Knowing your competitors, their strengths and flaws is the key factor to staying ahead in your industry.
Analysing your competitors' websites can offer a lot of insights that will help you be more informed in your own digital market strategy.
Competitive analysis is also used as a pre-launch user research method; it is a good approach to understand your target customer pain-points and create better products.
And as Terika Seaborn-Brown said in our formative research workshop at the UX&Design festival "Competitor/comparison analysis is not about playing catch-up, it’s about identifying gaps in the marketplace."
One of my clients has adopted this methodology before extending their list of services. Their business helps people find the cheapest and best courier service for their goods.
Limitation: Previously there was a gap in their services as they could only cover goods that could be transported in a parcel. For larger quantities users would be redirected to a competitor's website.
In order to improve their customers' journey and gain more revenue, they decided to fix this gap and add pallet delivery to their services.
As UX researcher, I helped my client run a UX analysis of one of his competitors' websites.
This involved: Guerilla testing, remote unmoderated user testing, user test analysis, UX design recommendations (desktop and mobile).
1. Identifying Competitors
We picked 4 competitors and tried to paint a holistic picture.
Tip: A good way to find out who your competitors are is to do a simple Google search based on your offerings. Type in relevant keywords people would use to find a business like yours ( while in an incognito Google browser) to see who is outranking you.
2. User Experience Analysis
Then we did a competitive analysis and looked at the overall UX, by focusing on questions like:
- Does it clearly and concisely tell the visitor what the business can do for them?
- Does it tell the user what actions to take and how?
- Do they have quality content – helpful FAQs, a blog with fresh articles to make their customers comeback?
A. Guerilla testing
I recruited 12 users from my list of friends, relatives – anyone who used courier services at some point in the past.
After explaining the process, I sent them the login details for WhatUsersDo platform, where they would complete some tasks on the website and speak their thoughts and impressions out loud.
Half of the tests were run on desktop and half on mobile.
B. User tests analysis
I reviewed all the videos and captured the major pain-points users had while navigating on the website. WhatUsersDo has a useful feature that allows you to add comments to the videos, mark the impact of each issue and also get a link for that specific part of the video.
Then I put together a presentation with all the issues and UX design recommendations, including screenshots and sketches.
Here are a couple of slides with the issues identified and a sketch for home page redesign.
After reviewing the 4 competitors' analysis, my client added the new service to their website, creating a smooth and easy customer journey.
The take away
Analysing your competitors will offer more than just a report of what you are up against; it will inspire you to improve your own digital presence!