Since my previous post on the concept of value, I have enjoyed many great conversations with retailer store owners and managers, and even a few manufacturers, about the concept that value equals benefits minus hassles. In this post, I am going to dig a bit deeper into the notion of benefits.
For those of you who don’t know my background, in addition to my 25-plus years in the natural products industry, I also enjoy a career in higher education and am nearing the completion of my PhD dissertation. As a result of this, I try to analyze things via a very deliberate and scientific process. So when I sat down to put a definition on the concept of benefits, it was not a simple task. Benefits not only mean many things to many people, but they are also multi-faceted, meaning that there are multiple components to how one person would evaluate if something is beneficial to him or her.
For example, if we were trying to determine what characteristics or elements led to an employee being a good sales person, we might list a number of things: work ethic, goal-orientation, persistence, extroversion, communication skill, affability, product knowledge and the like. If we were trying to assess scientifically the success of a team of salespeople, we could even do some testing and see which elements had more weight than others--and give some degree of relative importance to them. This would help when hiring, promoting, training, etc.
Just as one element by itself does not lead to success in sales, or any other career, one thing by itself does not create benefit and, without hassles, lead to value. So when we talk value we are talking about a multi-faceted concept, something with several or many parts to it. I like to refer to this concept as the Unique Value Proposition--or as the retailers that I work closely with have heard (quite often!), their UVP. This is what your store does better than anyone else; it is what makes you “you” and why people would shop with you and not with others in your market.
What makes up your store’s UVP? There are many ways that your store conveys its unique message of value:
- Ingredient standards
- Product mix
- Customer service
- Staff knowledge
- And more…
These things all blend together in such a way as to make your store different from others.
I find that even though retailers deal with all of these elements and issues on an ongoing basis, many of them have never considered how they combine to create a unique image, reputation and shopping experience. Some stores, unfortunately, try to mimic their competition instead of maximizing their own unique strengths and abilities. I encourage you to focus on what you do best and offer your combination of strengths as a unique value proposition to your market.