The following product comparison template will allow you to see how your product stacks up versus your competition.
It is a simple, visual representation that will work wonders for product managers in small teams looking to benchmark their products against alternative options on the market.
A robust product comparison matrix will reveal to you which areas of product development you need to pour fuel on to remain competitive and which blindspots you need to pay attention to.
Template instructions and download
The below product comparison template is available in two formats: Google Sheets and Google Slides.
To use the template, select File → Make a Copy and edit away!
Prefer to work in Excel or PowerPoint? Simply open the Google Sheet or Google Slide file and select File → Download → Microsoft Excel or Microsoft PowerPoint, respectively.
We recommend you update this document quarterly, or at least twice a year to keep ahead of changes in the competitive landscape of your market.
How to fill out the product comparison template
Step 1: Identify competing products
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want 3 to 5 products to compare to your own.
Stick with products that share similar functionalities to yours. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to have Dropbox and Uber in the same product comparison chart. But Uber and Lyft?
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, here’s an easy way to find them.
Start with one product you know you want on the chart. It could be yours or someone else’s. Then use Google, YouTube, or Reddit to find similar products using search terms like:
“product X alternatives”
“product X vs”
“best [insert product category]” (eg. “best personal CRM”)
A good product comparison table will show you not only what you can improve on but also what you do well and can double down on.
For that reason, you’ll want to pick products that are doing better than yours and others that are doing slightly worse than yours on different criteria like customer satisfaction, website traffic, or the number of active users.
(Note that information can be hard to find for many private companies. In step 3, we’ll point you to websites where you can find some of this information for free. But for the rest, you may have to guesstimate.)
Step 2: Select your key metrics
Why do you want to create a product comparison table? What are you trying to get out of it?
Asking yourself these questions will allow you to nail the handful of data points you need to have represented in the table so that it is informative and helpful.
Features are a great start, but they’re not enough because the best company isn’t the one that out-builds but the one that out-serves.
To get a comprehensive picture of how your product is doing against others, you’ll want to add qualitative and quantitive dimensions to your table.
Some ideas to get you started:
- How does the company position its product?
- How much revenue they’re generating?
- What marketing channels they’re relying on to pull users in?
- How long has the product or company been around?
- What is the biggest complaint their customers have?
- What is the main advantage their customers see in their product?
Step 3: Collect the data
Now that you finished step 2, you may be wondering: “Where do I find this information?”
Here are a few places we recommend checking out that offer free data about just any company with an online presence.
For product positioning and branding:
- Website homepage (taglines and imagery)
- Social media
For product reviews:
- Product review sites
For product information, features, and pricing:
- Website product page
- The actual products (test them out)
For website and marketing data:
- SimilarWeb.com (only works for sites with at least 50,000 monthly visitors)
- Facebook Ads Library
- Keyword Research tools (SEMRush)
- Google News
For information about the company:
Step 4: Fill out the template
The final step is also the easiest. Open your template and start filling it out.
The template supports all types of data and we included a variety of examples for you to choose from.
The most common data type you will find in product comparison matrices is the checkbox. It is an easy way to represent and visualize boolean data (true or false), like whether a product includes a specific feature or not.
Text strings, numbers, percentages, and Unicode characters are other data types you may use.
For example, you can use the “star” Unicode character to create a scale representing how satisfied users are with a given product.
Here are some Unicode characters you can copy/paste into your template:
- Currencies: $ € £ ₹ ¥
- Stars: ★ ☆ ✪ ✦
- Checkmarks: ✅ ☑ ✓ ✔
- Cross marks: ❌ ✖ ☒ ✘
- Emojis: 👍 🙏 🙌 😍 😭 🥴 🥵 😎 🔥
Unicode characters add a 3-dimensional view to your product comparison template
Now that you have a clear view of the competitive landscape you’re playing in, pull out your product roadmap.
Does your product strategy align with what you’ve discovered? Will it keep you on the edge of innovation? Does it allow you to maintain your competitive advantage? And does it play to what customers value in a product like yours?
Lastly, consider sharing this document with other members of your company. This document is great for product management but could turn out just as valuable for your marketing and sales coworkers.