After the execution of the internal analysis, the next step in setting up your ecommerce strategy is to execute an external analysis. Just like the internal analysis, the external analysis is part of the SWOT analysis for setting up an ecommerce strategy.
In the external analysis you will look at the external opportunities and threats for your (planned) ecommerce strategy. You should notice that especially the external opportunities are also available for your competition. Therefore you should have or create unique and competitive advantages using your strengths or improving your weaknesses.
In the external analysis you should analyze your customer audiences. Who are your current audience groups and what are the white spots and opportunities? For that you can execute quantitative or qualitative market research in finding the needs of your (potential) customers. Only when you have deep insights in the online behavior and needs of your customers you can develop and execute an E-commerce strategy successfully.
Also look at and analyze the market trends and technological developments to formulate opportunities or threats for your organization.
Another very important part of the external analysis is analyzing your competition. You have to analyze the competition for every specific customer group and product/services. Analyze the competition in different aspects like market share, growth, value proposition and formulate their strengths and weaknesses.
When doing market research you also should ask your (potential) customers about their opinion and preferences for specific competitors.
It’s also important not only to look at direct competitors, but also competitors who fulfill the needs of your customers with different and other products or services.