While designing new product, you should always keep in mind that probably there are some other products out there, that are solving — or trying to solve — the same problems that you are planning to focus on. There’s nothing bad about it. Actually it is a proof that the problem you’re about to solve is real and needs attention.
Actually, lack of competition should be a warning, as it suggest that maybe the problem is not that common and there’s no need for a dedicated solution.
Competition lets us take a closer look on the area of the project that we’re dealing with. It is best to do a competitive analysis on an early stage of the project, when we still don’t have defined solutions.
In Talebook.io “Competition analysis” method is the last step of gathering data, which lets us wrap up all the informations we’ve collected on previous stages (during stakeholders and user interviews).
Make a list of competitive products
At the beginning you should think of what makes a competitor to your product. Basically, think of those products that are solving the same problems.
But there are 2 types of competitors, that you should take into account:
First one is a direct competitor. It means product that offers exactly the same solution as you do. For example a direct competition for your calendar app would be Google Calendar, Outlook or Fantastical.
But more specific feature, such as event reminders, could be provided by other kind of tools, like trello, to-do lists, messenger or even just a regular, non-digital organizer. These kind of products will be our indirect competitors.
It is very important to include indirect competitors in your research process as well, because it helps you to look at problems from a bit different perspective — and that may result in great, innovative ideas.
Select 5 to 10 competitors
It is usually recommended to analyse 5 to 10 competitors. That range guarantees that you will collect enough data to have a good insight, while at the same time you won’t have too much data to work with.
Analysis of all possible competitors is, most often, impossible — try to concentrate on a quality of the research rather than quantity. A good analysis of 10 most important competitors is way more valuable than analysing 20 competitors only briefly. According to the 80/20 rule, make sure that 80% is direct competition and the remaining 20% is indirect.
While searching for competitors you can use tools like Google search, Google Trends, SimilarWeb, Compete or Alexa. If you did a stakeholder interviews, you should already have an initial list of competitors to start researching.
Create a list of criteria
In Talebook we’re taking into account 3 most important elements of competitive products: Features, Strengths and Weaknesses.
In this sections you need to write down all the most important elements of the product. For example for calendar app, you can list features such as: Schedule events, Create an event, Invite guests, etc.
What can help you with creating the list of features is the product’s official website, where you can often find all main functionalities mentioned. Of course it would be best if you will spend some time using a competitive tool, put yourself in user’s shoes and experience the product .
Strengths & Weaknesses
Let’s think of what makes the particular product better that others. We should include our personal opinions here, along with opinions from other users, that we can usually find online. Great source of good quality informations are AppStore and Google Play.
Analysing reviews we can easily sum up what are user’s thoughts on a product, both positive and negative.
Try to write down 10 most important thoughts for each positive and negative side. It will make your analysis easier and keep you focused on the most fundamental aspects.
Competition analysis is a great way to understand problems that users are dealing with. It can provide you with insights on features that are worth to include in your product, as well as those that you’d rather would like to avoid. Talebook can help you to get through this process step by step enabling you and your team to stay organised with easy to use and beautifully designed documentation.
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