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Why a Unique Value Proposition Is the Most Important Element on Your Ecommerce Site

By on June 9th, 2020 Reading Time: 8 minutes

Think back to your last purchase—whether it was a coffee to go or something more substantial like a new laptop. Why did you decide to buy the item you did? 

If it was coffee, some potential reasons include: the convenience, the flavor of that company’s coffee, their friendly service, affordability, or eco-friendly packaging and ethical sourcing. 

If it was a laptop, you might have paid extra to get a product from a brand known for longevity and quality. Or, you splurged on the latest technology that allows you to create beautifully designed graphics and animations.

Both of those hypothetical situations have something in common: you bought the product out of all the rest. And why did you buy it? Because of the brand’s unique value proposition.

A unique value proposition is the combination of factors that make a product or brand different from its competitors.

As part of ecommerce marketing, it’s a short, sweet, and compelling copy that’s spread throughout your site. Boosted with the right visuals, it takes seconds to take in and packs the biggest punch for your marketing and sales.

In this piece, we’ll dive into a deeper definition of value propositions and take a look at some best practices for creating this critical marketing content.

What is a Value Proposition?

A value proposition highlights the consumer benefits of your product or service. A unique value proposition lays out why consumers should choose your brand or product rather than your competitors’.

Your value proposition isn’t necessarily a tagline or slogan, although it should still be short and sweet, and should take just a few seconds to grasp.

For example, Burrow has crafted a concise value proposition that focuses on how they’re changing luxury furniture to meet their customers’ needs. You can quickly understand how Burrow is positioning themselves and why you should try the brand. 

Source: Burrow

It’s the elevator pitch, but even more concise—a good value proposition takes just a few seconds to read and understand.

Let’s look at some best practices for crafting your ecommerce value proposition.

4 Best Practices for Ecommerce Value Propositions

1. Speak to your target audience.

Speak directly to your audience’s needs, wants, and concerns. What makes you the most uniquely qualified option for them?

If you target several audiences, you’ll need to craft separate value propositions.

For example, the value prop for your luxury line should be different from for your base line—those products might have different audiences.

2. Be obvious and clear.

You must ensure that your value proposition is clear and to the point. Every word that you include should make the product more compelling to buy.  Make sure you touch on the following questions in your copy: 

  • What products are you selling?
  • Why should someone buy your product over competitors’?
  • How will your product improve your customers’ lives? 

Don’t be vague, and never be cute at the expense of clarity. While humor or other personal branding tactics can be incorporated into your value proposition, you can’t afford misunderstandings here.

And you never want to make someone look for your value proposition. If someone on your page has to ask, “But why is this the right company or product for me?” and go looking for an answer, you could lose the sale. Because they’ll almost certainly bounce to find a competitor that does answer this question.

3. Be unique.

Ecommerce businesses often take content from manufacturers or other source. And sometimes that’s okay. No one expects you to re-create a product spec list into a beautiful piece of prose.

But make sure to include your unique value proposition in your product descriptions. Don’t copy one from the competition or a brand in another space that you admire. Your value prop is supposed to differentiate you from competitors and let consumers know why you’re the best option for them.

4. Focus on benefits.

Start by identifying how your service, company, or product helps your specific target audience meet a need or solve a problem. Brainstorm a list, and then pick some of the top benefits to focus on in your value prop.

Communicating Your Unique Value Proposition on Your Online Store

Once you have a unique value proposition, you need to work it into the right areas on your site. You can have a brand value prop, but you should also be able to communicate the value of various types of products.

1. On the homepage.

Tell people on your homepage (or critical landing pages) why you’re the ecommerce store they should choose. When possible, communicate this information above the fold. If someone has to scroll down to see why you’re a good option, they might bounce in favor of a competitor.

2. On your category pages.

Create SEO headers and footers on your category pages that include important keywords but also provide users with critical information about the types of products included. Why are they important, and what can they be used for? 

You can also include your brand value proposition, such as excellent customer service, generous return policies, or fast shipping.

3. On your product pages.

Every product page on your ecommerce site should reiterate the unique value proposition for your brand. You can do this in the form of buttons, images, or footer text, and the content can be similar from page to page. 

But you should also create a value proposition for the product itself in the form of a product description that utilizes strong feature/benefit marketing copy.

10 Unique Value Proposition Examples in Ecommerce

If you’re not experienced in creating unique value propositions, it may be a challenge at first. One of the best ways to craft your own powerful value prop is to learn from other stores’ examples. 

Here are five common value propositions and how some brands are creating unique versions of them.

1. Solve an important problem.

According to Mike Serulneck, a value engineer, you’re supposed to sell the problem you solve, not the product you provide. That’s because problems are personal. They’re felt by the consumer, and if you offer to solve the problem, the person is more likely to buy.

Source: Thompson Tee

In just a few words, Thompson Tee presents a value prop that solves a common problem: underarm sweat. It takes eight words to state the message and reiterate it with a guarantee so consumers have some extra confidence in the product.

Source: Hickies

Hickies puts its powerful problem-solving value prop in its meta description so you get it even before you click on the page. 

The Google blurb targets audiences: those who might have trouble tying shoes for physical reasons or those who care for people who do or people who simply don’t want to mess with shoe laces. Then it communicates the solution in quick, confident terms.

2. Make your customers’ lives better.

Sometimes you’re solving a problem that’s already being solved by a lot of competitors. In this case, your value proposition should stretch further to explain how your solution makes someone’s life better—not just in general, but also compared to other products.

The value prop for Heist Studios’ shapewear is right in the header: freedom of control. Shapewear isn’t a new product; it’s been around for centuries. But it’s known for being restricting, uncomfortable, and limited. 

Right away, this brand invites you to experience freedom and control.  Then it quickly tells you in a short paragraph and a few bullets how the product lives up to that claim.

The planner market is beyond saturated in 2020, but a few companies still manage to stand tall amidst the crowd. Passion Planner is one, due in part to the culture they’ve created. But their value proposition is what originally draws many users in. 

All planners help you organize your schedule, but Passion Planner goes a step further by creating a place for everything.

3. Put price front and center.

Price isn’t the only factor people consider when making a purchase. Sometimes it’s not even the most important factor. Consumers look for brands they can trust, with quality products or solutions that meet their needs. 

However, price sensitivity does exist. Basing your value prop on price can help you make the sale when you’re targeting price-conscious consumers.

Sagebrook Home capitalizes on pricing sensitivity by making two clear claims: It offers better products, but that doesn’t mean you pay extra. In fact, it claims to offer the products consumers want at the best price. That’s a strong value prop that will drive people to click the shopping button below.

Source: DressUp

DressUp’s ad includes everything you need to know about its value prop even before you click. It’s affordable, but the clothes are still trendy. Plus, you can get 50% off on daily deals and free shipping. Those are value props that resonate with DressUp’s target audience.

4. Make it about your customers.

We mentioned that Passion Planner did a good job of creating a culture to drive more sales. Making your value prop about your customers and that culture can be another great way to differentiate yourself. Just ask Apple, who leveraged brand culture to become a trillion-dollar company.

True Linkswear does a fabulous job of creating culture and making it about the customer in this value prop. What’s something most golfers want? To swing like the pros. And while Saturday morning putters know they aren’t going to make it to the Masters Tournament, they can at least look the part and join in on a timeless aspect of golf heritage with these clothes.

Source: Bachbox

Bachbox does a stellar job of connecting with something personal about the audience without stating it. When planning a bachelorette party, many people turn to Instagram and Pinterest to see what others have done. They want a fun, photo-worthy event to honor their friend, and this company offers that up in a convenient box. The fact that the value prop appears on top of one of those photos makes it even more powerful.

5. Compare your brand to others.

Another way to compete in a crowded space is to come out and say it: “I’m better than the others because…”

Here’s how two brands get that job done.

Source: Bliss

Bliss does a good job walking the line here because it never calls out specifics about the competition. But it’s all written between the lines. Bliss wants you to be happy internally so you have outward beauty. Between the lines, it reads: “Those other products are about creating outward beauty and don’t do anything for happiness.” The value prop ends strong, with Bliss saying: “We do what we say we will.”

Source: Hyphen Sleep

Hyphen does call out some specifics. Materials like memory foam and latex have some drawbacks—the brand doesn’t need to say what they are here. If you’re searching for something new, you already know. But it does say that its product comes from seven years of trying to beat the status quo, and the result is better sleep.

Don’t Forget to Test Your Value Proposition

The above examples provide plenty to start with when it comes to value propositions, and you can try out different versions and integrations for yourself. 

In fact, you should try out different options—because what works for one audience might not work as well for others. Here are two common ways to test your value prop.

1. Run onsite A/B split tests.

A/B split tests pit two versions of the same thing against each other to see how they perform. With marketing analytic tools, you can test different copy, images, designs, or types of value propositions to determine which ones drive more conversions.

For example, consider the Bachbox value prop above. If the company wanted to A/B split test, they might try the same layout with different background images, change the word “Celebrate” to another phrase, or use different copy altogether.

The key to split testing is that you have to test only one element at a time or you’ll never know which element caused the improvement. In the example above, Bachbox could change the copy of their value prop and test, but they would not want to change the copy AND the images at the same time.

You can always make tweaks to your value prop and test how it performs to find increasingly better methods.

2. Conduct a survey.

If you don’t have time to split test or you want to get something up as soon as possible, you can conduct a survey. Simply put the various options for a value prop in front of your audience via social media, email, or your website and ask a few questions:

  • Which one is more likely to cause someone to click? 
  • Which ad speaks to the consumer’s need best? 
  • Does your audience prefer one color over another?

Over to you

Ultimately, creating a high-performing and unique value proposition takes time. You must understand your audience, your product, your brand and your customer experience. But great value props drive better revenue, so it’s worth the work that’s put into these few words. Take some notes from the best practices and examples above and start testing value propositions on your pages and in your marketing content soon.

Leigh-Anne Truitt is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist at BigCommerce where she researches and discovers strategies to increase organic traffic. Prior to joining the eCommerce industry, Leigh-Anne perfected her marketing skills at The University of Texas at Austin and CanIRank.

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  1. Serena Martin

    Thank you Leigh-Anne Truitt, for featuring our Sagebrook Home brand in your article. We pride ourselves in manufacturing stylishly affordable home decor, furniture and lighting products for the trade.

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