Competitive Analysis and User Stories

In this episode we take a look at the top three closet apps to see where Encapsule fits in the market. We ask ourselves the same question that we ask of our clients, “What makes this one different?” Then we review the three user personas we created, which helps us make decisions about what features to include and is useful when getting ready to launch and market your app!

Full Transcript Below:

Alexandra:

All right. We are continuing with our project roadmapping, mock roadmap episode series. In this episode, this is number two. If you haven’t seen the first one, go check it out. It intros the app idea and has some really key information. This is episode two, and we’re actually talking about the marketing research. We’re going to talk about the user personas and also do competitive analysis with the other apps that would be competitors with this particular app idea. It’s been great information. So let’s take a look.

Alexandra:

Let’s talk about competitive analysis. We actually took a look at… Because there’s quite a few kind of closet apps and styling apps that are on the market right now. And this is a question that we bring to our clients all the time. If something similar already exists, why do you need to make yours, and what makes you different?

Andrew:

Right. And we hear that all the time like, “Hey, we want you to make this thing.” I was like, “Okay, I can already point to seven of those on the app store. What’s different about yours?”

Alexandra:

Yeah. So what were some of the apps that we took a look at, Aaron?

Aaron:

Yeah. So there was a lot of apps that were geared around building your wardrobe, taking a picture of each of your items and having your wardrobe on your phone. And I think one of the things you kept bringing us back to was that this doesn’t need to be a picture representation of your wardrobe. It just to show you what are the gaps that you have. And so I think that was the real differentiator to all the fashion wardrobe apps. We took a look at, like Stylebook and a few others.

Alexandra:

Yeah. Having downloaded and tried to use these apps for my purposes, I did feel like a lot of frustration with them because there was just so much work to get it all set up and taking a picture of every item or entering in every item in my closet. And even me who doesn’t have a ton of clothes, it was like, “Ugh.” My 35, 50 items, I do not want to do that. That does not sound fun. And I think they’re each trying to solve the same problem of when I feel overwhelmed in the morning, how do I make an outfit? But they were doing it visually within the app, and the point of the capsule wardrobe was to do it visually when you’re standing in front of your closet. And so with the Encapsule app, we’re shifting the problem from making the wardrobe solve that problem for you, to making the app solve that problem for you. So it’s like shifting the burden there a little bit.

Andrew:

That’s a good point. And I mean, that’s something I felt like we really kept coming back to was what is the burden of entry to this, and how do we lower that? Because we’d be like, “Oh yeah, they’re going to go through the screen. They’re going to create a category and then they’re going to add these things to it. And then they have check boxes and they can customize the check… And it was like, okay, that’s 12 steps. And so they just download the app and they’re not going to get through all that. So how do we kind of just make a basic, almost like Wizard, to kind get them in the door, get them using it with a super basic one. And then they’ve got these other things they can do after the fact. But it was a constant trimming of the fat and fairly hard, because you’re kind of like, well, these are really cool ideas, it’s going to turn a lot of people off if they have to go through all these steps.

Alexandra:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think and this is my sense, I don’t know how much this is true. I’m sure there’s research on it. But I do feel like people are less patient with their phones than they are if it were a web app. They might be willing to… Because you can type so much faster if you need to type in information or click through screens, you can do that so much faster with an actual computer versus being this on your phone. So it’s like if you’re making a mobile app, you really have to think about how many clicks… And we’ve done it even with the Overflow app. We literally really counted how many times does the user have to click to sign up for this thing, and it’s really important I think to lower that friction.

Andrew:

Go ahead.

Aaron:

Oh, I was going to just say, especially because in this case the market was pretty saturated on the app store. Any friction, they’re just going to download another of the 14 apps on the app store. So it was something that was always top of mind for us.

Alexandra:

Yeah.

Andrew:

And when I think of users using their cell phone to interact with an app, I think of them sitting on the couch with a TV show on also. It’s a bit different than being in front of your computer where you’re like, okay, this thing, this box and keyboard has my attention as opposed to I’m watching TV. I’m kind of messing with this thing because it looks cool. My kids yelling over here. It’s got to be pretty low friction.

Alexandra:

Yeah, absolutely. And the idea just of getting up from the couch and watching a movie and being like, “Oh, I’m going to pull out all the items in my closet and take a picture right now,” that was like… And I don’t mean to-

Andrew:

Throw shade.

Alexandra:

… throw shade on these apps. It’s just that I personally really wanted one, and I did find that personally frustrating. Okay. So after we kind of defined this problem and really solidified how it was going to be different from the other ones, Aaron, you came up with some user personas for us, so we could keep in mind who we were really targeting. So what were those personas?

Aaron:

Yeah. So when we were kind of thinking about who is using this, we broke it up into three different categories and we used this concept of personas to kind of put a name and a face onto these different categories, something that we can reference and latch onto. So we have our main category of Amanda who’s this mid-thirties, minimalist, environmentally conscious professional, and she has certain goals that are specific to her, such as quickly deciding if a piece of clothing fits into her collection. She’s about efficiency and minimalism. And then another category of user we saw was Madison who’s kind of this younger gen Z, possibly college student, fashion-interested. She’s more into the browsing or creating a bunch of different collections, exploring possibilities, seeing what’s trendy, that kind of thing. And then our smallest subsection was Michael who’s our age, 30, efficiency-minded male, because we felt that there was, while probably, very small some level of maybe a man using this or maybe a wife making a collection for her husband. And so we kind of put down all their motivations and goals, and just that helped us define what are the goals that we need to add into the screens and the user flow.

Alexandra:

Yeah. This is really helpful not only in the development process of when you are deciding what features you really need to build, especially when we’re talking about an MVP and like Andrew keeps saying, we are constantly pairing it back to see what’s the least that we can build to still have a successful project because everything is expensive, but it’s also really helpful to then, once you have the app, to turn around and put it in front of your marketing department, so they know who they’re targeting on the marketing side once you’re ready to launch. And a problem that we see over and over again is “everyone can use this app.” It’s like, I mean, potentially yeah. Everybody wears clothes. Everybody may want to have a more efficient process for getting dressed in the morning while still feeling proud of their appearance and ready to go out into the world. I’m sure everybody can relate to that feeling on some level. But who’s actually going to download and use the app? Not everyone.

Aaron:

Right. Saying if you make it for everyone, it’s going to be right for no one, that thing. Yeah. Well, and that’s a question that we ask our clients and ourselves too basically anytime we get an idea of, “Oh man, we should build this product. Whether it’s for a client or for us, it’s okay.” How are we going to market this? How are we going to sell this? How are we actually going to monetize it? And it’s an unfortunate, but real question that you have to ask yourself for, unless you’re just going to fund it yourself. Somebody’s got to pay for it.

Alexandra:

And sometimes it feels a little cheesy to be like, “Oh, would Madison want this? Would Amanda want this?” or whatever, but it still does help to at least create an archetype in your mind of the sort of person who’s interacting with your app. So you can more easily sift through those decisions because there’s so many that you have to make through the process.

Aaron:

I think one of the other benefits too is after we create the MVP and maybe it’s months down the road, you want to add new features, you can hand this to a designer and they can get up to speed really quickly for adding a new feature or developers.

Alexandra:

Absolutely.

Alexandra:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of our mock project roadmap series about the Encapsule app. I hope you got a lot of valuable information about our discussion on user personas and marketing research and figuring out how your app is going to fit in the market. For the next episode, episode three, we’re actually going to talk about user flows, wire frames, design. It’s going to be fantastic. So don’t miss that episode.

Originally published at https://blog.bixly.com on December 30, 2021.

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Bixly Inc.

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Python/JS developers ready to work with you! California-based software development.

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