Unique Selling Proposition or USP is that one thing or a number of things that makes your business better than all your existing competitors. It refers to that specific benefit that makes your business idea stand out when evaluated with all the other businesses and their models in the market.

Having competitors is natural for businesses, especially when it comes to e-commerce brands. Customers, in this process, are often overwhelmed with the wide range of options. They quickly want to understand what makes one product or a brand different than another. For you, as a business, knowing the right way to position yourself and your products can mean the difference between standing out while blending in the market at the same time. That’s why it is crucial for entrepreneurs to understand and identify their unique selling propositions (USP), so as to take constructive branding and marketing decisions.

What is USP?

Unique Selling Proposition or USP is that one thing or a number of things that makes your business better than all your existing competitors. It refers to that specific benefit that makes your business idea stand out when evaluated with all the other businesses and their models in the market.

Identifying and defining an opinionated USP is essential as it helps you to focus your marketing strategy. Not just that, it also helps you create and plan your messaging, branding, copywriting and other marketing decisions. Simply put, a USP is something that should quickly answer a potential customer’s most immediate question, ‘Why should they choose you over others?’

How to identify your USP?

Finding and freezing your USP basically means having a 360 degree understanding of your target market, competition and industry. 

Understanding your target audience

First thing first, developing your USP begins with knowing your target audience. Consult and talk to your customers and understand what it is that they are looking for. Are they looking for some time-saving assistance, a trustworthy supplier or something else? 

In the end, make a list of all the reasons a potential customer would choose to buy your product or service. 

Understanding your competitive advantage

Pull out and list down at least two to three things at which you believe, your business is really good at. Next, list down all the benefits that your competitor is providing too. Once you have this overview, evaluate how well your competitors are meeting the need of the customer. 

Remember, just because some brand currently has a good position in the market doesn’t mean they are delivering on their promise. If you can outshine them and do even better, there’s a strong reason for you to build your base in the market.

Understand the industry trends 

While you understand your target audience and competitors, it is also important to think about the needs that are not being met by any existing player. Here’s a quick exercise you can practise: consider the present-day trends and think about the issues that will be very important in five years’ time. Further, see if you can extend your advantage into these areas. 

A compelling USP must be:

  • Assertive, but defensible: A specific and memorable product placement that forces your users to remember you beyond all your competitors. 

PS: Think of something that’s ahead of generic ‘we sell high-quality products’.

  • Look for customers value: Do not run behind the ‘unique’ aspect. Rather, look for what are your customer’s value and pack your product accordingly.
  • Keep it more than a slogan: While a slogan is one way to communicate your USP, keep your USPs so intact that it becomes the synonym for your brand!

Key takeaway: At the end, it’s not necessary that you sell something unique but it is necessary to choose your messaging unique (something that your competition is not talking about). 

Why do you need a USP?

While search engines have made it so easy and quick to look for items online and compare for the best one, the competition has just gone tougher. If your business has its presence globally and if your product or service is available online, it is essential that you grab their attention, make them stay and offer something that no other website does. If you want to win over your potential customer, it is important to be able to identify and market your company’s unique selling proposition the right way. 

A well-crafted USP can help you communicate your brand’s advantage in a clear and persuasive manner while helping you to differentiate your company from the rest of your competitors. Focusing well on your USPs while you plan and execute your advertising and marketing strategies will also ensure that all of your campaigns are aligned. 

What a unique selling proposition isn’t

Some marketers believe that offering 10% off, free shipping, 24/7 customer service or strong return policy in place can be counted under the bracket of USP. But the fact is, they can’t. As convincing and effective they look, they are at a position where your competitors can quickly come and snatch away.

A unique selling proposition is a statement you choose to create that differentiates your products and your brand as a whole from anyone in the existing market. 

A USP is also not just that statement you place in the header of your homepage. It is a position that your business takes as a whole and that which can be incorporated into your products, brand and the entire experience that you provide. 

The products or services you provide does not need to be entirely unique within itself for you to have a strong USP. Instead, look for that one spot in the market where you can plant your flag that stays untouched by any of your competition.

Hope this article helps you draft your USP the best way!

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Khushali is a content marketer at Razorpay. A logophile, traveler and inbound marketing enthusiast, she loves questioning the 'why' and 'how' of almost everything.

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