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Creating a Unique Selling Position

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What You'll Learn in This Chapter

Learn how to give the customer what they want

Learn how to differentiate your company from the competition

Learn how to position your company in the digital marketplace

Learn the Big 5 of eCommerce

Once you've chosen your target customer and the needs you plan to fill, the next step is to create a unique selling position, or USP, for your product or service. In order to zero in on an effective and useful USP, we need to look at three types of market criteria. They are

  • WIIFM (What's In It For Me)
  • The Four Ps
  • The Big Five

We'll talk at the end of this chapter on how the integration of the customer niche and market niche criteria, if done properly, will give your USP more than just the sum of its parts. For the USP must be designed into the online storefront, not after it's up and running.

What's In It for Me?

The last thing you want visitors to say to themselves when they view your carefully constructed offer at your online storefront is "So what? What's in it to me?" It could be that you're not answering the ever-present question of the online shopper, "What's in it for me?" And you have to answer it in less than 10 seconds or they're off to your competitor.

Many years ago, a company called Federal Express (www.fedex.com) came up with a new concept: delivering packages overnight. Until FedEx came along, if you wanted to ship a small package to the next city or state or even across the country, you had to go down to either the local bus station, post office, or airport and hand the small package over to the bus company, post office, or airline for them to deliver it. You were pretty much at the mercy of these shipping companies who would deliver the package on their schedule, not yours. Back then it might take up to several days to have your package delivered because the bus companies and airlines were in the business of moving people or, in the case of the airlines, people and large cargo, not small packages. Then, it had to be picked up at the package's final destination! And though the post office would deliver small parcels, you never really knew when they would be delivered.

FedEx saw an opportunity here. All they had to do was convince the public that they could deliver packages in a convenient and speedier fashion. But they needed a slogan that would say that their package delivery service was better than those of the airlines and bus companies. And they needed to say it in one simple phrase.

After much thought, they decided that what differentiated them from their competitors was that they owned their own planes. This meant that customers could ship and receive products on the customer's schedule, and not the schedule of the airlines or buses. So what was the unique selling position that FedEx chose? We have our own planes.

It didn't fly with the public.

People didn't get it. "So you have your own planes," they said. "What does that mean to me?"

So, FedEx went back to the drawing board and came up with this: "When you absolutely, positively have to have it overnight." That worked. The public responded, and the rest is commerce history. Consumers didn't care if FedEx had their own planes. They didn't care if their packages were delivered by plane, train, bus, car, or Pony Express. The benefit to the consumer was that the package was delivered overnight, right to the recipient's door.

Another good example is Domino's Pizza (www.dominos.com). How do you differentiate one pizza service from another? Domino's differentiated itself when it first got started from the competition by promising to deliver your pizza in record time: "30 minutes or less, or it's free!"

There's a lesson here, one that you can use when creating your own unique selling position (USP). You need to always remember WIIFM: "What's in it for me?" This is what a customer is looking for when he or she buys. Phrase your USP in those terms and you'll go a long way in creating an effective and successful unique selling position.

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