E-Commerce Value Proposition - Craft Your Winning USP (Updated Guide)

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What is an E-Commerce Value Proposition?

It boils down to…why should someone buy from you and not your competition?

If you don’t know the answer to this (or if you think you do but the answer isn’t compelling enough), then sadly, your store will never convert clicks into customers at its full potential.

The reality is that every single one of your store’s shoppers will ask – usually sub-consciously – but which ridiculously few e-commerce store owners bother to deal with.

“Why should I choose you?”

Before they get their wallets out, they want to feel that they’re in the very best place to get whatever it is you’re selling and don’t need to bother looking elsewhere.

Let’s face it, in today’s world of bountiful choice and glutenous distraction, you have just a few seconds to give your Shopify store’s visitors a good enough reason to stay on your site.

If you don’t, they’re going to bounce straight back to where they came from and eventually find their way to your competition who’ll win the sale.

According to ChartBeat, you have between 5 to 30 seconds to hold the attention of a viewer on a landing page. In other words, if you can’t communicate your value in less than 30 seconds, you’re losing money.[*]

But it doesn’t have to be this way, you just need to always make sure you differentiate yourself.

Make sure that you do it prominently on your store and in every single message you send out or run…

Because if you don’t, you’re making things needlessly hard for your customers.

They have to base their choice on little more than guesswork – like throwing darts at a board while wearing a blindfold.

Business Transparency – No Longer Optional

Whether it is from growing up witnessing corporate scandals to animal abuse in product testing, Gen /Y and newer consumers care about how a business conducts itself more and more.

The more ethical practices a business can bring to the table, the more likely they are to do business with the company.

Let’s take a look at some examples of how businesses today showcase their ethics.

Puravida - E-Commerce Value Proposition

Puravida provides full-time jobs to artisans worldwide and donates millions to charity through product sales

Ivory Ella - E-Commerce Value Proposition

Ivory Ella donates a portion of profits to Save the Elephants and incorporates the entire clothing line theme to elephants.

Rothy’s - E-Commerce Value Proposition

Rothy’s entire shoe line is made from the plastic of recycled bottles.

Famed marketer, Rosser Reeves, built a huge advertising agency by finding and promoting a kind of differentiation: he called it the USP – the unique selling proposition.

Rosser’s idea was simple (like all good ones)…

Find one benefit nobody else could offer and hammer it home relentlessly

Of course, that may be easier said than done because many e-commerce stores are similar. Especially if you’re drop shipping from AliExpress for example.

But there are many ways to skin a cat. For example, you may not have anything unique, but there may be something you do that others also do – but don’t talk about.

If you’re the only store saying it, you own it.

A good example is Carphone Warehouse. Were they the only store offering impartial advice to phone buyers? No. They were just the only ones saying so.

What’s more, if others in your niche start talking about the benefit you’re promoting, they can even end up doing the selling for you.

That’s because you’ve fixed that particular benefit in people’s minds and they associate your store with it.

Split-testing software, VWO reported a mammoth 250% increase in conversions for one of its users, sustyparty.com when they tested their e-commerce value proposition on the home page.

The new variation establishes both points of parity and points of difference allowing the visitor to immediately understand what Susty Party is all about— it sells party-ware.

Not only that, but the visitor is also told exactly what differentiates Susty Party from other stores that sell party-ware—it’s non-toxic and compostable.

Then with the sub-heading, it is made abundantly clear that the business is based in North America (people like to buy from their own country).

And on top of that, telling visitors that when they buy, they would be indirectly helping blind people earn a living adds another layer of appeal to customers that already care enough about the planet to seek out earth-friendly party-ware.

But don’t be misled here: the older version didn’t have a call-to-action which means clicks on the home page banner were bound to be low. But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that the variation engages visitors much better, enticing them to click the CTA through to the product page.

This case study, proves that one special benefit is good, but several can skyrocket your business.

The more reasons you give, the better you do.


Geoff Moore popularized this concept in his book, Crossing the Chasm.


For [target customer] who [statement of the need or opportunity] our [product/service] is [product category] that [statement of benefit].

Sometimes by bundling a few together, you end up with a sort of packaged USP or a “E-commerce Value Proposition” as I like to call it.

Here’s a list of 24 things to start you thinking:

Are you unique?



Better value?


The most trusted?

The friendliest?

The first?

The top seller?

The most tested?

Give quicker service?

The most advanced?

The latest?

The oldest?

The most loved?

The one experts prefer?

More fun?

The most reliable?

Sourced in a special way?

Sold in a special way?

Easier to deal with?

Sold for a cause?

Most ethical?

More helpful?

I know it can seem hard to find a point of difference if you’re selling something that isn’t unique, especially as the business owner, you’re on the inside of the bottle trying to read the label, so to speak.

But dig deep and put the time into nailing your value proposition, it will reward you now and long into the future.

4 elements of a persuasive e-commerce value proposition

  1. Clarity – do not be clever or cryptic
  2. Communicates specific results the customer will get
  3. Demonstrates how your store/your product is different or better
  4. Can be read and understood in under 5-seconds

3 steps to crafting a winning e-commerce value proposition

1. Make a list of all the benefits your product/store offers to customers
2. Identify the value your product/store brings to customers
3. Differentiate and position your store

What you should end up with is a “promise of value to be delivered” – something that explains how your product(s) solves problems/improves a situation.

Your customers should know exactly what specific benefits they can expect and why they should buy from you over a competitor.

E-commerce Value Proposition Examples

Let’s take a long list of some examples and go over each with a set of helpful questions to further analyze.

nerdwax - E-Commerce Value Proposition

What are they selling?  A wax, from the sound of the company name. We can see the subtitle, the original glasses wax.

What’s the benefit of using it? Keeps your sunglasses and glasses from slipping

Who is the target customer? People who wear eyewear

How are they different from competitors? First product of it’s kind, so it doesn’t really differentiate.

quadlock - E-Commerce Value Proposition

What are they selling? A smartphone mount

What’s the benefit of using it? Keeping your device secure while on the go

Who is the target customer? People who have an active lifestyle

How are they different from competitors? They seem to sell a variety of different mounting options.

Tactical Baby Gear - E-Commerce Value Proposition

What are they selling?  Tactical looking diaper bags

What’s the benefit of using it? Looking cool wearing a diaper bag

Who is the target customer? Dad’s who get embarrassed about diaper bags

How are they different from competitors? They have simply positioned tactical bags that already existed into diaper bags

Funbox Monthly - E-Commerce Value Proposition

What are they selling?  Epic skate gear

What’s the benefit of using it? Delivered to your door

Who is the target customer? Skaters who want cool gear monthly

How are they different from competitors? Skate shops are common but a monthly box is novel.

Negative - E-Commerce Value Proposition

What are they selling?  Bras that look good in t-shirts

What’s the benefit of using it? Ultra light material for next-level comfort in t-shirts

Who is the target customer? Females who wear t-shirts and want a more comfortable/stealthy bra

How are they different from competitors? Not very differentiated from competitors

The Shoptimized Theme makes it ridiculously easy to sing your e-commerce value proposition from the roof-tops, if you’re not using it yet on your store, check out the best converting Shopify theme here.

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