Think of all the millions and bajillions of products for sale on a plethora of eCommerce sites.
Many of them, if not most of them, are repetitive products. While they might differ in branding, you’d be hard-pressed to find any differences in the basic structure or intent of the product.
That leads to a very logical question in the minds of most consumers:
What difference does it make if I buy one product over another?
How does a shopper look at two or more products (or services), and then make one buying decision over another?
There’s a few easy ways to whittle things down.
First, a shopper might make a decision based upon need. If they truly need a product, then they’ll buy the first product that intuitively might meet the need. If the decision comes down to desire, then other factors come into play.
How much money does the shopper feel like spending? If a product costs less, then they’ll make an economic choice. Does the shopper have a certain color or style in mind? These are also factors that help to guide a decision.
But then, there’s often the x factor…that indescribable thing that not only makes a consumer make a purchase, but also, become a brand loyalist.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common x factor buying decisions in the food and beverage sector – specifically, let’s look at the age-old Coke vs. Pepsi debate.
Particularly if you live in the U.S., then you’re either a Coke person, or you’re a Pepsi person – there’s no two ways about it! In fact, the competition between the two carbonated cola beverages is so intense, retailers aren’t allowed to sell Coke products in the same retail space as Pepsi products!
The products must be sold in separate refrigerators, they have to be sold on separate shelving spaces, and they must be dispensed out of separate soda machines. But when it comes down to it, what’s the big difference between the two products? At the end of the day, they’re both carbonated soda drinks that are based upon the taste of cola!
That’s what the manufacturers of both products have asked themselves over the decades, and they’ve done a model job in creating something that’s known in marketing and advertising as a unique selling proposition (USP)
Here’s a question for you:
If you were forced to, could you explain your service’s unique value to a person visiting you from another planet? And, would you be able to articulate the value in layman’s terms?
I was having a bit of fun, but the point that I’m trying to make is this:
You should understand your USP so intimately, you’d be able to articulate it to a person or an entity that had no previous knowledge of your product or your service.
Peep Laja, founder and the author of the Conversion XL blog says something similarly:
If you want to get people to buy your stuff, you need to understand how people make purchase decisions.
Product quality and seller reputation matter… it goes without saying. What about when the product matches the customer’s needs and they trust the seller? What are the things that influence purchase decisions once those fundamentals are in place?
Online purchases start with a Google or Amazon search. Most people do online research and compare different options. Actually, 73% of purchase decisions begin with research conducted on either Google or Amazon.
And he further makes the point based upon a taste taste on a very ubiquitous product: jam.
…Scientists asked a big sample of consumers to rank jams on taste, ordering them from top to bottom. Then the scientists re-did the study with a different, but still statistically representative group. Except this time they asked the sample to put the jams in order of taste and explain their thinking. The order literally flipped, so the jams that the first group ranked as best tasting were judged to be the worst by the second group.
The reason was that they were asking the conscious brain to suddenly get involved in something that it really doesn’t know. Suddenly there are all these social pressures (e.g. what they “should” choose), leading the answers away from what the people actually liked.
People make instant decisions with their subconscious. When they have to explain the choice, the choice might change completely since the rational mind is then involved.
So as you can see, if you want to cut past the clutter and noise that your competitors are creating in order to gain attention and market share in your sector, then knowing why your product or service is unique is a must.
Having a passing idea of why it’s different or unique isn’t good enough. You’ve got to be able to market the product or service in a way that gets your customer/client’s full attention, and eventually, converts them into sales.
For more great insights into conversion theory and maximizing your selling potential, you should grab this excellent conversion report from our partners at ROI Revolution. The Q4 Conversion Rate Challenge goes in-depth on not only unique selling propositions, but also the testing strategies that can take your conversions from zero to hero.