Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Developing A Unique Selling Proposition

The following is a book excerpt from “The Edge Factor” by Marc Gordon of Fourword Marketing

Regretfully for many companies, the best reason to do business with them is often a reason only they know.

If you were to stand in line alongside all of your competitors, would you be more noticeable from the others? If you were asked by someone why they should give you their business instead of to someone else, what would you say?

It’s surprising how many business owners would have difficulty answering that question. In fact in many industries it seems businesses work hard to look just like each other. And this makes it almost impossible for most business owners to explain why they should get your business. After all, if they look and act just like every other business, then there’s no reason to pick one over the other.

For a business to define itself as something that is above and beyond the others, it must develop a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP is a trait that makes a business more appealing to a potential client relative to other businesses. It is a strength that other businesses don’t have (or don’t clearly say they have) and is a motivating factor for new clients when deciding where to buy.

An attractive USP can cover almost any facet of the business that impacts on its relationship with its clients. These are some common USPs and how a business might use them:
Price: Your business offers the lowest prices in town
Quality: You sell the highest quality line of products in your industry
Selection: You carry the widest range of products in the area
Service: Your business offers around the clock service when others only operate during regular business hours
Guarantee: You offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee
Location: Your business is located in an area that offers free parking and easy access by public transportation
Knowledge: You and your staff are extremely knowledgeable and can better assist a client with their buying decisions
Exclusivity: A certain brand of product is only available from you
Customization: You create a unique product specific to each client
Free shipping: You will ship orders at no charge

One or more of these traits may apply to your business. It’s also possible that none may apply to you. One the surface it may appear to you that you are no better or worse than any of your competitors. That you have no USP. But without knowing anything about your business, I’m willing to bet on at least one of three things: First, that you do in fact have a USP that perhaps you don’t give yourself credit for. After all, you may have been offering something special for so long that to you it has become routine and lost is distinctiveness. But to your clients, it is something they place a lot of importance on when making a buying decision.

Marc Gordon is a professional speaker and the owner of Fourword Marketing, a branding and marketing firm located in Thornhill, Ontario. Fourword specializes in helping businesses create a brand identity and developing effective marketing campaigns. Marc can be reached at (416) 238-7811 or visit www.fourword.biz.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Layout Optimization

By Doron Levy, President, Captus Business Consulting

We are probably in the most challenging time for retailing. Customers discretionary spending has come to a stand still and what little money or credit they have left is going to retailers that provide necessities such as groceries and pharmacies. This climate could provide lucrative opportunities for chains that sell daily needs merchandise.

So we’ve managed to get some customers into the door. As retailers, it is our job to get customers to spend in our stores. We do that by merchandising. Big, bright aisles filled with product, colorfully and logically displayed with price signs. I am here to tell you that is NOT enough. We are going to have to kick it up several notches to get some of that precious margin we are all after.

Every retailer, big or small, needs an organic and flexible layout optimization program. Things are always changing for us in this industry and we must be adaptable. Layouts and merchandising plans must be changed to suit the current environment. Plans-o-grams must be flexible enough to accommodate new and unique products that should be offered to your core customers. High margin and high velocity stock should have extra displays throughout the sales floor. Hot promo price items must be shielded with high margin associative merchandise. A great example: If Scope or Colgate toothpaste is on sale that week, place your own house brand toothbrushes or floss in bins within the display.

That’s how you keep the margin gods happy in this current economic environment.

Doron Levy is president of Captus Business Consulting. Captus provides support to the retail industry. His blog can be found at www.gocaptus.com/blog and can he can be reached at doron@gocaptus.com.

Monday, April 27, 2009