Have an idea for a mobile or web app, but don’t know where to start? In these early stages, performing a competitive analysis could be one of the most important steps you take toward building a successful product.
We do this with our clients not only to help solidify the “why” behind their idea, but also to test the viability of the product in the market before they invest the time and money to build it. And as an added advantage — it gives us an opportunity to identify potential roadblocks and learn from their competitor’s mistakes. So, how do you get started?
Peforming a competitive analysis begins by locating your competition.
Spend a few uninterrupted hours Googling keywords related to your product. Try to think of what people in your target market might search for if they were looking for a product like yours. Once you’ve searched thoroughly, repeat this process in the app store. ProductHunt is another great resource to find early-stage competitors who don’t yet rank in Google or the Apple App Store.
Then research the potential competitors you’ve found. What features do they offer? What is their value proposition and how do they stand out in the market? Do they have funding? What are people saying about them in reviews and on social media? Condense this information into a spreadsheet, so you can refer to it as you develop your own product.
Visualize how your product fits into the market.
Once you understand your market a little better, you can visualize how your product fits into it. At this point, being open to tweaking or even pivoting your app idea is essential. How can you offer a product that stands out and solves the common failures of your competitors? How can you better address the needs of potential users?
While this exercise may sound arbitrary in the beginning stages of product development, it can significantly shape your path to success in the long term. The more you accommodate to your market, the more you reduce risk and give your product a real chance at success.