“So, what’s in it for me?”
This is the question every customer visiting your e-commerce furniture store for the first time is asking. Therefore, it behooves you to answer that question immediately. In other words, one of the foremost goals of your site should be creating perceived value. Of course, there are many sites on the ‘net offering furniture, so in addition to coming up with strong value propositions, you’ll need to craft a unique one as well.
Conducting a SWOT Analysis
Before you can be unique, you have to see what else is out there. Your first step should be analyzing the competition by conducting a SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These are the parameters against which you need to compare yourself to your competitors so you can develop your unique value proposition.
What are your advantages and disadvantages? Where do you see the potential for growth in terms of market share? How could your competitors debilitate you if they chose to do so? Once you see where you line up against the other players in your category, you’ll have a better idea of what makes you different. Your value proposition will be built upon this difference.
Value Proposition Defined
Having evaluated yourself in this fashion, you can then figure out what you can do to stand out in the minds of your customers. First, however, you need to understand their primary concerns. When you sell your furniture online, most clients will be concerned about the risk of buying furniture on the internet. Delivery times and options will be an issue as well. Further, having never seen the furniture in their home, they may be worried about whether or not it will fit and what can be done if they are dissatisfied. To demonstrate value in each of these areas, you need to show them how you will increase their benefits and reduce their risk.
So, How Are You Different?
Maybe your website is more intuitive, your return policy is more forgiving, your customer service is superior or your shipping is more expedient. Whatever your differences, tout them in all of your marketing efforts and customer communications. Do everything possible to ensure all visitors to your store are aware of all of the things you’ve put in place to assuage their concerns, as well as to make the process easier and increase the likelihood they will get what they need the first time.
Having observed your competition, you’ll note your strengths are their weaknesses and your opportunities are places where they should be doing better. Conversely, your weaknesses and threats are places where you need to be doing better. Wherever you see the latter, do what you need to do to overcome them. Meanwhile, promote your strengths heavily to take advantage of the opportunities you see. In so doing, you will communicate to your customers the primary benefits they derive from doing business with you.
Price vs. Value
Too many people confuse value and price. While it’s true getting a superior product for a lower price does indeed represent a good value, the fact of the matter is, the value can be strong even when prices are higher. This is why people buy luxury goods. The perception of value—what’s in it for them—will always hold sway in the mind of the customer. People will often pay more if they feel they’re getting something they wouldn’t otherwise. Many e-commerce merchants have learned shoppers will pay more to get an item with free shipping than they will if they have to pay shipping charges too. Many won’t even stop to do the math; they see “free shipping” and assume it’s a better deal.
Creating unique value propositions for your e-commerce furniture store sets you apart from the other players in your space. And, if your value proposition is strong enough, it might even let you charge more money for the exact same products.