Understanding the Competitive Landscape

At a Glance

A critical aspect of any business is to understand who your competitors are and how customers feel about them. Collecting feedback about feelings and experiences with your competitors is critical.


On this page:

About Competitive Testing

With the UserTesting Platform, you can get feedback on any experience that a contributor can see on the desktop computer screen, their mobile device screen, or their mobile phone camera. You can ask for feedback on experiences involving your product or service, or that of your competitors. 

(For our purposes, the term “competitor” involves other businesses competing with you to position within the market a similar product or service. But the term can have a broader meaning, one that extends beyond the boundaries of your particular industry. Sometimes, stepping outside your lane and researching similar features and functions in other industries can yield the inspiration needed to drive your own design innovations.)

For example, you can do the following:

  • Watch as contributors engage with your competitor’s website or mobile app.
  • Ask contributors to show you how they accomplish tasks and see whether they use your site or that of a competitor.
  • Watch contributors accomplish tasks on sites that your team considers best in class, even if those sites aren’t competing directly with your company.

Why collect feedback on competitors?

  • You know your company is the best. Observing people interact with your competitive offerings gives you a less biased perspective on your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, compared to what your company provides.
  • Observing people struggle with your competitors’ solutions will help your team build confidence in the solutions you offer.
  • Observing contributor delight when using a competitor’s solution can inspire your team to emulate and improve upon those offerings.
  • Feedback from contributors may also influence your understanding of who your competitors are.

Approaches to collecting feedback

There are a handful of ways to generate feedback that can serve your testing goals:

  • Collect feedback on competitor sites and apps:
    • Create a test with screening questions that identify people who are customers of specific competitors (e.g., “With which of the following companies do you have a rewards card?”).
    • In your test, ask these contributors to accomplish tasks on those competitor sites or apps, so you can observe their experiences.
    • Note that you can use this same approach to collect feedback on those competitor physical products owned by contributors. For instance, you can screen for people with a competitor’s car and collect feedback about that car through mobile camera tests).
    • Consider testing on a regular cadence—annually or quarterly are most common—to determine how your offerings evolve over time within the competitive landscape. Typically, 3–4 competitive experiences provide sufficient information.
  • Collect feedback on best-in-class sites or apps:
    • Take the same steps as the approach above, but point contributors to sites with features your team feels are best in class and that you want to learn more about.
  • Run a comparison test between you and a competitor:
    • Create a test with screening questions to exclude your current customers and customers who currently use a competitor.
    • Use the Balanced Comparison feature to ask contributors to accomplish one or two key tasks on each site, and then compare and contrast their experiences.
  • Run an exploratory test about how people accomplish critical tasks:
    • Identify critical tasks that your company helps people accomplish.
    • Create a test with screening questions that exclude your current customers. Then consider comparing this feedback with what you have learned from your current customers.
    • Provide open-ended tasks that ask contributors to show you how they accomplish those tasks and observe the sites and apps they use.

What to Avoid

When researching your competitors, specific actions need to be avoided:

Learn More

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