Four easy steps to finding your USP

If you go online you will find numerous articles giving you all sorts of suggestions on how to find your unique selling point. There is lots of great advice out there. In this post I will attempt to cover this very broad topic with my top four top tips to finding your USP. In no particular order:

  1. Be the customer
  2. Know your competitors
  3. No BS
  4. Revisit revisit revisit

Ensuring your e-commerce business stands out from the crowd, deciding on your USP, in what is likely to be a busy market place, is possibly one of the most important decisions you will make. Differentiation in this day and age is paramount, so how do we do, how do we need to think and what do we need to do…?

Four steps to finding your USP

1: Be the customer

Who is your specific target market? What are their precise needs? What does your perfect customer really want? How does your product or service scratch their itch in a way that no other can do? What factors motivate their buying decisions? In order to understand this you must step into their shoes, get in their heads, engage them in discussion and on social media, test how different key words impact your target market.

Remember your USP has nothing to with you and everything to do with your customers?

Not only do they want to know what’s in it for them, they also need to hear the answer in language that makes sense. For example when Apple launched the iPod, they used the slogan “10000 songs in your pocket…”. This made far more sense to people than talking about memory capacity or something in gigabytes!

So, why not ask yourself:

  • What is your secret ingredient?
  • What do you do that makes you special?
  • What is the icing on an already fantastic cake?
  • What makes your customers feel special?

2: Know your competitors

Understand how you compare to a competitor’s products or services. How is your product or service perceived? Can you surpass your competitors offer and still be profitable? This could  be through a guarantee, promise or something around your values as a company?

One good example is TOMS Shoes Because of the unique ‘one for one’ program, TOMS was able to break into a 10,000 year old industry in less than a year. The market for shoes is an overcrowded one but TOMS managed to target a slightly different kind of market and did so very successfully. TOMS promotional video  made me want to go out and buy a pair!

Another example of an organisation that really knew its competitors is Pepsi. Pepsi understood that they were the underdog to Coca-cola, so rather than trying to create something completely different and unique, they played on their similarity to such a strong brand and ‘the pepsi challenge’ was born! This drew people in. It got people interested and their sales rose.

3: NO BS

Can you communicate in easily understandable language what your product or service does that is better or different from the competition. A USP is stated in one phrase or sentence that is both succinct and memorable. You have 60 seconds to impress me! Some well know examples include:

Avis – We Try Harder

FedEx – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”


Most marketplaces are subject to change, so it is really important to keep re-visiting your USP, to ensure that it is still relevant for today’s competitive environment. Dominos Pizza is a good example, they offered a unique guarantee “Pizza Delivered in 30 minutes, or it’s free” and it worked. However, over time this was copied by many other pizza and take-away services, so Dominos had to keep revisiting, changing and enhancing their offer to keep them unique and at the forefront of peoples mind. I am loving their current homepage slogan, ‘Lets get this dough on the road!’.

Finally, when thinking about what makes you and your organisation different, it is important to ask yourself, “if I went out of business tomorrow would anyone give a damn?”.