. Understanding how your marketing tactics and performance stack up against that competitor will help you improve.

So do two things when selecting which competitors to consider for your SWOT analysis.

  • Make sure they closely match your niche. If you sell high-end maternity training equipment, compare your business to similar retailers.
  • Not all competitors match all aspects of a SWOT analysis. Gymshark can help you identify marketing opportunities, but may not be the standard for identifying strengths or weaknesses.

Tip 2: Identify Marketing Models

Going aimlessly through a competitor’s website or casually reading the company’s Facebook posts is unlikely to provide the information you need for a SWOT analysis.

Instead, look for marketing models that are one competitor or that appear across all competitors.

For example, one e-bike brand noted that competitors with only one physical location tended to promote low-cost bike trials and rentals in their email messages, while e-only brands tended to promote low cost bike trials and rentals. promote their customer service and relatively better guarantees. This idea generated ideas for new marketing opportunities.

Fuell sells its e-bikes online and offers 24-hour assistance.

Fuell sells its e-bikes online and offers 24-hour assistance.

Likewise, using SEMrush’s competitive research tools, that same e-bike company noticed that one of its competitors had different models for their pay-per-click mobile advertising compared to desktop. With a little more research, the brand was able to identify a few strengths over this particular competitor.

According to data from SEMrush, this competitor had more traffic from desktop PPC ads over the summer.  In the fall, most of the PPC traffic came from mobile.

According to data from SEMrush, this competitor had more traffic from desktop PPC ads over the summer. In the fall, most of the PPC traffic came from mobile.

Tip 3: don’t stop with a SWOT grid

Often times, a SWOT analysis will result in a simple two-by-two grid. Each quadrant can offer information, but it may not be clear how strengths interact with threats or how weaknesses impact opportunities.

We have 1.25 million email subscribers which gives us a powerful tool to reach customers.

We have over 11,000 positive customer reviews on our site. These reviews appear on Google.

We rely heavily on magazines and print ads to drive sales.

We’re not getting many new email subscribers as subscription rates have dropped 25% in the past year.

Develop our social media marketing.

Add new product lines for postpartum mothers and women with older children.

Major sportswear brands are entering the maternity market.

Magazine readership is dropping significantly, so it has become more difficult to get new customers.

To gain a better understanding, try what some business leaders call “Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Strengths” (TOWS) analysis. Note the clever inversion of word order.

A TOWS analysis organizes strengths and weaknesses based on how those traits interact with a business’s opportunities and threats. As with a SWOT exam, list all of your business’s strengths and weaknesses.

Next, divide your strengths into two categories.

  • Assets that create opportunities.
  • Assets that repel threats.

Also divide your list of weaknesses into two categories.

  • Weaknesses that hinder opportunities.
  • Weaknesses that amplify the threats.

When you plot your strengths and weaknesses on the grid, they overlap with opportunities and threats.

STRENGTHS We have 1.25 million email subscribers which gives us a powerful tool to reach customers. So we may be able to expand into new markets, such as promoting postpartum training equipment to new mothers. The aim would be to encourage women to trust our brand throughout the different cycles of life. Our 11,000 positive customer reviews are powerful protection against other brands entering the maternity training wear market. We know from customer research that bragging about these positive reviews often helps win a sale.
WEAKNESSES We’re not getting many new email subscribers as subscription rates have dropped 25% in the past year. Considering how important our email marketing list is to new product launches, we need to make sure we have a constant flow of potential customers who are subscribed. We depend on magazines and print ads to drive short-term sales. As magazine readership shrinks, we need to find new advertising media.

The resulting quadrants have different priorities and should indicate different actions.

  • The upper left quadrant, where strengths intersect with opportunities, should represent marketing benefits. Capitalize on these.
  • In the upper right quadrant, you play defense. These strengths defend your position in the market. Watch them carefully, but don’t change anything yet.
  • The lower left quadrant indicates concerns. If you don’t correct, you may not be able to take advantage of the opportunities in the square above.
  • The lower right quadrant indicates significant issues. Correct them.

Regular SWOT (or TOWS) analysis can help your marketing team improve your communications, advertising or any other promotional aspect.


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