Building A Powerful USP That Gives You An Advantage

When it comes to increasing conversion rates with your eCommerce store, it is important to clearly communicate to customers why they should purchase from your website.

This messaging is called your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

The term USP originally was coined by E. Jermone McCarthy is his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach and has become a cornerstone marketing strategy for growing your business. In fact, how well you clearly define and communicate your USP will be the major indicator determining the long-term success of your business.

Once you realize the importance of your USP, the question becomes: how to define your USP?

The best ways I have found to help clients clarify their USP is to have them answer the following question:

Why should a customer purchase from you instead of purchasing from your competitor OR not purchasing at all?

These are actually two different questions that need to be answered separately and it is important to note the difference.

Why Should A Customer Purchase From You?

If you are selling widgets, chances are other companies are also selling the same or similar widgets. The chances are also pretty good that someone is selling more widgets than you are selling, and do you know why?

Stop and think about it for a minute….

You may answer that they started selling their widgets earlier than you or perhaps they have better advertising, or they have better pricing. These all could be true, but the main factor is that they have done a better job defining their USP.

Remember the Results Triangle we previously discussed.

There are 3 sides: Process, Proposition and Prospect.

Reasons such as a better website or pricing or images are all apart of the Process, but here we want to look at the Proposition and defining the USP that is the centerpiece of your ‘Proposition’, and it deserves your utmost attention.

The first step is to determine how you currently defining your USP. To do this, you need to take a concentrated look at your website, not as the business owner or head of marketing, but as a first-time visitor.

You also need to examine your competitors. Both those doing more business than you and those doing less. Trust me. If done right, this exercise can reveal the initial keys to significantly increasing your conversion and ultimately increasing your business.

On a piece of paper, list why a customer should purchase from you and why they should purchase from each of your competitors (ideally one bigger and one smaller).

It is important to be honest with yourself.

In the end, you probably have a list like this:

All of these are important. But NONE of them define or at least should define your USP. Instead, these are a list for commodities that comprise a solely transactional purchase.

If you don’t define your USP then you will always end of chasing and competing solely based on the list similar to the one above which especially includes price.

Again, it is important to define your USP in terms other than a commodity. It is your USP that will be your defining factor that sets your company apart from your competition.

Here are some famous and powerful USPs

‘Expect more than a coffee.’ – Starbucks

‘Sleek, state-of-the-art design, user-friendly products, reliability, innovation, and being a ‘cool’ alternative to the PC.’ – Apple Computer

‘Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ – Nike

‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’ – M&M

‘You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less—or it’s free.’ – Dominos Pizza

‘When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else.’ – Avis

‘Making eCommerce Success A Reality’ – Make Each Click Count University

You might have guessed. The last example is my favorite!

Now that you have seen some examples of USPs that effectively communicate and have been used to grow businesses, it is time to define your USP.

But how?

When looking to define your USP it is helpful to consider the following:

  1. Focus on your customers. Who does your company serve what is your target market?
  2. Root your USP in your business values.
  3. Highlight your company strengths.
  4. Position your company in direct contrast to your competition.
  5. Make your USP clear and concise.

Creating your USP will take time. You will likely need to test and then test again, but once you perfect your USP it will guide your company’s growth both externally by defining who you are to your customers and internally by defining who you are to yourself and your team.

Don’t Become Just Another One of Those

You may be saying, wow creating and communicating my USP is going to be a ton of work, there must be an easier way.

The danger of not fully developing your USP is becoming just another one of those. Just another t-shirt company, just another sporting goods company, just another whatever you sell type of company.

And today, in our transactional based world, you can’t afford to become just another of anything because that will make you compete as a commodity.

I have clients all the time ask; how do we compete with Amazon?

The companies who are asking this question are really asking: how can we compete with Amazon as a commodity?

The answer is you can’t.

Whether it is Amazon or another competitor, someone will either be cheaper, be faster delivering products, create a nicer looking website, etc.

However, if you develop and communicate the reason that customers should, no must buy from you, then that is infinitely more difficult for competitors including Amazon to replicate.

Building A Tribe of Loyal Followers

One of the biproducts of creating an effective USP is building a base of loyal customers.

A great example of this is Apple.

Have you ever met a Mac user? Or perhaps you are a Mac user.

Mac users only make up about 10% of market share of personal computers. However, they would never dream of changing to a PC. Why, because they identify with the brand’s identity. Apple has created a movement and by doing so has created a loyal customer base where they no longer need to compete as a pure commodity.

When I was purchasing my last car, I wanted a Ford Explorer. When my wife asked me to check out other cars, I refused and again stated I wanted the Ford Explorer. This left the only option as what color. And this is what establishing your brand identity and USP has the potential to do for your company as well.

Final WORD

Creating your USP is not easy. No one ever said it was. Creating a successful business is not easy and again no one said it was.

However, creating and communicating your USP is essential in today’s world. As we discussed, it is virtually impossible to compete (at least long-term) as a commodity in our transactional based world. Someone, usually Amazon, will come along and be cheaper, be faster or be more convenient.

By developing your USP that resonates with your customer base, you can effectively stop competing on price and start competing as a unique solution to solving specific customer problems.


Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He has been called the foremost expert in eCommerce Marketing Growth Strategies. He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit or read The Full Story on his website or his blog,

Improving eCommerce Conversion Rates Using The Results Triangle

The main challenge in eCommerce since the dawn of eCommerce (aka the late 1990’s) has been how to improve conversion rates. Simply put. How can you get more visitors on your website to purchase your products.

As with any problem, it sometimes is easier to break a problem into different parts and address each part one at a time. To improve conversion rates on your eCommerce store (or with any offering) it is essential to consider the Results Triangle (shown below).


The Results Triangle is broken down into 3 components: Prospect, Process and Proposition. We will discuss each of the three sides in how they relate to an eCommerce website and how each of them can lead to improvements in conversion rates.


I start with Prospect because that is the easiest to define at least with an eCommerce business. Prospect are those visitors to your website, you know, the ones who aren’t buying as much as we think they should?

The easiest way to determine if your Prospects “are right” is to analyze your paid traffic results. For Google Ads, you can review your Search Terms report from Google Ads or your User Query report in Google Analytics. For more information on this process, review Chapter 11 of Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping.

Are those search terms driving traffic for the relevant search terms?

There is no mystery in Google traffic, that is why I like it. You can view what is driving the traffic, which will help you determine if you are targeting the right prospect.

Then, look at your conversion rates from your Google paid ads’ visitors. Is the conversion rate higher, lower, or approximately even with conversion rate from other paid and non-paid traffic sources?

Other traffic sources, whether they are also paid traffic sources like FB ads or organic or referral partners is more challenging to determine the Prospect.

However, by reviewing conversion rates by each specific traffic channel you can determine if there are any outliers to your overall conversion rate.

If there are?

If there is a conversion rate that is substantially lower than other channels, chances are that channel is not targeting the right (or at least) the same Prospect as other channels.


This is where most eCommerce websites spend most of their time optimizing. This is your checkout process, this is how your pages look, this is how fast your webpages load, etc.

Although it is important to have a website that removes barriers to conversion, it is not the most important aspect of improving conversion. Rather, it is just one side of the triangle.

I have seen websites that to be blunt, absolutely horrible, still have very good conversion rates.

How you ask?

By having the proper traffic (PROSPECT) and having what they want that others may not (PROPOSITION).

Remember, the Results Triangle is a triangle. A triangle has 3 sides. To fully optimize conversion, you need to focus on each of those sides.


Proposition is looking at your offer. Not necessarily your offer for just one item on your website, but you offer as a complete microcosm.

Think of it with the question, ‘why should a visitor buy from your website?’

Now look at your website.

Now look at your website as if you were a visitor who just landed on a page for the first time.

Can you answer that question?

Be honest, if there are competitors in your space, why should a website visitor purchase from your website instead of those competitors?

Hopefully, it is not just because you have the lowest price. Because, if you are competing on just price that makes you a commodity. And unless you have a way to offer the item lower than anyone else can (say you are Walmart or Amazon), eventually competing on just price will put you in trouble.

Instead think of your USP (unique selling proposition). What makes your website better than your competitors AND are you effective communicating that to your visitors?

Are you effectively communicating that USP on those pages where you are driving both new and returning traffic or just on your home page?

Beyond communicating your USP are you offering social proof? Do you have reviews where they are easy to find?

It is funny, shoppers don’t want to be first. I guess it is part our caveman DNA that it is difficult to be the first to wander outside the cave. Having reviews, shows you are trusted, and it shows that others have put their trust in you, and you have delivered.

The last thing you want to be is just another. Just another t-shirt company…. Just another coffee machine selling company… Just another whatever widget you are selling company…

Change your Proposition to change your results.


The Results Triangle hopefully gives you a fresh look at how to look at your conversion and more importantly what you can do to increase your conversion.

When it comes to conversion, it is important to measure and test. Make sure you understand the importance of both, or you will face difficulties in making improvements.

Once you understand how the Results Triangle works, then tweaking your Prospects, your Process or your Proposition can actually be fun. Even more than fun it can be the way you’ve been looking for to improve your conversion rates and start generating more sales online!

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

Andy Splichal


Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He has been called the foremost expert in eCommerce Marketing Growth Strategies. He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit or read The Full Story on his website or his blog,