“How To…” Undertake a Product Comparison

A Product Comparison unlike a Competitor Analysis provides a simple way to compare product features or the product’s capabilities across multiple products. Undertaking a Product Comparison allows you to determine if your product is on par or has more or different or better features than your competitors’.

So how do we go about conducting a Product Comparison?

Step 1: Create a list of competiting products

Determine which products compete directly in the same marketplace as your product. You may want to provide a brief summary of each of these products before commencing the detailed analysis. The summary should include a general product description, its purpose and functionality.

Step 2: Undertake research

Just like a Competitor Analysis, Product Comparisons require research. Use available material such as marketing collateral and the web as the basis of your research.
However, if possible you may want to purchase or subscribe to products that you are comparing. This will give you an opportunity to complete the subscription or purchase process and experience the product as a customer. Using the product will give you the ability to test the product features and determine if the features are useful, a hinderance or just nice to haves.

Depending on the type of product, you may want to grab a few images and or record the use of the product. Its good to refer to the visuals time and time again to ensure that you’ve understood the detailed functions of the product.

Step 3: Create a Product Comparison table

There are different types of Product Comparison tables that you can use to evaluate one product from another.

  • Qualitative Product Comparison table
  • Quantitative Product Comparison table
  • Product Comparison checklist

The Qualitative Product Comparison table compares products in a rudimentary way. The features of each product for each competitor are listed and compared. The “best” product feature receives a score of 1, while the other products receive a score of 0. The Product Manager’s role is to list the feature and assign the score. The win/loss score is subsequently tallied to determine which product has the most “winning” features.

The Quantitative Product Comparison table has more depth than the Qualitative Product Comparison table. Each feature listed in the table for each competitor is assigned a weight (by the Product Manager) designating its relative importance. Scores from 1 to 10 are given to each product (by the Product Manager) at the feature level. The total score is tallied by summing the results of each weight multiplied by the score.

The Product Comparison checklist simply lists each feature and determines which product has this feature.

Step 4: Conclusion

So now that you’ve got a good understanding of your competitors’ product features, you’ll need to establish and present a conclusion. Part of your conclusion should determine if your product requires additional features. Be mindful not to simply add features because your competitor’s product has more features than your product. Its still important to consider product features in light of your customers’ needs.