Differentiating Your Business

23.03.2017 |

Episode #4 of the course eCommerce fundamentals by Chloë Thomas


Welcome to lesson number four!

In this lesson, we’re looking at how to differentiate your business.

There are probably hundreds of thousands of eCommerce websites on which customers can buy products similar to yours. You need to create a reason for them to buy from you and to keep buying from you—something that differentiates you from all the other websites out there.

By differentiating yourself, you create a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for your business—the unique reason why customers will keep buying from you rather than anyone else. For your USP to be effective, you need to be really good at whatever you choose to differentiate in and be better than the competition; you need to be “best in class.”

The USP makes it easy for new and existing customers to “get” you.

The quicker a prospective customer “gets” you, the sooner and more likely they’ll be to buy from you.

The USP is also critical to the internal structure, processes, people, and marketing of your business. A clear USP that everyone understands will keep everyone focused on the right things.

There are seven USPs that work well in eCommerce. The first three are the most powerful (the hardest for your competition to copy):

• Customer Service – This aligns closely with a Delivery and Returns USP but is much more than getting the parcel out correctly. It’s about all the ways you communicate with a customer.

• Knowledge and Information – This is the value-add over the product. Your site needs to be the center for information on your products.

• Customer Base – This is one differentiator that is VERY hard and VERY expensive for your competition to steal. It’s also expensive to build; you need a huge list of customers who will consistently buy from you (think Amazon).

• Brand – Own your industry. Online auction = eBay; online bookshop = Amazon; fast fashion = ASOS. At the moment, there aren’t many more.

• Delivery and Returns – This is a major battleground. Speed, price, and reliability are key.

• Products – Exclusive products and products that are hard to find all play a part here, BUT so does your selection. Do the editing for the customer.

• Price – In commodity markets, there is still a lot of opportunity in being the cheapest.

Once you’ve chosen yours, you need to define your USP—define it in a statement that everyone in your business (and eventually your customers) will quickly remember and understand.

Catch up tomorrow, when we’ll be moving on to the Core Foundations, starting off with the website and how to get your site built right the first time.



Recommended book

“Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel, Blake Masters


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