Differentiating with Design: How UX Can Help You Thrive in a Competitive and Crowded Market

by: Visual Room
April 16, 2018

For senior executives facing strict budgets and time constraints, it can be very tempting to end development efforts as soon as a particular product has been deemed “good enough to release”.  While most business leaders would never dream of putting out a product that offers excellent design and awful functionality, they’re often more than ready to accept the opposite if it means that projected KPIs are achieved in the bargain.

While this is an acceptable approach for market-disrupting products, the increasing commoditization of technical competencies means that your competitors will be able to replicate or even improve your product’s features in short order. If these competitors enter the market with well-optimized production processes in place then they may even be able to undercut you on pricing. Once other businesses have caught up, the only thing you have left to differentiate your product is experience and design. If you aren’t able to offer users a front-end interface that’s quick, intuitive and easy to navigate then you may be unable to sustain your profitability in the long-term.

How Great UX Can Help You Create a Competitive Advantage

Saves Money Throughout the Product Lifecycle

Dr. Susan Weinschenk at Human Factors International (HFI) notes that at least 50% of programming time during an IT project is dedicated to reworking easily avoidable mistakes. She goes on to state that post-launch adjustments can end up costing up to 100 times more than similar pre-launch activities. These statistics clearly articulate the importance of an iterative design process that’s based on building cost-effective minimum viable products (MVP) that can be market tested to ascertain where the front-experience is failing to deliver.

While this will certainly help to weed out any obvious bugs and design flaws, it should also help to identify any incorrect assumptions that have informed the product’s development. By involving users in your design and development from an early stage you can build a strong reservoir of data which can help you save thousands of dollars in updates and patches and future customer service complaints.

Great UX Translates to Better ROI

Customer acquisition and retention are driving concerns for any business. But in an increasingly competitive digital marketplace engaging and retaining users is a tough ask even for industry-leading companies.

Just a decade ago, Sony was widely acknowledged as an industry leader in electronics; their TVs, sound systems and consoles provided an inherent guarantee of quality that attracted buyers across the globe. But as commoditization crept into the market and competitors like LG and Samsung began to offer similar user experiences, the Sony shine began to wear off. Instead of redoubling their commitment to serving user concerns through innovation, Sony decided to trust in the established reputation of their brand. Over the last decade, the electronics division that was once the crowning jewel in Sony’s portfolio has become more of an Achilles heel, losing a cumulative $8.5 billion over the 10-year period. Over the same time period design-aware companies like Apple and Amazon have built a rabidly loyal audience on the basis of their user-centric product designs.

According to statistics from Forrester, every dollar of UX investment can return up to $100 in profitability while reducing the likelihood of customer turnover by 15.8%.  Most importantly, customers that have positive experiences with your products are far more likely to become advocates for your brand. In a world where 92% of customers turn to their peers for purchasing advice, the value of an organic recommendation cannot be overstated.

Learn More About Differentiating Through UX

If you’re struggling to design for today’s digitally fatigued audiences then the book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind offers some excellent insights into developing and marketing a truly differentiated product.   At Visual Room, we incorporate many of these elements in our user-centric designs.