If you are in the retail industry, chances are that you probably already know that you have to have a unique selling proposition to offer your clients. But hey, what’s a unique selling proposition? In the book Reality in Advertising, author Rosser Reeves defines a unique selling proposition (USP) as:
1. Each advertisement must make a proposition to the customer: "buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit."
2. The proposition itself must be unique - something that competitors do not, or will not, offer.
3. The proposition must be strong enough to pull new customers to the product.
A franchisor needs to have something that will make its stores shine apart from the competition. As an example, let us discuss Teddy Mountain, one of our first clients here at LavaBlast. Teddy Mountain is a stuff-your-own teddy bear type of store. Stuffed animals have been around for years and are available it countless locations. Some stores offer dirt cheap stuffed animals while others brand the bear with a particular tourist attraction such as the Eiffel Tower. Retailers in the stuff-your-own teddy bear industry sell more than just a physical teddy bear, they sell an experience and their selling proposition revolves around this custom-creation experience.
Teddy Mountain wanted to offer something more personal to the client to complement the experience. They decided to offer birth certificates for each teddy bear they sell. Simple idea, but this creates a strong bond between a child and their new teddy bear. A picture of the child with their new friend would be taken and would be printed at the counter when the teddy bear was paid for. One could think that this simple concept is insufficient to pull new customers to the product, yet in-store behavior has proven otherwise. Children are drawn towards the camera feed presented on the kiosk and often want to purchase a bear simply to get their picture taken.
The picture here shows the in-store kiosk being used by some children. This kiosk has two screens with two webcams and prints in the color laser printer at the cash register. The kiosk must be simple to operate because it is used mainly by children. This is fairly simple software and other stores also produce certificates, but the kiosk appearance (touch screen interface, webcam, three-dimensional fixtures done by Studio Y Creations) adds to the child’s in-store experience and puts Teddy Mountain in a unique position. Because we’ve integrated the certificate with the point of sale, the employees don’t have much overhead to deal with. Coming up in the near future are many new features on the website that link the in-store experience with the online one, refining the brand’s uniqueness.
Teddy Mountain operates in an industry which is dominated by a giant and software alone cannot be the only unique selling proposition. Teddy Mountain experience is enriched by large-scale three-dimensional fixtures that attract children from the mall inside the store. These fixtures put a little bit of magic in the shopping experience and illuminate child birthday parties. There are other refinements that define Teddy Mountain; having a clear unique selling proposition is key to increasing sales but also to attract new franchise prospects. However, since our goal is to illustrate how LavaBlast is a piece of the puzzle, as opposed to selling you a franchise, we won’t go into more detail.