Checking Out the Competition: Performing Competitive Research for Your iPhone App

Checking Out the Competition: Performing Competitive Research for Your iPhone App
So, you have a wonderful idea for an iPhone app? Good for you! However, how sure are you that the app you have thought of is not already out there in the market? Or how useful or marketable your app is, really?
While you think you may have the best idea for an iPhone app, chances are somebody has already beaten you to it in the market, or that your idea might be good but it is not really useful to customers or that it is not really marketable.
This is where good old-fashioned market research comes in. A little bit of competitive research will not only help you discover the apps that are already there and how your app can answer a certain need; it will also help you learn about marketing strategies to make your app the next best thing to happen in iPhone.
Below are some tips that can help you jumpstart your market research.

Does your app fulfill a need?

Needless to say, people buy iPhone apps because they fulfill a certain need or solve a problem. When you want to know more about the latest events and issues, you have a news app for that. If you want to check out today’s weather, a weather app gives you the answer. You want to snap and publish photos from your iPhone that look like taken by a professional photographer? Dozens of photo app answer that need.
So whether you are thinking of building a utility, productivity, or entertainment app, think of the following considerations:

  • Does your app answer a certain need or problem?
  • Are there other apps already existing in the market that answer your app’s intended solutions?
  • Will your app address that problem or need that makes it easier for mobile users to do the task on a mobile device than a desktop computer?
  • If the app you have in mind is similar to the apps that are already existing in the market, does it have additional features that cater to other needs and issues not answered by the others?

Standing out in the sea of iPhone apps

These days, there are so many iPhone apps that sometimes customers get confused which to buy. Or even if your app is free, do not expect that people will automatically download and use your app. It is much less if you ask people to pay to download your app, unless they are convinced that they need to buy it.
So how can your app get noticed in the market? It will help if you think of your own needs as well as interests. You are not just a developer; you are an app user. Do the apps that you see that are available right now in the market address the needs you want in an app? Or you think, “I just wished there was an app for this need?”
What about interests? Many apps out there are created cater to a lot of interests—from movies, books, sports, music, food, to pet lovers. If you like an interest or hobby or passionate over something, have you checked if there is an app catering to that? If not, why not you develop an app for that? In that way, you are not only developing any app; you are creating an app that you yourself would personally enjoy.
If you are running out of ideas, why not ask your family and trusted friends if they have suggestions for an app. Ask them for their interests as well and see if the app market has an app for those. Do not however ask people in Facebook or Twitter for their ideas. There may be legal issues in the near future as people from your network may claim that you got the idea for your app from them and did not provide proper credit.

Meet the competition

If you have an app that is not an original idea and there are already similar ones out there, that is fine. Just make sure that your app offers some new features that others do not have—features that would prod people to buy your app rather than the others.
One good strategy is to check the customer reviews of the competition. What do people say about their apps? What are their complaints? Have customers compared your app with the competition? Have they recommended which app is better? Checking the customer reviews is a way of knowing what the customers want and what will encourage them to drop one app and purchase another. Just make sure that when they drop or stop using the competition, they will troop to your app.
There are also online app analytics sites, services, and tools that can help you track your app’s statistics as well as the statistical record of your competition.

Test-driving your competition

It is also a wise business decision to actually purchase the apps of your competition. In that way, you will learn first-hand how the app works and how it differs from your app. Spending a little bit of your money in purchasing paid versions of the rival apps will let you know the advantages and disadvantages of your competition. In this way, you can reassess your app and its features to gain the attention of the customers.

Creating your app’s brand

It is also important to formulate the brand strategy for your app. The strategy includes the name and icon of the app which will help the product become more recognizable and memorable. If you choose a name that is hard to recall, how can people recommend your app to others?
Choosing the right name may be a challenging job, so make sure you have spent some time getting the perfect name for your app. This also goes with the icon as well. An icon is considered good if the icon enough reminds someone of your app, even without the app’s name. Pick your app’s name and icon that will immediately inform people the product’s functionality for easier recall.

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