When people come to your website, you have, at the most, 5 seconds to capture their attention. Within that time, you have to give them a solid reason to buy from you and how you provide more value than your competition. The best way to communicate these messages is to write a strong, distinct value proposition that conveys what you do best.
Brands worldwide use value propositions to differentiate themselves and help their customers truly understand the value of their products. In a world of fierce competition where everyone is claiming to offer the best products, a value proposition is the tool you need to stand out in the market.
In this post, we’ll define what value proposition is, explain why it’s important for business success, walk through the steps you can take to create yours, and provide a few examples of brands that have nailed their value propositions. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Value Proposition? Value Proposition Meaning
A value proposition is a succinct statement about the value you promise to deliver to your customers. It’s what answers why your brand is the best choice for prospective customers. A compelling value proposition covers three elements:
- The explanation of how you’ll address the customer’s problem
- The specific benefits that your target customers will reap
- Why they should choose you over other brands
Not to be confused with a brand slogan, motto, or catchphrase, your business value proposition should be front and center of your website. This means that you should aim to put it above the fold on your homepage. Other site pages where you could display this information include product pages, blog posts, and high purchase intent pages. The ultimate goal of value position is to elicit a response of, “Yes, tell me more!” from your customers.
What Are the Different Types of Value Proposition?
Value propositions exist in different forms based on the value they’re trying to convey. In ecommerce, there are three distinct types of value propositions you should consider using for your store.
1. Company value proposition
There’s a difference between the value proposition of your products and company. Company value propositions are all about strong brand ethos, which is how you feel and talk about your brand, both publicly and internally. Take the online baby store Darby Baby for instance. Its company value proposition is “Newborns never looked so good.” The value proposition for its Organic Muslin Wrap product is: “A simple and beautiful way to swaddle your baby.” You can see how ethos forms the basis of the company value proposition and trickles down through the product proposition.
2. Category Value Propositions
Your product category pages also need a unique value proposition. That’s because there’s a lot of competition among product categories. Just look up the SERP (search engine results page) for women’s shoes, and you’ll see thousands of category listings. Some of the brands behind those listings would already have a category value proposition. For example, you might come across a category page that says, “hiking shoes that just won’t die” or “shoes for every member of the family.” These are value propositions secretly helping the page stand out among the sea of other listings. When writing the value proposition for a category page, ask yourself what that category’s unique promise is to consumers and convey that value.
3. Product Value Proposition
A product value proposition goes, well, on your product page. It highlights a specific benefit that customers can expect when they buy the product. Think back to the Darby Baby Organic Muslin Wrap example above. Any parent of a newborn knows that swaddling can be a complex endeavor and baby clothing brands usually source simple wraps. Instead of having to compromise on style, they can buy the Organic Muslin Wrap. Snuggling and swaddling the baby gets a whole lot easier, and the wrap makes for a perfect outfit for birth announcement photos.
Creating Your Unique Value Proposition
The best value propositions clearly communicate the benefits your company can offer in a way that reaches your target audience. Your value proposition needs to be attractive, descriptive, and easy to understand. Notably, it can take time to create the perfect UVP. You’ll need to chat with your co-partner, assess your industry, and even consider competitor propositions.
Let’s explore some of the steps you can take to build your value prop.
1. Know your Brand
Your brand is the underlying passion and vision behind your business. More than just a set of specific colors or a logo, a brand tells people why you exist, what you do, and what makes you so special compared to other competing companies.
If you don’t have a set of brand guidelines yet, sit down and ask yourself what kind of company you want to build. You should address things like:
- Purpose: Why does your company exist? What are you trying to do? Tesla wanted to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy source, for instance.
- Vision: What kind of future are you trying to create? LinkedIn wants to make it easier for professionals to connect and grow together.
- Values: What principles guide everything you do? Are you all about sustainable materials and protecting the environment? Can you offer ultra-fast ecommerce delivery thanks to a focus on customer service? Shopify is all about making commerce better for everyone.
Knowing your brand makes it easier to determine what makes you special and different.
2. Research Your Competitors
Standing out in a sea of other brands means knowing what will attract customers away from your company and send them to your competition. A competitor analysis asks you to example the competing companies in your industry. What do the stores who sell similar ecommerce products as you offer that you don’t?
Maybe you’ll discover that some of your competitors offer next-day delivery on their products, which is something you can’t match. However, maybe you can delight your customers differently by giving free delivery when an order reaches a certain value. Alternatively, can you offer additional products or better-value bundles than the competing companies have available?
3. Get to Know Your Customers
If you want to differentiate yourself from your competition and attract more customers, then it’s important to think about what your customers need. Ultimately, you’re not writing your value prop for yourself. This is a statement that will help your customers to understand what you’re all about. Plus, your value proposition can act as a compass when you’re marketing yourself.
If you don’t have some already, now’s the time to create some user personas. Who are your most valuable clients likely to be? Are there other groups you can reach too? For instance, if your ecommerce store sells baby clothes, your main target customer might be parents looking for comfortable, fashionable clothing online. You could sell to aunts, grandmothers, and friends of the family too.
4. List Your Benefits
Now you know what makes your brand different, what your customers are doing, and what your audience needs, you can begin to list the benefits that really improve your customers’ lives. For instance, what kind of functional advantages can you offer over your competition?
Maybe you have an app that makes it easier for customers to place orders from their phones. Perhaps you can simplify repeat purchases by allowing someone to subscribe to a monthly delivery.
What kind of value-based benefits can you offer? Are your products more affordable than the competition, or can you promise sustainable packaging?
5. Draft Your Unique Value Proposition
Now it’s time to draft what your value proposition will sound like. Ideally, you should be able to narrow everything you do and everything you stand for into a single, easy-to-understand statement. For instance: We help [type of customer] do [something valuable] by [how you do what you do]. Using a template, a women’s clothing store could come up with something like:
We help young men and women in the USA buy fashionable clothing online for affordable prices. We can deliver great quality at low costs thanks to our supply chain.
Try not to get too complex with your value proposition but do be specific. Identify who your customers are, where they’re from, and how exactly you’re serving them.
6. Align Your UVP With Your Customer’s Voice
The voice of the customer needs to be evident in your brand value proposition. This means that you translate your benefits and features into words and phrases your customers understand. Think about the clients you’ve spoken to in the past or the customers who left feedback. How do they often describe the most impressive parts of your company?
A customer survey can give you a better insight into how customers think about you, so you can craft a value proposition that effectively speaks to them. Remember, avoid brand jargon and complicated words your customers might not understand. Once you know what your value prop should sound like, you can place it on your website.
7. Test and Optimize Your Value Proposition
A unique value proposition should evolve with your company. As your business grows, you may begin to target new audiences with new products and services. An ecommerce store that starts off selling women’s shoes can quickly scale to sell all kinds of footwear and accessories.
As your company develops, keep testing your value prop and making sure it aligns with your brand vision and your customer’s perception of your company. You can use customer surveys and feedback to ensure you’re keeping your finger on the pulse.
It’s also worth paying close attention to the “hype” in your value proposition as your business grows. The more confident you get, the easier it is to describe yourself as the best in business. But remember that a unique value proposition doesn’t just make broad statements about who you are; it explains the value you can deliver to your customers.
Examples of Good Value Propositions
To give you an idea of the many ways to convey value, let’s look at a few value prop examples.
This ecommerce store instantly draws attention by its name alone. It also does a great job at conveying its promise of value – to enable people to shop sustainably and support animals, people & planet. Throughout the website, the team behind The Vegan Gift Shop reiterates the environmental benefits of using the brand’s products. The site goes on to give compelling reasons to shop with them, including supporting small businesses, reducing your carbon footprint, and contributing to grass-roots community projects globally.
Started by a couple who has worked for fashion brands like Mango, Seek The Uniq conveys its key value proposition of helping people update their vacation wardrobe. Its products are designed to enhance a person’s basic travel wardrobe for a modern, fresh seasonal style. This speaks to some of the fundamental concerns of someone keen to make a fashion statement during their travel: it can all go wrong and seasonally inappropriate. But Seek the Uniq soothes the anxiety and reminds visitors that they have a helping hand.
The give-back brand Rice Love is dedicated to being transparent about how it gives back on the consumer’s behalf. On the website's homepage, you see a value proposition that every item the brand produces comes with a hang tag featuring a unique number. Rice Love customers can use this number to look up the family they fed. This is an example of a brand using its value proposition to cut straight into the heart of transparency in the give-back sector.
When it’s well-thought-out and clearly communicated, a value proposition can put you above anyone else in your market. Take the time to perfect your promise – it’s ultimately what customers will judge you by. Use the business value proposition examples above to inspire your own. And if you find a business you love, remember you can also buy it through the Exchange Marketplace to get a strong value proposition.