Competition is widespread in ecommerce. Your competitors are constantly stealing your ideas and sometimes executing them better than you, leaving you in a precarious situation.
To survive in this industry, you must be flexible and move quickly and precisely.
The main goal of this article is to help you achieve that speed and precision by highlighting essential Shopify spy tools and their key features. We also discuss other ways you can spy on your competition.
Are you ready? Let's get into it.
The best Shopify spy tools: An overview
Before starting the article, we would like to show you this overview of all the best Shopify spy tools covered in this article:
|Tool||Main Focus||Pricing||Read Review|
|Sell The Trend||Product research||$25 / $40 / $100 per month||Sell The Trend Review|
|Thieve||Product research||$0 / $15 / $49 per month||Thieve Review|
|Meta Ad Library||Ad management||Free||Meta Ad Library Review|
|Anstrex||Product research||$0 / $30 / $50 per month per store||Anstrex Review|
|BigSpy||Ad spying||$0 / $9 / $99 per month||BigSpy Review|
|AdSpy||Ad spying||$149 per month||AdSpy Review|
|ProfitBusters||Design Inspiration||$25 / $38 per month||ProfitBusters Review|
|Ahrefs||SEO tool||$99 / $199 / $399 / $999 per month||Ahrefs Review|
|BuiltWith||Technology checker||$0 / $295 / $495 / $995 per month||BuiltWith Review|
|Koala Inspector||Revenue checker||$0 / $8 / $20 per month||Koala Inspector Review|
|Ali Hunter||Revenue checker||$0 / $10/ $20 / $50 / $150 per month||Ali Hunter Review|
|From $167 per month||Similarweb Review|
Note: By clicking on ‘Read Review,' you can go directly to the part where the tool is covered to learn more about it!
How do you pick the best Shopify spy tool?
Here's what you need to do. First, you need to have an objective. What is the main reason you're spying on your competitors?
Here's how you can determine your objective:
- Sometimes, you've already found a performing product. So, you start looking for more strategies to increase your conversions. In this case, your objective is to find more ways to increase conversions on that product.
- Other times, you are going through a sales dry spell. In this situation, your objective is to find a winning product.
When you find a fitting tool, try it out and see if it helps you achieve your desire.
Understanding your needs is the main way to pick up the best Shopify spy tool. Each tool you'll come across was built for a specific use.
To unlock its full potential, your objective and its objective must be aligned.
In the following sections, we will look at several tools and ingenious ways you can spy on your Shopify competitors.
9 Great Shopify spy tools in 2023
Tools are absolutely essential in the spying game. They help you stay competitive by simplifying your product research process. Some are free, but most are not.
If you are serious about building a business and making it profitable, you'll have to incur these costs at one point.
However, don't forget that there are several other great ways to spy on Shopify stores for free!
Let's look at a few popular tools you can use to gain an edge in your ecommerce business, shall we?
And in the end, we will also go over three great Shopify store revenue checker tools!
1. Sell The Trend Review
Sell The Trend is known for identifying winning products. However, the company also offers a tool called Store Intelligence, which you can use to analyze your competitors.
Using a Shopify store's URL, Store Intelligence can reveal detailed information about the store's traffic, products, pricing, orders, revenue, etc.
Tip: For more information about Sell The Trend, check out our in-depth review here!
Store Intelligence is loaded with awesome features.
Here is what you can expect to discover about your competition:
- Monthly traffic. The total number of visitors per month to a site.
- Average product price. Calculates the average price of a product in a store.
- Monthly orders. Amount of orders a store receives on average per month.
- Monthly revenue. This is Sell The Trend's online store revenue checker.
- Social links. Links to the website's social pages.
- Tech spend. This shows you an estimate of how much money a store spends on apps and other fixed-cost subscriptions every month. This includes Shopify subscription fees, Shopify Apps, email marketing software, etc.
- Tracking used. This feature shows you the main tools they use to track their user's activities on their website for ad targeting.
- Best sellers. Shows you the best-selling products in a store.
Compared to all the other tools we've reviewed in this article, Sell The Trend is average in terms of cost. It has three plans; Lite ($24.97), Essential ($39.97), and Pro ($99.97).
The Store Intelligence tool is only available on the Essential and Pro plans.
2. Thieve Review
Thieve can help identify products that other Shopify stores are selling. Also, after finding a product, you can use its supplier tool to find reliable suppliers on AliExpress.
It has a paid tool, Thieve Supply, which helps you find products for dropshipping on AliExpress. Thieve Supply provides a library of products that other Shopify stores sell.
It also has a free version (Swipe) that helps with general product research.
Remember, it exclusively deals with AliExpress products.
Tip: For more information about Thieve, check out our in-depth review here!
Here are the features to expect from Thieve:
- Product research. It has a curated list of well-performing products that you can browse, at no cost, to derive inspiration.
- Suppliers. Using its browser extension, Thieve helps you find suppliers of products on AliExpress.
Despite having a 14-day free trial period, you have to provide your credit card details to start using it. There are two plans; the Dropship ($15) and the Pro plan ($49).
On the other hand, Swipe (one of its tools) is free to use.
3. Meta Ad Library Review
Meta Ad library is a Meta product. It is built into the Facebook platform for transparency purposes. For entrepreneurs like yourself, this is a gold mine. It shows you the ads your competition is running and their creatives.
The scope of the Meta Ad library goes way beyond Shopify. As long as a business is running ads on the Meta platforms, you can spy on their ads.
It doesn't divulge all its targeting information, but given your niche, you can always make a calculated guess.
Here's what to expect from the Meta Ad library:
- Ad filters. These let you filter ads by country, category, platform, media type, language, etc. You can make your selections as granular as you like.
- Ad details. After loading the ads you like, you can check the specific details of one ad. For instance, you can check the active status, the date it started running, the platforms it's running on (Facebook or Instagram), the media, ad copy, etc.
- Ad library report. The library report is primarily helpful for people interested in social and political issues. Despite this, it can also help if you want to know how much people from a certain country spend on Facebook Ads.
- Ad library API. This feature is useful for users who wish to integrate the Meta ads library into their software. It allows users to make remote requests through their software.
The Meta Ad library is entirely free for all users. You don't even need a Facebook account to use it. Click here to start using it!
4. Anstrex Review
Anstrex is a combination of Shopify spying tools. Each tool solves a specific issue.
Some of its tools focus on ad spying, and others on store spying.
Here is a list of tools on Anstrex's portfolio.
- Anstrex Native. Focused on spying on native ads. You can find and replicate all the native ads a competing store uses.
- Anstrex Push. Focused on push ads. It allows you to identify well-performing push ads.
- Anstrex Dropship. This helps you identify winning products other Shopify stores are selling. It also helps you to identify suppliers and synchronize your stock with theirs.
Anstrex's tools come loaded with features to help you stay competitive.
Anstrex Dropship is great for finding winning products other sellers promote and collecting data on the performance of their stores.
- Retail store insights. Anstrex Dropship has a feature that gives insight into well-performing Shopify stores.
- Traffic sources. It allows you to identify different sources of competitors' traffic. In addition, it also shows you a monthly traffic breakdown and the ranking data of the competitor.
- Automated ordering. When a customer makes an order, this tool can help you make an order from the supplier. This function is powered by a Chrome extension, which can also import products from a website like AliExpress.
- Inventory management. Managing inventory can be difficult for a dropshipper with a big catalog. However, the Dropship tool monitors the supplier's stock levels on source websites like AliExpress and synchronizes it with yours.
- Viral product identification. Anstrex Dropship can identify various trending products on different social media websites. You can check the pages posting the products and spy on their stores.
Anstrex's dropship tool is available in three plans. The basic plan is free but has limited capabilities.
The standard plan costs $29.99 per month per store. The premium plan costs $49.99 per month per store.
5. BigSpy Review
BigSpy is an excellent tool for your advertising strategy. According to its website, it collects and stores 500,000 new ads every day from various platforms. It also updates pre-existing ads in its database daily. That's pretty cool.
The daily update implies that any data you get from the website is up-to-date and relevant.
The website stores all the creatives it gathered from various platforms. i.e., photos and videos. You can see and play videos from its library in real-time.
BigSpy has several critical features that you need to improve your success rate with ads. Check out some of the features you are likely to find useful.
- Facebook pages. This feature will let you search for a specific Facebook page and check out all its stats. A few stats about a page include likes, the number of ads it's running, its popularity, and the top countries visiting.
- Featured ads. Every day, the BigSpy algorithm picks the best-performing ads and places them on the featured page. All pro plan users on the platform can see these ads. If your ads appear on this page, it's time to return to the drawing board.
- Ad tracking. You might be interested in some ads and want to monitor their performance over time. The ad tracking feature allows you to achieve this.
- Powerful filtering algorithms. This is a typical feature of a system with a vast database. BigSpy allows you to filter through its database and find exactly what you need.
Unlike other spy tools like AdSpy, BigSpy has a free plan. However, it is useless if you really want to spy on ads.
For starters, it only shows you the top three results on Facebook pages. All the other features are inaccessible using this plan.
The basic version, available for $9 a month, is technically what some companies would call a free version. Its abilities are stripped down to the most basic ones. This plan is not sufficient for a small business in a highly competitive field.
To experience the power of AdSpy, we highly recommend the Pro plan. It gives you access to nearly all the features you'd need to launch your ad campaign.
6. AdSpy Review
AdSpy is an ad-spying tool. Its specialty is Facebook and Instagram ads, even though it includes ads from other platforms like Google.
Through its website, AdSpy claims it is the world's largest database of Facebook and Instagram ads.
AdSpy has various features to meet your objectives. Its goal is to provide you with the most value and a seamless user experience.
Below are some of the critical features of AdSpy:
- Enhanced search. AdSpy's basic search is pretty good. It allows you to generate results using more than 17 parameters—this can significantly improve the granularity of your results.
- Large dataset. AdSpy has been around since 2016. During all those years, it has collected and stored much ad data. Using the search feature, you can spy on ads that ran in October 2017.
- Quick results. Considering the mountain of data AdSpy owns, combing through quickly to find the data you want is not easy. However, through AdSpy's capable infrastructure, its algorithms can spit out relevant results in seconds.
For $149 a month, AdSpy promises full customer support. Additionally, it claims it will consider any feature requests you make.
The list of benefits doesn't end there; AdSpy's team will offer tailored advice on search queries you should be using.
There is no free version of AdSpy. You can only access and use its features when you pay the full subscription amount for at least one month.
7. ProfitBusters Review
The tool provides you with essential information about products your competition is selling.
It shows you Google trends, targeting suggestions for Facebook Ads, links to locations that could help you with design research, estimated pricing, etc.
For every product you view, you can also see a short list of similar products from which you can derive design inspiration.
Note: Unlike typical dropshipping, you can not use other people's designs in print on demand. This will cause legal issues with the owner. What you can do is draw inspiration from their work.
There are two essential features to expect from ProfitBusters:
- Targeting suggestions for Facebook Ads. ProfitBusters gives you a list of keywords for targeting on Facebook Ads.
- Social proof. It shows you the engagement metrics like shares, comments, and likes on social media. This is proof that the product is popular, other Shopify stores are selling it, and it can succeed if you try it out.
There are two plans for this tool—the basic and premium plans going for $15 and $38, respectively. You can check out their differences here.
8. Ahrefs Review
Additionally, Ahrefs helps SEOs (SEO experts) understand better what their competition is up to. This information helps them level up and stay competitive. This is probably what you will use Ahrefs for.
Organic traffic helps you lower the amount you spend on your marketing efforts over time. However, since building organic traffic takes time, you're better off starting now.
As an SEO tool, Ahrefs is not the only player in its category. Semrush is one of its biggest and most worthy rivals. Both tools have similar features, but each has its strengths and weaknesses.
There are several major functions that Ahrefs focuses on.
Every SEO tool (yes, including Semrush) you come across will likely have these functions:
- Keyword research. A keyword research tool helps you find and target keywords that are relevant to your website and possible to rank for. Keywords help attract more traffic to your site.
- Competitor SEO analysis. A competitor SEO analysis tool helps you identify unique strategies and keywords that your competitors use to outrank you. You can find content ideas and keywords for your site content to stay competitive.
- Site audit. The site audit tool helps you identify SEO issues in your website. For instance, it might identify broken links, resources that take too long to load, page load speed, site responsiveness, etc.
- Link building. Link-building capabilities help you identify opportunities to increase the number of high-quality links that point back to your website. These are crucial in ranking higher in search results.
It leads to an increase in the amount of organic traffic that your site receives.
Ahrefs and Semrush have at least each of these features and more.
Ahrefs has four major pricing plans. But, they no longer offer a trial period. To use the tool, you must choose a plan and pay upfront.
Don't be sad, though. If you want to use Ahrefs to monitor and improve your site's performance, you can use its Webmaster tools for free.
The plans are:
- Lite ($99). Great for small businesses and hobbyists.
- Standard ($199). Good for SEOs and marketing consultants, especially freelancers.
- Advanced ($399). This plan is suitable for in-house marketing teams.
- Enterprise ($999). This is the highest plan with unlimited access to all features. It is suitable for agencies and enterprises.
9. BuiltWith Review
Alright, if you have been working with Shopify for any amount of time, you've probably realized that it allows you to install and use apps.
Apps are meant to automate certain tasks and improve site performance in different ways.
You've also probably wondered which apps your competition uses. Not just this, you've probably wondered which other technology your competition uses to stay on top of their game.
We present to you; BuiltWith. It allows you to analyze a website, Shopify-based or not, and discover most, if not all, the technologies used to build and support it.
It can help you discover a tool to help recover abandoned carts, a tool to help you upsell your customers, one to import reviews, etc.
Businesses can use BuiltWith for various purposes like lead generation, sales, intelligence, and market analysis.
However, owing to the scope of this article, we'll look at things you can discover about other Shopify stores using BuiltWith:
- The apps a Shopify store has installed. This shows the apps a Shopify site uses to achieve certain goals.
- Mail host. This shows you the mailing host a Shopify store uses.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN). The content delivery network used, if one is used.
- The theme in use. Shows you the specific theme in use.
- Tracking and analytics. You can tell the tools used for tracking and analytics.
There are many more discoveries you can make with BuiltWith. A BuiltWith browser extension exists to help you spy on individual websites as you browse the web.
BuiltWith's browser extension is free for individual site lookups forever!
However, advanced features like sales intelligence, market analysis, and reporting require a paid plan.
There are three plans:
- Basic ($295)
- Pro ($495)
- Team ($995)
3 Great Shopify store revenue checkers
You've identified a store with a promising catalog.
You're getting the gut feeling that tells you you're onto something, but you don't know how to confirm that you're onto a winner.
This is where revenue checkers come in. They show you exactly how much revenue a Shopify store is generating.
For more ways to check an online store's sales volume, don't forget to check out our other article here!
1. Koala Inspector Review
Koala Inspector is a browser extension. It is lightweight and easy to use. All the data you need is organized.
You don't feel overwhelmed when you open it on any Shopify website you want to spy on.
Simple as it is, it is packed with powerful features. This is the only app you need if you are on a budget.
It does the job of Spying on other Shopify stores exceptionally well. Here are some of the features you can expect from this app:
- Live sales (revenue checker). This feature shows you how many sales a store has made. Combine this with traffic sources and ad campaigns to determine which strategy to use in your store.
- Shopify apps. It shows you all the Shopify apps a Shopify store is using.
- Best sellers. You see a list of the best-performing products on a Shopify store.
- Product stats. These tell you when the first product was published on the Shopify store, the cheapest product, the most expensive product, the average price of products on the website, and the total number of products.
- Shop traffic. Shop traffic is broken down into two segments; source and country.
- Retailers. For each product, Koala Inspector runs a check, upon request, to find retailers of a specific product. This does not always resolve, but it helps you find suppliers if you are a dropshipper.
Koala Inspector is hands down one of the most affordable tools so far. Considering all the features it offers you, its ultimate plan is amazing.
Use this plan if you are working on a tight budget.
The free plan is pretty decent. However, Koala Inspector limits the number of times you can use certain features by issuing credits.
The ultimate plan removes this restriction by allowing you to view as many ad campaigns as possible.
2. Ali Hunter Review
Ali Hunter is similar to Koala Inspector in various ways.
It offers users access to a Shopify store's revenue data, like the most recent items to be sold and their value.
Oh, and it, too, is a browser extension!
Ali Hunter has various features that offer unique perspectives:
- Website catalog. See all the products a Shopify store is selling.
- Best sellers. Products customers are buying the most on a competitor site.
- Recent orders. Shows all the orders customers have made on the website recently.
- Facebook Ads Library. Directs you to the store's Facebook Ads library page. On that page, you can see all the ads the store is running on Facebook and Instagram.
- Product discovery. Ideal for dropshippers. You can identify promising products that other stores are selling and replicate their strategies.
- Market research. This feature allows you to browse through products, ads, and stores selling various products related to a keyword you provide.
Ali Hunter has five plans. There's the free plan on one end and the $149.9 plan on the other end. Its most popular plan is the $19.9 plan.
The free plan shows detailed records for the two most recent orders. All the other orders' details are locked unless you subscribe to a paid plan. In contrast, Koala Inspector offers all these records free of charge.
You can learn more about Ali Hunter's pricing plans here.
3. Similarweb Review
Similarweb is mostly used as a traffic monitoring tool. However, it also provides general revenue information about a business.
You can use it to determine the amount of traffic your competitors receive from other marketing channels. This information can help you determine whether a new niche is worthwhile.
Further, Similarweb can help you determine which keywords a competitor is using to optimize their content for SEO. You can pick these keywords and use them to create content that generates significant organic traffic.
Similarweb has a myriad of features to offer. You will choose those that empower your objective and get charged for those. However, there are key features every Similarweb pro subscriber will get.
- Company revenue. It shows you how much revenue a company generates annually.
- Monthly visits. This is a breakdown of the monthly visitors the competitor site has received over a certain duration. By default, Similarweb shows results for the past three months.
- Bounce rate. This is the number of visitors who visit a competitor's site, view one page only, and leave. It is expressed as a percentage.
- Country traffic breakdown. With this feature, you will have insight into the countries which your competitor is getting most of their traffic from.
- Audience demographics. This is a breakdown of the age distribution of visitors on the competitor's site. It helps you to target the right age group in your ads.
- Top marketing channels. Typically, all websites use several marketing channels to attract visitors. This feature shows you the top channels that your competitors are using.
- Top keywords. SEO should be on your priority list. It helps you attract visitors to your website without spending on ads. The top keywords feature on Similarweb shows you the top keywords a competitor ranks for on search.
Similarweb offers you a free trial period. They also recommend a package that's based on your needs.
For instance, they can recommend a sales intelligence package that's packed with features that allow you to:
- Source new leads from over 100 million websites in Similarweb's database.
- Create insight-driven engagement on your Shopify store.
- Optimize your lead routing and scoring.
After the trial period, there are various plans you can subscribe to. Your subscription amount will eventually be determined by the number of features you want to retain access to or add to your plan.
A basic subscription will cost you $167 per month. This is the least amount you can spend on the platform. Depending on your needed features, you might pay up to $800 per month.
However, remember that the free Chrome Extension already gives a lot of info!
Why would you spy on other Shopify stores?
A business that doesn't spy on its competition is waiting to die. All the big companies do it.
Here are a few reasons spying on your competition should be on your to-do list:
- It saves you time. Ever heard the expression ‘reinventing the wheel' and how unnecessary it is? Spying on your competition prevents you from reinventing the wheel. Sometimes, all you need to do is what your competition is doing.
- It helps you prepare. When you know what your competition is up to, you can create measures to counter their innovations and protect your market share.
- There is no reason not to. Do it. Your competition is probably spying on you! There is no reason you shouldn't spy on them. You only stand to gain from it by learning something new or getting new ideas.
Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is great (definitely if it’s free!), but do you know what’s even better?
So, to help you with taking action with what you have learned in this article, take a look at the bullet points:
- Figure out your objective, then pick a tool from the list we have provided here that helps you achieve it fast.
- Don't worry too much about money, but also ensure you have enough to sustain your experiments for at least a month.
- Identify a niche, and do your market research to validate the niche. Start doing product research.
- Build a Shopify store.
- Develop an ad strategy and work on your creatives.
- Start optimizing your store, product, and ads.
- Start doing these things today.
This article has covered enough tools and methods to get you started. All you have to do now is take action.
Remember that these tools and methods are not substitutes for critical thinking. They are merely tools to help you get where you need to be faster. You must always ask yourself critical questions before making any decisions.
Best of luck!
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Want to learn more about Shopify?
Ready to move your Shopify store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- The 17 Best Winning Dropshipping Product Research Tools
- 10 Great Ecommerce Brand Store Examples (2023) | Inspiration
- How to Find Winning Dropshipping Products on Facebook? (5 Tips)
Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth how to start a Shopify store guide here.