Possibly the most important decision you make about your business is its Unique Selling Proposition. What do you offer that your competitor doesn’t? What do you do that makes customers want to come back? Do you have the best customer service team in the industry? Do you process orders in your sleep?
You can come right out and spam customers with your USP or they can experience it firsthand. As long as you understand that this specific area is your bread and butter, the customers will be much easier to come by and more importantly… they’ll come back. If you fail to recognize what it is you do best, you‘ll get stuck in customer acquisition mode and won’t build the loyal following needed for every successful online store.
Buyer: What makes you different? Why should I trust you?
Seller: Why my Unique Selling Proposition of course.
Buyer: Take my money!
Your Unique Selling Proposition can be a statement, a promise, a discount… whatever, but it should always add value, be as unique as possible and be communicated effectively.
In order to acquire a repeat customer a retailer must add value to purchasing or working with you. Let’s face it, no matter what it is you’re selling someone else is doing the same thing. You need that hook that separates you from your neighbor. It could be in the form of warranties, free shipping, guaranteed low pricing, price matching etc. You could include free samples or savings on large orders, but the bottom line is you HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!
You may have heard slogans on the radio like “Show us any advertised price lower than ours and we’ll beat it.” This USP offers a price advantage over all other competition, and incentivizes your purchase with them. If you can ingrain this price match guarantee into your customers mind, every time they make a purchase with a competitor they’ll have to make sure you don’t sell the same thing.
Other atypical offerings might include, free samples, free gifts, or useful branded items like bottle openers, pens, towels etc. ANYTHING that separates you from your lurking competitors, in a positive way can double as your USP.
For instance, Saffron Rouge is one of the first beauty retailers to focus exclusively on organics. They have specific qualifying criteria that all products must meet before being listed on their site and they make sure to communicate these prerequisites to their customers. They go further to offer free samples for every $50 spent, free shipping for orders over $100, and a free gift for orders greater than $140. Not only do they focus their selling proposition on organics, they offer a variety of extra incentives that adds value to your purchase.
Break the Mold
Don’t be afraid to get quirky with your proposition. You want to stand out in your customer’s mind and be remembered. Few online retailers create new products or revolutionary fulfillment methods; they just find ways to market everyday items in a completely unique way. Just take a look at TOMS Shoes. There are plenty of affordable and quirky slippers out there but what other company donates a pair to a child in need for every pair you buy? Stumped? Me too. They connect with the humanitarian in most of us, to make buying from them charitable.
Communicate Your Proposition
You want your USP to resonate within your customer. They need a reason to come back. Take the Dollar Shave Club. They offer a monthly razor delivery service at an affordable price. They touch on a number of Unique Selling Propositions like free shipping and viral marketing but they also do a great job of communicating their selling point – “Shave money, Shave time.” The URL itself reminds you of this every single time you visit the site or hear about the company. Most men after spending hundreds a year on razors, will be open to this cost effective idea and will be more inclined to make to the switch because they are so up front with their benefits.
The bottom line is every business needs a Unique Selling Proposition. It doesn’t have to be in your slogan or next to everything you put your name on but it should be very clear to you. Recognizing what it is you do best and catering your marketing efforts around those practices will lead to the retention of customers and the long term viability of your business. Take advantage and make what you do best different!