Preliminary market research

Before starting out in the e-commerce sector, businesses are advised to undertake market research to assess risks and opportunities. 

Market research enables an SME to be more aware of its risks, its competition and its opportunities. It helps the company define its e-commerce strategy and refine its goals in terms of turnover.

For e-commerce, the SME can use a traditional market research format. Above all, this involves answering the following questions:

  • What are the major market trends? What volume of sales does this represent overall?
  • Who are the consumers? What do they need? Where do they live? How do they consume?
  • Who are the competitors? How many of them are there? Where are they located? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the market opportunities and potential threats?
  • Does an e-commerce project have a place on the market? What can it contribute in the face of the competition? Can it respond to a genuine need? 

Analyzing the competition and consumer behavior on the internet

There are many tools for gathering information about the success of a competitor’s site as well as consumer behavior.

  • Google Trends. This tool makes it possible to explore the audience of a website or of multiple websites by simply entering one or more website addresses. Search results can be refined geographically or in terms of time.
  • Google Ad Planner. This tool, which is part of Google AdWords, enables analysis of competitor sites' visitor profile (numbers, ages, etc.).
  • Other indicators provide a better idea of the success of a competitor's site. For example, some tools allow a comparison of the number of subscribers to the RSS feeds of different sites. Another method involves exploring the statistics and activity of competitors’ pages on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

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Last modification 06.08.2018

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