What is a USP?
A USP is your unique selling proposition, also commonly referred to as a unique selling point. This is a trait or service which differentiates you from similar businesses, and can form a valuable part of your marketing.
Why does my coffee shop need a USP?
Having a USP enables you to stand out against the competition, offering something that competitors do not. Without a USP, you can become easily forgotten, particularly in crowded markets.
Why should I promote my USP?
Without promotion, nobody will know what your USP is. You could have the most incredible coffee beans on the planet, but unless you communicate this effectively, it’s not going to be noticed often. Promoting your USP creates the opportunity to attract the attention of new and existing customers, making your brand more desirable.
Where to start
It all begins with understanding your stand-out features. Here are some examples of USPs:
- Exceptional coffee
- Personalised experience
- Vegan alternatives
- Delicious sweet treats
- Fast service
- Exciting loyalty scheme
- Reasonable pricing
- Eco-friendly/sustainable/ethical processes
- Charitable donations
- Satisfaction guarantee
What do you remember about your favourite coffee shops? Perhaps their staff remember returning customers, or write customers’ names on their cup. They might give you a delicious cappuccino which is served instantly on your morning commute. There may be plenty of seating with fast wifi and laptop charging sockets. In almost every case, the features you remember them for will be their USP.
Deciding your USP
Your USP should be attractive to your customers, explaining what makes your brand special. It should also set the tone and let customers know what to expect.
These steps can set you on the right track to deciding your USP:
- List the points which make you stand out in the market, as well as the services you provide and the requirements your customers have
- Understand competitors, looking at their branding and USPs. Is there an area which your competitors lack in, that you could succeed in? Perhaps you could have a USP which differentiates you, even if you have the same offering as other coffee shops
- List the challenges your customers face and the ways you solve this problem
- Conduct market research, asking your customers and staff what they think makes your brand unique
- Use the above information you have collected to decide what your strongest USP is
Communicating your USP
Once you have decided on your USP, it’s time to implement this into your business, reinforcing the messaging to customers. A USP can be presented in many ways, including:
- In your brand name
- In your tagline
- Through website messaging and copy
- On coffee cup branding
- Through staff (e.g. wearing multicoloured aprons, or telling customers)
- Via your offering
- On-site branding and messaging
- On social media
- Through marketing activities
Once you have your USP decided and you know how you want to communicate your chosen messaging, it’s time to get started and make your mark on the industry. Remember to regularly review your USP and make sure it’s working for you.