The massive industry known as eCommerce in fact spans many different sub-industries from apparel to electronics and everything in between. Just about anything you can think of is currently being sold on one eCommerce site or another.
Despite the tremendous amount of diversity that exists in the world of eCommerce, one thing can be said with near certainty of every single eCommerce store out there - no matter how unique the product is that the store sells, there is probably another store out there selling the same thing (or something very similar) to the same target market!
If that is the case, then you have to be asking yourself, how can I set myself apart from my competitors?
Don't get too upset though, because I have the solution for you, and it is called a "Unique Value Proposition." Your value proposition is essentially an answer to the following questions - what value does your service or product provide that is unique to your business, and how does your service or product benefit your customers.
A good unique value proposition can be used to make any homepage, product page, or ad better and more likely to convert. In this post we will go over the steps to creating and writing a unique value proposition, as well as a few examples of value propositions.
Step 1: What is Unique About Your Brand or Product?
In this step you have to focus on the first part of the phrase "unique value proposition" - namely, unique. What is it that sets your product or brand apart? If you really believe in what you're selling (which is probably a good idea if you're running a business) then it shouldn't be too hard for you to think of this.
Start by asking yourself questions like - What was it that made me want to start my business in the first place? How do I produce my products?
There are many different aspects of your business that can set you aside from other businesses. It could be you use better raw materials, you use a new production method, or even that you have a unique story related to your business and company culture.
As long as it's something that sets your store apart, your value proposition can be just about anything! For example, Zappos' proposition is all about the convenience and delivery of its products:
Best Buy on the other hand focuses on service and price:
Step 2: What is the Value of Your Uniqueness?
Now that you've thought about what sets you apart from other businesses you have to think about how that uniqueness actually benefits your customers - what is the "value"?
For example, you could be the only sweater producer in the world using alpaca wool rather than sheep wool, but if you can't tell me why that is a good thing I definitely won't care.
I did a bit of research and discovered that in fact alpaca wool is a luxurious form of wool that is similar to regular sheep's wool, but it's warmer and not as itchy. (Who knew?)
Based on that information, rather than using a unique value proposition like "The only alpaca wool sweater on the market," you should write something like "Alpaca wool - The warmest and most comfortable sweater on the market."
That is the exact strategy that American Eagle used when describing its new line of jeans:
Rather than focusing on what exactly is new about the denim they used, American Eagle explained why the new denim is beneficial - it fits better.
Step 3: Make Sure Your Proposition is Clear and Conveys Your Message
You can be the most unique merchant in the world, with the best value to offer, but if your customers can't understand your unique value in two seconds then that will all mean nothing. So the final step of the process is making sure your proposition itself is written very clearly, and conveys the message of your value.
That means that something like this value proposition below is no good!
I have no idea what "all-new Elston Last" means, so why would that make me understand the value of these boots? This value proposition example shows how important it is to make sure not to use any form of jargon or unclear wording!
Here is another example of a value proposition:
This proposition says nothing about the company itself, and presents no value. All it does is say stop drinking the tea you drink now, and drink our tea. Why should I care that you want me to drink your tea? Of course you want me to buy your products.
We can see from this example how important it is for your value proposition to clearly convey the message of your value and not just say that your products are good without backing it up.
OK, So What Can You Do With a Value Proposition?
Sure, making a value proposition sounds great, but what exactly can you do with it?
The first, and most obvious way to use a value proposition is on your homepage.
This proposition above makes it clear what the website is and what it has to offer. This is very important for a homepage, because you want your site visitors to immediately see why they should shop at your eCommerce store.
Your homepage isn't the only place that you can add in a value proposition on your website though. You can actually create specific propositions for different categories, or even product pages! For example, Home Depot uses a specific value proposition on its category landing pages.
You don't have to stop at just adding value propositions to your website though!
What do I mean? Well, let's say you're starting a new campaign and you want to raise awareness and drive sales, you can follow this same process to come up with a unique value proposition for the specific campaign and then use this proposition in your ads and emails as well!
Take a look at this email from Bed Bath and Beyond:
The email was sent as part of a New Year's campaign, and the copy of the email presents the exact value that I can get from the offer.
The same thing applies to Facebook ads and other online advertising platforms:
You can promote a specific campaign, or just use the value proposition from your homepage to drive traffic to your site and boost awareness. A unique value proposition can also be very helpful with a product launch.
Start Thinking About Your Unique Value!
Separate yourself from your competitors! It's time to start thinking about what makes your brand unique and how you can leverage that uniqueness to beat out your competitors. By creating a good, clear unique value proposition you can convey your unique message to your site visitors (and ad viewers) and in doing so, boost your sales!