What to Do if You Really Want to Copy Something
If you really like the design of the site, an individual solution, or a piece of content, you shouldn't copy it blindly. First, think about what you like: the structure, the presentation, the colors, an individual phrase, or something else. Then analyze the competitor's website to see if what you like really works well.
If the chips you like really work, you can try to implement them. But again, do not simply copy them but use them as an idea instead.
- If you like the colorful design, use different bright shades.
- If you like the usability, place the menu in the same place but with its own structure and use different but similar phrases on conversion buttons.
- If you like the structure of the landing page, rework it for your product and add something useful, interesting, and attention-grabbing.
This way, you will create something that works but is your own, and competitors won't be able to accuse you of copying their designs. You can also analyze more than one competitor so that you can find different successful solutions that will help you make conversions.
Even when using ideas from a competitor's site, do not forget that taste is subjective. You may like the site, but it may be unattractive to the target audience, and using it as inspiration would be a waste of money. Therefore, don't forget to test your site.
Of course, analyzing a competitor's website and conducting tests are more difficult than simply copying a solution you like without performing any tests. But testing is much more effective — you will understand what your target audience needs and can offer exactly that. Experts' Opinions: Why You Can't Copy Solutions from Competitors' Websites
Paul Lipen CBDO at NinjaPromo
We have several issues when clients come to us and ask us to copy complex functionality.
Here's one issue we faced: one client who asked to copy a calculator from a huge competitor. What was the problem? We could copy it visually, making the same fields and styling it the same way — that part's easy. But the calculator's backend had some logistics that were not visible. The competitor had his own tariffs, calculations, and variables that our calculator couldn't have, and it was all in the code and not visible when working with the calculator. We began to dig, but in the end, the calculator turned out to be a Frankenstein monster that was made by copying. In this case, it would have been easier if the client had immediately given us his costs and all the variables that would affect the calculations, and we could have created a unique calculator immediately. But we had to face the painful adaptation of a calculator that "must be copied from the competitor." If there is not one to adapt and no specialists, then there is a great chance that we will waste a lot of time and effort and not get anything working at all.
Here's another issue. Sometimes, clients ask us to copy a page from a competitor and adapt it to suit the client, but this little piece is tied to other pieces. For example, I copied a page, but it's linked to a few pages and forms. As a result, additional costs may arise.
There is also a problem when copying the design and style. The customer needs to indicate what he likes and what he does not like. As a rule, he can't like everything, so a guessing game from begins if the client doesn't tell us what, exactly, he likes. Ideally, you should go through the blocks and elements to discuss everything — what to leave or what to eliminate. In this case, you can get a similar style but an individually designed product. Ilya Radniany Head of Content Marketing Department at NinjaPromo
I'm not saying that copying is a bad thing, but copying needs to be done wisely. I'll explain why.
First, you need to meet niche and market standards, and that does not mean "copy competitors". For example, most hostels offer Wi-Fi. If you have a hostel without Wi-Fi, you will lose customers. All online stores have filtering — it is a must-have — so it is taken into account by both search engines and users. In any niche, there are set standards, and you must meet them.
Second, a common mistake I see is copying a competitor that is out of your league — for example, when a regional delivery service tries to copy the functionality of Takeaway.com. The regional service has a smaller variety of offers and a different business model, so it won't do any good to copy Takeaway.com. Instead copy something (not everything) from the companies in your league, and it will work better.
Third, imitating brands' mistakes can be harmful. Some business owners do not want to correct mistakes because they have competitors. Let's look at an example. The Lamoda online store (extremely popular in Russia and CIS countries) has some usability errors. If your internet marketer advises you to correct similar mistakes, you must refer to this brand, and buyers often chose this brand for its free fittings, fast delivery, and loyalty program. The same thing is true with Avito. It' site has a lot of errors, but because it has a monopoly in the field of free ads, people still use it. Customers of large brands put up with mistakes because of the advantages of the business. You have a different business and fewer customers, so you need to pay attention to errors and usability so that your audience converts better.
Finally, all businesses have different target audiences. Even two grocery stores in the same mall are visited by different people. There is no such thing as 100% audience crossover. Conversion is influenced by the smallest nuances, and if you blindly copy everything, you only do harm to your business.Alice Krupskaya Co-Founder of a rental service company
When we designed the first version of our service, there was almost no one to copy from. There are still very few competitors in our field, both in Russia and abroad, so we started looking for ideas in similar fields.
We carefully studied Booking and Airbnb and found an idea that seemed very good: displaying goods on a map. We thought it was convenient — if a person is looking to rent something, such as a bicycle or a tent, it is more important to understand where this thing is than how it looks. Our hypothesis was unanimously approved and sent to development, and the entire appearance of the site was created, taking into account the map display on half of the screen.
We spent a lot of time and effort on the implementation and then waited a long time for it to start being used by the site visitors. A year later, we decided to hide the map, leaving only the "Show" button. This month, we redesigned everything, so there's no map at all. Practice showed us that it is not needed. People on our site look for things to rent using filters and choose from the photos of these things. Have you encountered copying? Tell us about your experience. It's always interesting to hear your opinions!