Competitive Products

The study of competitive products is important because competitive products are alternative choices potential customers can pick over any new product.  Therefore, product developers must ensure that the new product they are developing provides potential customers with a compelling reason to purchase the new product over the competitive products.

Competitive product can be classified into the following  three distinct categories:Direct Competition, Substitute Products and Similar Products.

Direct Competition

Products that are direct competitors provide the same benefits to the customer and are aimed at similar target markets.  A great example of directly competitive products are Coke and Pepsi.

Figure 1. Coke and Pepsi are directly competitive products.

Another example of direct competitors is Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

Substitute Products

Substitute products allow the customers to achieve the same benefit using different technology.  For instance, a substitute product for a regular pencil is a mechanical pencil.  They both allow the user to make marks on paper but they use very different technologies.

Figure 2. A substitute product for a regular pencil is a mechanical pencil.

Another example of substitute product is the cell phone and the land line.

Similar Products

Similar products are products that perform similar functions but in different contexts or for different purposes.   Fans move air and propellers move water.  They perform similar functions but in different contexts.  Similar products are interesting because they suggest alternative ways to solve the design problem.
Figure 3. Propellers and fans are similar products.
Other pairs of similar product include staples and nails, paper shredder and sink garbage disposal and an automatic car washer and a dish washer machines.
What substitute or similar  products to people use now to achieve the benefits you want to deliver in your new product?  Why didn’t I ask about direct competition?


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