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Do You Know Who Your Mobile Competitors Are?

Jennifer DeRome  |  December 14, 2015
Do you know who your competitors are? Sure you do. You watch them constantly and maybe even run competitor studies to see how your app compares. But when it comes to attracting and retaining loyal users for mobile apps, there’s another group of competitors you probably haven’t been watching: every other app in the app store. Consumers have grown accustomed to apps and games that wow them with a great user experience. And now they expect every experience to meet that benchmark. In other words, your business’ competitors aren’t the only ones you need to worry about. Any app that’s dedicated to creating a delightful user experience is now the one you’ll need to measure up to. For example, when users are checking the balance in their bank account, they’re not comparing that experience to other banks, they’re comparing it to all their other favorite apps, from Nordstrom to Flipboard to Verizon Wireless. That’s a little scary, right? The good news is that although your list of competitors just got a whole lot bigger, your opportunity to win the trust and loyalty of your target users has become even greater as well. Today I’m going to take a look at two reasons why you need to be looking beyond your traditional competitors to stay at the head of the mobile app race.

Great experiences are the norm

Uber made it so easy to get a ride that it became a verb. No one takes a taxi anymore, they “Uber.” The company has taken a necessary evil (grabbing a cab) and turned it into something we enjoy. So what does this have to do with your app—even if you’re not in the taxi or ride-sharing business? A lot. We humans are junkies for simplicity and ease of use. When we get a taste of it, we just want more. And before long we start to expect it everywhere. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, with no more effort than a tap and a swipe. While a slick interface and smooth workflow might wow users the first time they interact with an app, it won’t last. What was impressive last month is now expected as the norm, and anything that doesn’t measure up to that standard just seems worse by comparison.Micro-moments are a great example of this. Because our mobile devices are so easily accessible, we’ve become trained to expect immediate gratification for whatever task we’re trying to achieve. And we don’t have the patience to wait around. Our brains are naturally wired to move on to the next option if a task feels like it’s too much work. If a user can’t get what they want from an app immediately, they’ll ditch it and try another.

One bad experience can kill an app

Because we’ve had a taste of great app experiences, our tolerance for bad ones is getting increasingly low. A recent study by CA Technologies revealed that consumers ranked an app’s ease of use as the most important factor when determining whether to use, purchase, or delete an app. And  after just one use. Your app not only needs to solve an unmet need, it has to do it with the ease and simplicity they know they can have. Apps rarely get a second chance to win over users. In fact, one in four apps is abandoned after just one use.

Consumers aren’t comparing you to your competition

The moral of the story here is that your competition isn’t just the companies that offer a similar product or service. Mobile-first pioneers like Uber and Airbnb have trained us to expect a delightful experience, every time. That means everyone from consumer banking apps to my beloved Two Dots, and everyone in-between is competing with each other for our engagement (and dollars).  
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About the author:

Jennifer is a Senior Content Strategist for UserTesting. When she's not dreaming up new ways to connect with audiences, you can find her traveling around the world or enjoying a glass of wine with friends.