100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN  |  JULY 13, 2020

100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN
JULY 13, 2020

6. Competitive benchmarking

6. Competitive Benchmarking

Here’s a research technique I never leave out of my design process. It’s Competitive Benchmarking. Sounds like an old school marketing technique, but in fact at an essential part of the research stage in the process of designing products. Let’s look at what Is Competitive Benchmarking and how it works. 

In a recent post about What UX Design Isn’t, I talk about the UX Design Sweet Spot and how it’s a balancing act between what the user wants and what the business wants. In this post we’ll look how to discover what the business wants through Stakeholder Interviews. 

competitive-benchmarking

What is Competitive Benchmarking?

The gist of competitive benchmarking is to glean best practices from businesses that have similar products to the product you’re designing.

So for instance, if you the UX Designer are working on designing an online shoe store, Competitive Benchmarking would be benchmarking—which means to evaluate—other online shoes stores such as Nike, Zappos or Vans. 

What are you evaluating? Here are the two things that I look for:

1.What are the competitors doing well?
2.What can we do better? 


So starting with numero uno, what are the competitors doing well?

Here, I’m looking for areas where these other products are crushing it, in terms of User Experience. And the goal is to identify these areas, or what I call best practices, and inject them into my own product. 

Now hold up. This doesn’t mean you should go out and copy what everyone else doing. It’s not about doing a mass copy+paste of Nike.com. That’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s more about extracting very specific best practices and applying them to your own product.

For instance, the Nike website does a great job at showing their products with stunning imagery. This is a best practice or principle that you can apply to your product. 

See the difference? It’s not about copying Nike’s images, it’s about taking the best practice of beautiful imagery and weaving that into your own product. That’s Competitive Benchmarking. 


The second thing I look for is, what can we do better?

I’m looking for areas of opportunity. So an example would be that one of your competitors has a really lousy checkout experience. It’s tedious and there are too many steps. 

This is an area where you can do better with your product. An opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. And what will happen is that users will prefer to use your product because you have the fastest checkout process in the west…and the east.

Still with me?

Furthermore, for me personally this technique is really helpful for visualizing what your product is going to be like. A lot of times when you start a project and you’re working with the Stakeholders, it can tough to imagine what kind of product they want. However, if the Stakeholders names a few products that do the same thing, that really helps translate a concept into something tangible. 
 

OK, but what products do I benchmark?

Start with your competition. I always bake a few questions about the competition into my Stakeholder Interviews. That’s a good place to start. You can also use Google to find out who your competitors are.

You can even benchmark other brands who aren’t your competitors. For instance, I love Aesop’s website and I typically reference it as a best practice for navigation. 
 

Presenting your findings 

Once you’ve identified your competitors and completed your benchmarking, the next step is to present your findings.

Less is more when it comes to presenting. I usually include a high-level list of the best practices, opportunities and then a slide for analyzing each competitor. 

I offer a Competitive Benchmarking template for students in the Butter Academy Online UX Design Course. Learn more, by hitting the link at the bottom of the page.

What is Competitive Benchmarking?

The gist of competitive benchmarking is to glean best practices from businesses that have similar products to the product you’re designing.

So for instance, if you the UX Designer are working on designing an online shoe store, Competitive Benchmarking would be benchmarking—which means to evaluate—other online shoes stores such as Nike, Zappos or Vans. 

What are you evaluating? Here are the two things that I look for:

1.What are the competitors doing well?
2.What can we do better? 

 

So starting with numero uno, what are the competitors doing well?

Here, I’m looking for areas where these other products are crushing it, in terms of User Experience. And the goal is to identify these areas, or what I call best practices, and inject them into my own product. 

Now hold up. This doesn’t mean you should go out and copy what everyone else doing. It’s not about doing a mass copy+paste of Nike.com. That’s not what I’m saying at all. It’s more about extracting very specific best practices and applying them to your own product.

For instance, the Nike website does a great job at showing their products with stunning imagery. This is a best practice or principle that you can apply to your product. 

See the difference? It’s not about copying Nike’s images, it’s about taking the best practice of beautiful imagery and weaving that into your own product. That’s Competitive Benchmarking. 


The second thing I look for is, what can we do better?

I’m looking for areas of opportunity. So an example would be that one of your competitors has a really lousy checkout experience. It’s tedious and there are too many steps. 

This is an area where you can do better with your product. An opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. And what will happen is that users will prefer to use your product because you have the fastest checkout process in the west…and the east.

Still with me?

Furthermore, for me personally this technique is really helpful for visualizing what your product is going to be like. A lot of times when you start a project and you’re working with the Stakeholders, it can tough to imagine what kind of product they want. However, if the Stakeholders names a few products that do the same thing, that really helps translate a concept into something tangible. 
 

OK, but what products do I benchmark?

Start with your competition. I always bake a few questions about the competition into my Stakeholder Interviews. That’s a good place to start. You can also use Google to find out who your competitors are.

You can even benchmark other brands who aren’t your competitors. For instance, I love Aesop’s website and I typically reference it as a best practice for navigation. 

 

Presenting your findings 

Once you’ve identified your competitors and completed your benchmarking, the next step is to present your findings.

Less is more when it comes to presenting. I usually include a high-level list of the best practices, opportunities and then a slide for analyzing each competitor. 

I offer a Competitive Benchmarking template for students in the Butter Academy Online UX Design Course. Learn more, by hitting the link at the bottom of the page.

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UX Design?

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UX Design?

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UX Design course.

 

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

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© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  ACCEPTABLE USE  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  AUP  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS