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Why Similar Products Do Not Necessarily Mean Similar Amounts of Success

An explanation of why some products sell while others do not

There are millions and millions of products that are on the market today. With the advent of 21st century technology, there has been a major increase in the amount of products available to consumers. There are new computers, televisions, cell phones, and more, and one of the major advances of the past few years has been the introduction of apps. Apps are easy to produce and can be spread to millions of users’ smart phones within hours of releasing. With so much technology available to consumers in the 21st century, and many with similar functions, the question of why some products take off while others do not is a bit of a mystery. While there are some hypotheses that delve into the why, it is not an exact science. However, there are still many theories as to why some products see success, while others remain unheard of.

Anyone who was at least 10 years old in the early 2000s remembers the first extremely successful social media platform, Myspace. While Myspace had major success, it fell out of use as quickly as it came into the public eye. Somewhat to blame for Myspace’s demise was Facebook, a seemingly similar social media platform with similar functionality. The question is one of the most talked about in the 21st century: Why did Facebook last while Myspace did not? There is no clear cut answer to this question, however, there are many factors that have been proposed.

One of the main factors to answer this question is user experience. User experience is probably the most important feature when it comes to the differing successes of two seemingly similar products. If consumers do not find a company’s product simple to use with ease of access to all features, the product is almost doomed to fail. Facebook and Myspace had the same basic concept, but where Facebook outperformed Myspace was its simplicity. Myspace had an immense amount of customization options, while Facebook was simple. It did all the customization for you and was extremely easy for people to use. There is a reason that Facebook appeals to people of all ages and nationalities while Myspace never did; it allowed everyone to use it.

Similarly to the example with Facebook, in the 2010s the app, Slack, has been extremely successful for professional communication. There are numerous apps and products on the market that have been created for the same purpose, but the reason Slack has been so successful is its exceptional user experience. One example of how Slack has done this is through Slack polls, which can be used empower employees with the ability to gather real-time insights.  Like Facebook did a decade ago, Slack outperformed its competition by creating a better user interface with more prominent features. Because of this, businesses have almost ubiquitously decided that Slack is the best app available for professional use.

Final Thoughts

 

Whether it is Facebook’s triumph over Myspace, Slack dominating in the business world, or any other product’s victory over its competitors, there is a reason why seemingly similar products fail while others succeed. There is no exact science to determine the how or why this occurs, but user experience and other factors are definitely contributing influences in why some products flourish while others do not. 

More Stories By Eric Horowitz

Eric Horowitz is a professional eCommerce specialist. He had worked for major companies and graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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