As consumers, we never think about what the words “Unique Selling Proposition” means, yet, this single concept determines where we allocate our daily spends. Having a unique selling proposition has always been what makes a difference for brands. A healthy USP is what sets a brand apart from others and why people would choose your brand rather than a competitor’s in the saturated retail landscape.
Retailers are increasingly feeling the pressure to innovate and most often than not, the emphasis on innovation is made on products, rather than processes. The question however is that how much innovation can realistically be done on product considering the tsunami of factories that are popping up in Asia? Your USP must offer something that is appealing and compelling to your customers, something that they feel they need but can’t find elsewhere.
Domino’s pizza is a good example of USPs. They first started by offering ‘hot fresh pizzas delivered in 30 minutes guaranteed’. It was guaranteed, so if it wasn’t achieved, then it was free. Not only that, hot and fresh is always appealing. One can argue that they were successful with their proposition because they didn’t only “innovate” around product, they also innovated around process i.e. delivery time.
Mid-tier retailers are currently very busy looking at the market to find what’s needed but not being filled by competitors. It gives them a chance to stay on top – just as long as they can deliver on their promise.
For example, direct-to-consumer manufacturer, Indochino is making waves in the US. They are a bespoke clothing company who make clothing based on your exact measurements. You just measure yourself, or pop into one of the storefronts, send them the info and in 2-3 weeks you’ll have a made to measure suit that fits you perfectly. For less than $400, that’s a good deal considering a custom made suit would normally cost between $1500 and $3000.
It is this type of service that appeals to those with some money to spend but are still price sensitive. It is a way to get a custom made suit at a lower price. Using technology to make the customer’s buying experience smoother is always going to be popular in a time-short population. Or will it? My next post will elaborate more on innovative retail technologies that are currently out there and I will attempt to analyse how and if these technologies may or may not meet the customers’ most fundamental needs.
Although there will always be customers who want merchandise from top designer brand names such as Gucci bags or Armani, suits, there are also those who love ‘affordable luxury’. A big business such as Amazon could use custom fitted clothing as a way to beat those mid-tier designers of the US such as Brook Brothers, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.
One idea doing the rounds over at Forbes is the possibility of Amazon creating a version of Indochino that also caters to women. They could use their Body Labs acquisition to create a measuring system for customers. Amazon would be in a great position to offer custom-made mid-luxury merchandise that is made to fit. They could up-sell, cross-sell and enjoy the financial gains, at a lower margin.
Again, those with a USP who offer something different, in terms of either products or processes, always get ahead.
Ultimately, retailers must be able to add value to their customers at each time they come in contact with their brand to stay ahead of the competition. Are you making the best of every opportunity to innovate across your entire value chain?