How to Write a Unique Value Proposition that Makes Your Brand Stand Out From the Competition

How to Write a Unique Value Proposition that Makes Your Brand Stand Out From the Competition
Charlene Boutin Charlene Boutin Feb 25, 2022 —  9 min read

Why should people buy from you?

If you struggle to answer this question, your brand probably needs a unique value proposition. A UVP is like a beating heart for an ecommerce business — it gives life to everything else in your brand.

Let’s define what a unique value proposition is (and what it isn’t) before diving into how you can write your own UVP that attracts ideal customers your way.

What is a unique value proposition (in ecommerce)?

First, let’s define a value proposition. Value propositions describe the value customers will get when they buy from a brand.

A unique value proposition is a statement that describes how a business delivers a specific benefit in a way that’s different from the competition. As such, a UVP needs to be clear and descriptive.

For example, here’s a unique value proposition from Bonobos:

“Everybody deserves a pair of pants that fits like a dream. Every pair of pants we make is meant to make you look, feel and act like your best self.”

Bonobos’ unique value proposition is built around the perfect fit for any build

What a unique value proposition isn’t

A unique value proposition is different from a company slogan. Slogans are short and memorable. But they don’t necessarily have to communicate the exact value proposition.

For example, Nike’s slogan is “Just do it.” This doesn’t tell customers how Nike is different from other activewear brands. But it does help build the brand and make them memorable.

Some slogans or catchphrases can also be unique value propositions. For example, let’s look at Dollar Shave Club’s original catchphrase:

“Shave time. Shave money.”

This is a slogan, but it also explains how they’re unique compared to other razor blade brands. They’re cheaper while also cutting out the time it takes to go buy more razor blades.

Why is a unique value proposition so important?

It’s in the name. A unique value proposition makes your brand unique. In a few short words, it tells your ideal customers why they should buy from you instead of your competitors.

For example, people may choose to buy at Eyebuy Direct because they put a focus on affordable, high-quality eyewear.

Eyebuydirect used affordability and high-quality as their unique value proposition

And as the barrier to entry for ecommerce becomes lower and lower, competition will only get worse. So the more you can prove your brand is unique, the more you’ll stand a chance.

A clear and concise unique value proposition also makes it easy for customers to know they’re in the right place. This is especially important if you have several types of products that can’t all be featured on your home page.

How to write a powerful unique value proposition for an ecommerce brand

If you’re a brand-new ecommerce business, it’s important to develop your unique value proposition before you write the copy for your website and product listings. The copy will flow from the UVP.

Here’s how you can develop your unique value proposition and stand out from the competition.

1. Know your customer first

You can’t write a unique value proposition without first knowing your ideal customer inside and out.

That’s because not everyone values the same things.

Size-inclusive apparel doesn’t matter to someone who wears medium. Affordable razor blades don’t matter to someone who makes millions.

So, even if there are several unique factors about your brand, they may not all be as important to your ideal customer.

If you haven’t already, develop your ideal customer avatar before going any further. A customer avatar outlines the attributes of your ideal customer. It does so in great detail, as if you were describing a living, breathing person!

Here are some questions to consider as you’re developing your avatar:

  • What is your customer’s demographic: their age, where they live, what’s their relationship status, do they have children, what does their budget look like?
  • What are some things they value?
  • What do they fear, and why?
  • What do they desire above all else?
  • What do they hate?
  • What annoys them?
  • What pains do they deal with on a recurring basis?
  • Where do they love spending their time?
  • What do they think about when they go to sleep at night? What keeps them awake?
  • How do your products fit into their lives? How does it help them solve their pains, fears, and frustrations?

Developing a customer avatar takes time and dedication — you may even consider running a demographic survey to collect more information.

We could go on and on just on this topic (there are entire books on this!). But what you should remember from this is that you shouldn’t skimp on this step. Your customer avatar is the foundation from which you’ll make all your business decisions. So it’s super important to get clear on this first.

2. Brainstorm all the benefits of buying your products

Once you know who your business serves, it’s time for a brain dump of all the things your products can do.

At this point in the process, you shouldn’t censor yourself. List out all the possible benefits your ideal customer will get from buying your products.

You should also list the benefits of buying not just your products, but buying from you as a brand.

You don’t have to think of unique things, either. Just list everything first. You can clean up this list later.

Not everything on this list will be a slam dunk. It’s important to get all the bad ideas out first before you can land on something that really shines!

3. Keep what makes your brand stand out

After you’ve laid out everything on the table, it’s time to do some cleaning up.

Look through all the points you’ve listed and remove anything that isn’t particularly unique. Keep anything that makes your brand stand out or gives you an edge over your competitors.

In some cases, it’s the combination of benefits that can help you stand out. For example, a product that’s affordable is easy to find. So is a product that’s long-lasting. But affordable AND long-lasting? Depending on your niche, that could be a rare combination.

Here’s an example from Monos. They’ve developed suitcases that are durable, but also lightweight. For people who travel a lot, that’s a great combination of benefits to have, and it sets them apart.

Monos’ unique value proposition is built around lightness and durability

4. Write a first draft of your UVP

You now have the ingredients. Now, it’s time to craft your unique value proposition.

You can play around with it, but make sure it’s clear and concise. Sometimes making a UVP too clever or quirky can make you lose out on the intended meaning.

But how long should your UVP be? It depends on several factors.

For instance, where will you showcase it? Several ecommerce brands use the hero section of their home page to publish their latest promotions or products, like you’ll see on David’s Tea:

Unlike many brands, David’s Tea uses their hero section of the home page to feature ongoing sales

When that’s the case, the UVP will usually be found elsewhere, such as:

  • The About page
  • The Why Us page
  • Another section of the Home page

But other brands decide to place their UVP at the forefront of their online store, right in the hero section:

Four Sigmatic uses their hero section of the home page to feature their UVP

Four Sigmatic doesn’t use the hero section for their latest products or promotions. Instead, they use it to tell new visitors that their products can help make their everyday magic thanks to crash-free coffee.

If you want to showcase your UVP on the hero section, it will need to be relatively short and concise. In any case, you should always try to make it as concise as possible — as long as the message gets understood.

Just remember that a unique value proposition isn’t a tagline! Taglines can represent a UVP, but they’re not necessarily the same. For example, the wellness brand Cori has the simple tagline “Wonder in”, but their UVP instead states:

“Our products are crafted from nature, responsibly sourced, and – just like you – all natural and good.”

Four Sigmatic uses their hero section of the home page to feature their UVP

5. Take your UVP out for a test run

Your unique value proposition isn’t final until you’ve tested it with real people.

There are several ways you can test your UVP. First, you can gather people you know who fit the description of your ideal customer avatar. Have them read your UVP and tell you what they understand from it.

If you’re already an established brand with customers and an email list, you can also send a survey to your subscribers.

By testing your UVP with real people, you’ll find out important information, including:

  • What message gets across when people read it
  • If anything is unclear about it
  • How it resonates with your ideal customer: even if it’s clear, it might not appeal to your ideal customer

This step is important because it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own head when coming up with new branding material like this. Showing your UVP to people outside of your business will provide a fresh perspective and help you validate what you’re doing.

6. Optimize your UVP

Based on what you’ve discovered while testing your UVP, it’s time to optimize a new draft.

If people said the value didn’t seem clear, try making it clearer. If they didn’t seem to connect with your UVP, try using a different benefit or outcome.

Every time you optimize your UVP, you should test it again. You won’t know you’ve landed on your perfect version unless you try it out!

5 great examples of unique value propositions

Feeling uninspired for your own value proposition? Let’s take a look at what some other successful ecommerce brands have done to stand out from their competitors.

1. PatPat

PatPat is an apparel brand designed primarily for children and moms, offering a wide variety of trendy clothing for maternity, nursing, and children of all ages.

They have a super simple yet powerful unique value proposition:

“We Make Quality Affordable.”

PatPat uses affordable quality as the cornerstone of their unique selling proposition

Their ideal customers are new moms who may not have a fortune to spend on clothes for herself and her family. But anyone who’s ordered clothing online knows that affordable clothing often lacks in quality.

In one sentence, PatPat puts their customers’ mind to rest. They know that quality is one of the things this brand values.

Sometimes all it takes is four words to get that UVP across!

2. Simba Sleep

Simba originally manufactured thread used in mattresses, until they decided to join the mattress game themselves. They make their unique value proposition quite clear:

“The perfect mattress didn’t exist, so we invented it.”

In their USP, Simba Sleep claim they’ve invented a perfect mattress

This UVP communicates several things:

  1. The perfect mattress didn’t exist elsewhere. Customers who struggle to find a good fit for a mattress will nod their heads in agreement as they read this phrase.

  2. Other brands don’t have a perfect mattress. Since Simba claims the perfect mattress didn’t exist, they’re also claiming, without being explicit about it, that the mattresses you can get from other brands are all lacking in some way.

  3. The perfect mattress now exists, and Simba has it. Because their UVP claims they’ve invented the perfect mattress, it’s pretty clear that’s how they want to stand out from other brands.

That’s how the best UVPs work — they communicate tons of information using as few words as possible.

3. Girlfriend collective

Girlfriend Collective is an activewear and loungewear brand focused on sustainability. Most of their clothing is manufactured from fabric that’s been made from recycled water bottles.

Their unique value proposition sums that up for new customers when they land on their home page:

“Your new favorite fleece is made from a bunch of old water bottles. Don’t worry, we cleaned them.”

The USP of the Girlfriend Collective brand is focused on sustainability

This UVP reassures customers that the activewear they’ll find at Girlfriend Collective doesn’t compromise on comfort and quality. At the same time, it lets them know that these products offer a more sustainable alternative to their usual favorites.

A UVP like this works well because Girlfriend Collective knows its ideal customers well. To their ideal customers, sustainability matters, but so does comfort and usability. The addition of “Don’t worry, we cleaned them” doesn’t necessarily communicate value, but it does help the brand connect with its ideal customers with a touch of humor.

4. Knix

Knix originally launched their brand with a single wireless bra that offered style and support with unparalleled comfort. I’ve included this brand because they’re a great example of what a longer UVP can look like:

“We’re redefining intimates. It’s time that all of us lived unapologetically free. Free from judgment. Free from self-doubt. Free to be yourself. That’s why all our products, from the most comfortable wireless bras to super-absorbent underwear, are designed to make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.”

Knix’s unique selling proposition promises a sense of freedom

Their core UVP is to help customers feel more comfortable in their own skin. But they take this message deeper by explaining how this comfort can also help customers live free from judgement and self-doubt.

5. Barkbox

To wrap it up, here’s another short and sweet unique value proposition from Barkbox:

“Give your dog exactly what they want.”

Barkbox’ UVP is putting the desires of pet dogs first

Barkbox is a subscription box for… you guessed it… pet dogs. Their subscription boxes are filled with themed toys and treats that can be customized based on what your dog likes.

For people who love to pamper their pets, this UVP works well! They make it easy for customers to do this without having to overthink it.

Craft a unique value proposition that attracts your ideal customers

Writing the ideal unique value proposition can be time-consuming. However, the effort is worth it. Not only does it communicate your worth to your ideal customers, but it can also help you make business decisions down the line. When you’re developing new products or writing copy, you can refer to your unique value proposition to make sure you’re staying focused.

Keep in mind that your unique value proposition may change over time. If your company vision and product lines evolve, go back to your original value proposition to make sure it still fits. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board!

Charlene Boutin is a freelance content writer & email marketing strategist for hire specializing in helping Ecommerce and SaaS businesses increase conversions by growing authentic relationships with their audience. She loves helping business owners tell their unique stories to capture the hearts of more customers.

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