Competition is the natural order in business, especially for ecommerce brands where it’s not just your local competitors that you need to worry about.

Customers are overwhelmed with options, and they want to quickly understand what makes one product or brand different from another. Knowing the right way to position yourself and your products can mean the difference between standing out and blending in.

That’s why it’s crucial for all entrepreneurs to understand how to both identify and communicate a unique selling proposition (USP) to help guide your branding and marketing decisions.

What is a unique selling proposition?

A unique selling proposition (USP) is the unique benefit that makes your business or product better than the competition. It’s a short sentence or two defining the specific and clear benefit that makes your business stand out when compared to others in your market.

Forming an opinionated and deliberate unique selling proposition, or unique selling point, helps focus your marketing strategy and influences messaging, branding, copywriting, and other marketing decisions, as well as prospective customers. At its core, a USP should quickly answer a potential customer’s most immediate question when they encounter your brand:

What makes you different from the competition?

Your USP plays to your strengths and should be based on what makes your brand or product uniquely valuable to your customers. Being “unique” is rarely a strong USP in itself. You have to differentiate around some aspect your target audience cares about, otherwise your messaging won’t be nearly as effective.

A compelling USP should be:

  • Assertive, but defensible: A specific position that forces you to make a case against competing products is more memorable than a generic stance, like “We sell high-quality products.”
  • Focused on what your customers value: “Unique” won’t count for much if it’s not something your target customers truly care about.
  • More…

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