Optimized Ecommerce EP 019 – Unique Value Proposition and What It Means in ECommerce
In today’s episode of The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, our featured guest Aleks talks about one of the most underrated factors why customers leave your site even before viewing your most recent offers. He also emphasizes the importance of clarity, how you could present your website to any potential customer without adding confusion. If you want
Welcome to Episode #19 of Optimized Ecommerce – Unique Value Proposition and What It Means in ECommerce. I’m your host for today Tanner Larsson CEO of BGS.
BGS means Build Grow Scale! It is a community that we founded where eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level.
We’ll be joined today by Alexander Nikolsky or Aleks as we call him. He’s a resident Revenue Optimization Expert who’s been with Build Grow Scale for almost three years now. Aleks is going to tell us why clarity is important when it comes to your website. He can’t stress enough why it should always be your top priority.
He will also introduce us to the idea of Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Aleks will show us how to apply this to your site to set your store apart from the competition and ensure that your customers will keep coming back for more.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Your site should be a portrait of clarity as soon as customers land on your store. From his first click up until he clicks that check out button, including everything in between. Your site should be clear on your purpose and your offer. It should be love at first click.
Unique Value Proposition is …
It is a promise of value to your customers that sets you apart from your competition. It could be a differentiator that makes you and your shop unique. It’s your commitment to providing a product or a service and why people should buy from you not from anywhere else.
Speak Your Customer’s Language
Position your products in such a way that it will be in line with your customers’ demands. Here are some ways to accomplish this: customer reviews, post-purchase surveys, and of course, social media. These can be your tools to check if you are connecting or disconnecting with your customers.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- Based on experience, ninety percent (90%) of customers have the tendency to leave a website the moment they see that the store or site is cluttered or unclear.
- It doesn’t matter how unique your product is, you will always have competition. Treat your competition as an opportunity to give your customers reasons why they should keep prioritizing you and your shop.
- You can set your company apart from the competition by providing them with superb customer service. Based on research, excellent customer service often always trumps low prices.
But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
Tanner Larsson 0:07
What’s up, everybody? Welcome back to the Optimized Ecommerce Podcast. I’m your host, Tanner Larsson, CEO and founder of Build Grow Scale. Today, we’re gonna be talking about some cool stuff. But not only that, you’re not going to be listening to me, I’ve actually brought on a really cool guest who is one of our revenue optimization experts and he is going to be taking you through what a unique value proposition is and what it means to an ecommerce business. It’s a very different perspective than what most people talk about when it comes to UVPs or unique value propositions. We’re going to be going into what they are, why they’re important, how they help you make more sales, and how they need to be configured and created specifically for your ecommerce stores. So with that said, this is Alexander Nikolsky, but we just call him Aleks for short. He is been with us – what were you? You’re hire number two or number one? Number two.
Alexander Nikolsky 1:01
Two. More than two and a half years now.
Tanner Larsson 1:06
Exactly. So he was one of the very first guys who came on board as a revenue optimization expert, trained internally through us. But Aleks, rather than me tell them about you, why don’t you tell a little bit about yourself and what you do with BGS?
Alexander Nikolsky 1:18
Sure. So what’s up everybody? I’m Aleks … And I’m one of the two OG RO experts in BGS. I’ve been with BGS for a little bit over two and a half years now soon to be three. I do many things but mainly I work with our amplified partners and helping them grow and scale their businesses using revenue optimization, and I love this stuff and everything that I do and I’m super passionate about it and I naturally thrive in this line of work because I’m naturally the analytical type and very detail-oriented. We actually have – they came up with a nickname in our company for me: the site whisperer because nothing escapes me on a website. It just pops off in my face.
Tanner Larsson 2:00
So how did you – tell them a little bit about how you wound up at BGS? Because you weren’t a normal hire.
Alexander Nikolsky 2:06
I was one of the original income insiders actually for a while. And I loved everything. Literally, my whole business changed. My whole life changed. From what I’ve learned from Tanner, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Then I started seeing results. And I love that, however, down the line, I realized that I don’t really like all of the aspects of the business, the fulfillment, the customer service, all of that was annoying me. The more I grew, I realized that and I found that I enjoyed a lot more playing with my website, making it look nice and work nice and all of that stuff. And at one point, I met Matt, and he just said, he offered me to join you guys, which was amazing. And the rest is history.
Tanner Larsson 2:54
Yeah, it’s been a good ride too. So Aleks, before we really get into the UVPs talk, what is the number one reason people bounce or check out from a website – not checkout, I should say, but leave from a website without purchasing.
Alexander Nikolsky 3:09
So looking at the industry as a whole, roughly 90% of people bounced from the website before they even look at the offer and by bounced, I mean, they just went and they just leave, they don’t scroll. They don’t click. They don’t do anything. And the number one reason for that is clarity. We find this over and over again. And what I mean by clarity is clarity in what your site has to offer and clarity in the whole buying journey from the moment they land on the website to the moment they checkout. We have this saying: clarity trumps persuasion every single time which means I don’t care how persuasive and how good your copy is on the website. If it’s not clear, and if it confuses people, they’re going to bounce. And when it comes to clarity, the number one thing that you need to get right is the value proposition. Or what your main company offers. It is the one thing to test and optimize. If everything else was taken away from us in our revenue optimization systems, and we can only test one thing, it will be the value proposition. It’s that important because it’s that thing that determines whether people will stay and read more and potentially buy or leave your website. The unclear or non-existent value proposition is the single biggest factor for people bouncing off your website in my experience.
Tanner Larsson 4:32
Well, let’s define it a little bit more for the ecomm crowd because a unique value proposition in a business book has a different meaning than the way we traditionally use it for ecommerce stores. So as it pertains to ecommerce, what is a unique value proposition?
Alexander Nikolsky 4:48
So basically, the value proposition in one sentence is a promise of value that you’re going to deliver to customers look at it as an offer, what you’re doing. Offering the main reason why a customer should buy from me. What’s in it for the customer when they come to your website? And the problem nowadays with ecommerce industry and the whole online community as a whole is everybody’s trying to sell a product instead of selling value, everybody’s trying to find the best selling product on AliExpress on Alibaba or whatever and try to go after that instead of finding an actual need in the marketplace, an actual problem that they can solve and selling that value. And the value proposition is basically a statement that number one explains how your product or service solves your customer’s problems or improve their situation, which speaks into the relevancy of your offer. Number two, deliver specific benefits which are the quantified value, the monetary value if you wanted to get in return, and number three tells your ideal customer why they should buy from your website and not from your competitors. By the way, if you think you don’t have competitors, you’re being delusional you have many competitors. So in one sentence, the value proposition should clearly communicate the relevance of your offer the quantified value and how it’s different from your competition. The whole idea is when people land on the website, they either think oh, this is not for me or they think oh, this is interesting. And let me read some more and see what they have to offer. You never want to have your customers confused because a confused customer will never buy. You never want to leave your customers confused. A confused customer will never buy but more still will never return to your website by retargeting or email follow up. You always want to have them leave in a state of Okay, I know this is not for me, I get it but this is not for me and I’m out. Or I know this is for me, but I can’t buy now because the person that left that said that’s not for me that doesn’t mean that that’s a no forever it just means they don’t want to buy now, but later down the line when they need to buy the type of product that you offer, if you communicated your offer clearly they’ll remember and they’ll come back if you kept Top of Mind awareness of course, which is the topic for a completely different video. But you either want them to know that there it’s not for them or know that it’s for them. Never have them confused. And even if they didn’t want it for them and they leave your website and they knew they didn’t want your product, but they saw how clear offer was, they might still recommend it to their friends or family when they need that type of product because they saw how cool and awesome your website was and how clear your offer was. This is very big – I hope everybody’s getting this.
Tanner Larsson 7:52
And the differentiation aspect is supercritical. Especially when you’re selling products that everybody else is selling. If you’re selling a commoditized product or Just something that a lot of other people are selling, like apparel. Apparel is one of those brand things that everybody sells t-shirts. Why should I buy your T-shirt? And that’s one of the first levels of UVP. So we talked about what they are, what are they not?
Alexander Nikolsky 8:20
So that’s a very interesting question to answer. I see this all the time. People will come up with a cute catchphrase or some slogan they think it’s value proposition but it’s not. Here are a few examples. For example, Adidas has a slogan impossible is nothing or Airbnb belongs anywhere or Apple has, think different or Avis has, we try harder. Slogans are not valuable propositions. Or for serious athletes Nike gifts confidence that provides the perfect shoe for every sport. A positioning statement is a subset of the value proposition but it’s not a value proposition. Or how about this, revenue-focused marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions unleash collaboration throughout the revenue cycle? What is that?
Tanner Larsson 9:13
A lot of words.
Alexander Nikolsky 9:15
Can you explain this offer to somebody and get it to your friend or your family? This is called blandvertising. It’s basically a marketing statement that tries to say something, but it doesn’t really say anything and you need to avoid this at all costs. The key when coming up with your value proposition is it should be written in your customer’s language. The way we say this is it should join the conversation that’s already going in their mind. This is super important. For example, if the conversation in the customer’s mind is they’re looking for a ratchet belt, but your marketing hole is a belt, then that’s a disconnect and you’re going to lose them there. Does this make sense? So the way you speak – the main way reason for this is the way you speak about your products and service is completely different than how your customers speak about, I’m just looking at your customer reviews, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. So in order to speak your customer’s language, you’ve got to first learn what your customer language is. And the way you do that is, again, through your customer reviews. you interviewed them on the phones, use post-purchase surveys, as we do on all of our websites, use social media, look at the comments on your posts and your ads, and whatnot. And use those words everywhere in your marketing. In fact, we, on one of our post-purchase surveys, one of the questions is, in what words would you describe our product to somebody – and that’s basically so that we can find the language that they use when they scrub our product. And when we find that out? We peppered those words everywhere in our marketing, basically in our copy, in our ads, in our emails. So this goes by the way for everything on your website. Every single copy in a website not just the value proposition but all of the product descriptions even your story page, about us page. If you are targeting a certain audience but you don’t speak their lingo there’s going to be a disconnect. You’re not going to get them not gonna get to them.
Tanner Larsson 11:17
Awesome. So value propositions just to clarify that point are – we’re going to get into examples and stuff in a second but what they are not is they’re not your tagline. They are not your slogan, and they’re not even a positioning statement. The positioning statement does attribute to a piece of the value proposition but too many people get confused with the tagline and or the or the slogan as saying that’s my value proposition that’s who I am. And usually, what Alex just said about speaking your customer’s lingo, your value prop, or excuse me, your value prop, your tagline or slogan should also be written in the customer’s language.
Alexander Nikolsky 12:00
Tanner Larsson 12:01
Those ones that Aleks gave you, most of those are not the way the customer would speak about those brands, but it’s what they’re trying to push. So moving on Aleks, what does a value proposition consist of? What are the pieces?
Alexander Nikolsky 12:14
So this will probably clarify a lot of the things that we talked about now. So the way we do it typically is in the form of a banner and a copy. Banner image. So number one will be the headline. This is the hook, the attention grabber. What’s the end benefit that you’re offering your customer or the main point that you’re trying to solve and it should be in one sentence. Then we have a sub-headline or two to three sentence paragraphs. And this basically further explains specifically explains the headline of what you do and offer and for who it is and how is it useful for them. Then we have three to four bullet points, which will be the key benefits and or features of your product or service, and we call these unique value proposition boosters, the key to remember is at least one of them should be unique about your brand. Then we have a clear and prominent call to action in the form of a button that will stand out from the rest of the banner visually and it should pop in their face, you can have a secondary call to action as well. But primary typically works the best but it all depends on the products and services that you sell. For example, if you have a SaaS company you can have a sign up now as a primary call to action if that’s the higher revenue-generating call to action and then the secondary is a link – should see a demo, for example, but for ecommerce purchases typically one primary is enough, like learn more or seek election or see a product or something like that. And then last but not least, we have the visual, we call it self explanatory visual, we are very visual beings. And we communicate much faster visually than with words. We’re much more visual than auditory. So by self-explanatory visual, what I mean is even if everything on the banner, all of the texts and the copy was hidden, and all your customer sees is that image, there will still be able to get what your offer is about the closer you get to that point with your visual, the better your value proposition is going to be. And looking at as a whole, your value proposition should answer four questions. Number one, what products or services your company is selling? Number two, what’s the end benefit of using them? Number three, who is this for? Who is your target audience? And number four, what makes your offer unique and different from your competitors? In other words, what’s your company about and why somebody would buy from you instead of your competitors. Simple as that.
Tanner Larsson 14:51
And you just touched on how to create it. You want to go into a little more detail on how to create a UVP?
Alexander Nikolsky 14:58
The best value proposition is clear, you should always strive for clarity first, remember clarity, trump’s persuasion every single time. If your value proposition makes people go, Hmm, then you’re doing something wrong. And you need to reevaluate. So the question that arises is what makes a good value proposition? Again, clarity, it should be easy to understand. It communicates the concrete results that will be delivered to your customers. It says how it’s different or better than the competitors. It avoids any hype and blandvertising, as we mentioned earlier. No the best, number one, by the way, if you mentioned number one, and if it’s backed by a certain authority, you should mention the authority otherwise people just call bullshit on it. So it avoids all kinds of hype and blandvertising and business jargon and it’s actually written in your customer’s language as we said earlier, and it can be read and understood within five seconds, within a few seconds. It should be very easy to understand. The key role of your UVP is to set you apart from your competitors. And again, if you are thinking that you don’t have competition, think again. We found on our partner websites that people check up to 15 competitors before making their purchase. So it’s very critical that your company stands out in that research phase. The problem is, Tanner, most businesses are not unique.
Tanner Larsson 16:27
Alexander Nikolsky 16:28
And the question that arises is how do you make an offer unique when everybody’s selling the same thing that you’re selling? That’s the number one question that we get. There’s no easy answer here. And we need to get thinking and self reflect and ask ourselves some hard questions. Of course, the unique thing that we come up with, if you don’t have anything, you should come up with something but you shouldn’t come up with something unique just for the sake of being unique. It actually needs to be something that our customers care about. For example. I don’t know if you’re You’re selling computers, and you try to market as your unique differentiator that your motherboards are black or blue or whatever. Nobody cares about it. And it’s useless in that case. So it needs to be something that our customers care about. So, this is the key. Hear this, your value proposition should come from something that you do better than the competitors, not from a clever copywriting.
Tanner Larsson 17:28
Or different. Or different. It doesn’t always have to be the better mousetrap. It could just be something different. A simple example would be spatulas. Everybody sells a white spatula and you offer them in pink. That’s your differentiator. It’s not the most powerful UVP but it is a differentiator. If everybody offers Betty Crocker white spatulas and you have the Tannertastic pink spatula. Now you got something different. It doesn’t always have to necessarily be better. It just has to appeal to the subset that you’re trying to target.
Alexander Nikolsky 18:02
Exactly, until the competition comes up with the same color –
Tanner Larsson 18:06
Yeah, cause that’s it. It’s something they can easily duplicate. Betty Crocker can make pink spatulas tomorrow. So you may not have that lead but it is some form of differentiator that you can use to at least initially penetrate a market.
Alexander Nikolsky 18:18
Exactly. So what you need to do is locate your competitor’s weaknesses and ask yourself by the way, if you don’t know what your competitors are run a post-purchase survey and one of the questions make it how many other sites that he checked before purchasing from us that will tell you all of the competitors So anyway, look at your competitor’s weaknesses and ask yourself, is your website easier to use? How, specifically? Is your product better tailored to the market? Is your product customizable? Is your product or service better? How is it better? Is your customer –
Tanner Larsson 18:58
Is it organic, is it eco friendly, is it sustainable? There are all kinds of different aspects of it. And actually, why don’t we just jump into some examples of boosters? What we just listed off are primarily UVP boosters. … some examples.
Alexander Nikolsky 19:13
Not yet actually, we’re gonna get those into in a minute. But these are things that people need to ask themselves so that they can differentiate themselves. Those will come as extras later but this is the main thing that people want to differentiate themselves by. So if you have lower prices, are your prices lower, is your return policy better or your customer satisfaction guarantee superior, Do you have free shipping, free returns, all of that in a red ocean of companies selling the same stuff as everybody else. Customer service is really the best way to stand out. And there are many surveys out there. Customer surveys are done by companies out there that found that people, Customer Service by far is much more important than lower prices, they will always opt-out for better customer service. So if you don’t have it already, doubling down on our customer service and giving your customers excellent experiences, definitely gonna make you stand out. Also, a value proposition is something that you stand for, a unique differentiator. I’ve been on keto, Tanner, for over a year now, and the main theme when it comes to keto snacks, and they’re … because all of these companies trying to monetize on it, 99% of them, they’re not only not fully keto, they have a lot more sugar than they should. But also most of them taste disgusting, or at least not even good enough. So I found this company called Rebel Snacks recently, totally recommend it, you can check it out. And I read their story and the number one reason they created a company is what I just said they couldn’t find tasty keto snacks on the market and what they did is that they made that their mission. We stand for delicious keto snacks because there are none out there and they’re fully keto, completely keto, and they taste delicious. I was amazed. The best snack that I’ve ever tried. So that’s what they stand for. And you should come up with something like that that you stand for that will be a unique differentiator if you don’t stand for something, you need to start right away. I don’t care if it’s the environment, I don’t care if it’s giving back to charity, changing the world, delicious keto snacks, vegan snacks, whatever, you need to have something that you stand for.
Tanner Larsson 21:38
That’s a massive differentiator but not even just that it also comes ties into the way people buy. We always say people buy from people, they don’t buy from companies. So typically, it’s the relational aspect or the friendly aspect, or the opposite. If they have a terrible experience with a human. They won’t buy from that company, either. Even if they like the car. You hear probably your parents or grandparents, the real crotchety ones that are like, I’ll never go back there again, I’ll never talk to that company or whatever because someone pissed them off, has nothing to do with the product or the service being offered. It’s the human element. So, but on the positive side humans want to identify with and they buy things based on their emotional need or their desire. But it ties to: do I identify with this brand that I’m buying from? Is it going to reflect the status that I want, whether it’s positive or negative, or whatever? If I buy this thing, are the people within my world going to think less of me because this company doesn’t stand for what I agree with? So all those different – then it’s all subconscious, we don’t even think about it as we’re going through it. But the value proposition that Alex is talking about helps set the stage and pave the way for that to be a non-issue in the sales process.
Alexander Nikolsky 22:58
Standing for something is what Apple made it explode like crazy. That campaign marketing campaign that they had like being the rebel company. People that buy that product mainly started because they identify with that mindset. It’s super important.
Tanner Larsson 23:15
Alexander Nikolsky 23:16
So I mentioned the value proposition boosters. These value proposition boosters basically little add ons, the value adds. And when everything else in the offer between you and your competitors is the same. It’s these little things that might tip the scales in your favor. And they work by the way, well, when they’re against competitors that don’t offer them. If everybody else is offering them then they’re not unique. So these are, as we mentioned earlier, things like free shipping, fast shipping, next day shipping, same-day shipping, free bonus with a purchase, bundle discount, customizable product, lifetime guarantee, free returns, all these kinds of things, as long as one of them are unique. For example, one of the brands that we work with has a lifetime guarantee on their product and none of the competitors have it. And that’s one of our unique differentiators. So if you have something where you can offer something like that, by the way, don’t just go crazy and offer a lifetime guarantee if you haven’t calculated that you can afford it but this company can afford it because our quality is so awesome and the best customer service ever. So anyway, these are little things that can tip the scales in your favor when everything else is the same.
Tanner Larsson 24:33
Where do these go on the site?
Alexander Nikolsky 24:35
These will be basically those three to four value proposition boosters, the bullet points we said like the headline, sub-headline, the bullet point, this will be those things.
Tanner Larsson 24:47
And then the boosters also can perform well on the product page.
Alexander Nikolsky 24:51
Yep, as well. Yep, below the Add to Cart button. But that’s a completely different value proposition specific to the product. This is a company value prop. Every product should have its own value propositions because every product has different values and problems than it solves.
Tanner Larsson 25:07
So that’ll be a whole nother episode that we can do guys. That you guys can listen to. To clarify that, again, you have the main UVP. And then you have subsets of UVPs as well that help further the sales process on specific product pages or specific types of categories or whatever. So you have different levels of UVPs at different points. As a very simple type of UVP that’s used further down the process and the sales flow would be your payment icons. They are a type of UVP. But they’re not relevant. They’re not unique to your mission statement or who the company is or what you stand for. That’s not what makes you unique. But at that process when it’s time to start considering payment. Payment icons are a very valid concern and they offer an extra level of trust when people do consider them. So there are different sets of UVPs at different stages of the buying process. We’ll go through that as well in later episodes, but understand that you can’t develop those if you don’t first develop your main UVP. A couple of other boosters that I wanted to touch on will be things that could be product specific, but could also be your whole brand specific and that would be things like, let’s say you you manufacture plastic items. And they’re water bottles or whatever if your products are BPA free that could – or everything you do is BPA free. Or it’s all recycled materials. Now those are also a product level UVP but they can also be woven into your main level UVP if it’s a company-wide statement. If you’re an eco-friendly, vegan, or you have some statement like GMO-free thing, and everything is that way across your company. Well, that’s a unique identifier that can be part of your main brand UVP and also part of your product or sub-level UVPs that we’ll talk about in a different episode. So those are just some different examples you guys can work with. But it’s supercritical. So, Aleks, we’ve covered the time. Why don’t we do a real quick summary? And wrap it up with your full summarization, basically?
Alexander Nikolsky 27:14
Sure. So we talked about the value proposition and its importance for your business. And we said that value proposition is basically a clear keyword, clear statement of your value that you deliver to your customers. It offers a clear explanation of what’s in it for the customer. What do you stand for? It gives clear answers to these four questions. What products or services is your company selling? What’s the end benefit of using those? What’s your target audience for this product or service and what makes your offer unique and different from your competitors? That’s number one, for the summary and number two is the structure which was a headline, sub-headline, three to four value proposition boosters, one of which at least should be one hundred percent unique to your company. Strong and clear and prominent call to action, and the self-explanatory visual that’s a summary of the whole thing that we talked about.
Tanner Larsson 28:10
Awesome. Alright, guys so big thing to start thinking about really, it’s gonna take a lot of thinking time there’s no easy way to get to a UVP without putting in some brainpower and some time, thinking about it, writing them out, scratching them out, writing out more of them and stuff. So that should be your homework after this episode. And right now guys we need you to do is if you’re listening on iTunes or Stitcher or whatever, make sure you click the subscribe button below. If you’re on YouTube and you’re watching the video version of the podcast make sure you subscribe and click the bell icon right down below so that you get notified with each new episode. And then also guys, if you enjoyed this episode, if you’re on your YouTube or iTunes or whatever, wherever you’re watching and listening to it, leave us a comment or review below. Let us know you liked it. Let us know what you’re thinking encourages us to keep going and also if you have ideas for future episodes, we’re always excited to take user content and then develop an episode based on that, so right now guys, please do that. If you need links to the podcast or the show notes or anything like that go to https://buildgrowscale.com/podcast/ , and you can get links to everything right there on that page. With that, we’ll see you in the next episode. Thanks, Aleks.
Alexander Nikolsky 29:14
I’ll see you later.
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Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?