To stay competitive in a business environment where everyone makes similar products, you have to find a way to differentiate your company from its competitors. Your first instinct may be to offer better prices than everyone else, but that is never a good strategy for two key reasonsfirst you may be tempted to reduce your production cost and this could lower your product quality, and second, you may be dealing with competitors who may have the resources to undercut you, and youll have a full fledge price war in your hands. So prices aside, how can you outshine your competitors? Well, you can find your point of difference and leverage it to make yourself more attractive to customers. A point of difference is a specific quality that makes one product distinguishable from other similar products. Essentially, it’s a characteristic that is unique to your product, service or brand and has the ability to sway an objective customer towards your product.
So, how do you go about finding your point of difference? Here are the key things that you should consider.
Do you have any expertise or experience that makes your business special?
You should dig deep to see what it is you may know that other businesses dont. If you have been in the industry for longer, your experience could be your edge. If you have a specialty, you may use it to create a niche within the market and secure more customers. If your business offers a product or service that you personally use, your experience as a consumer may put you in a unique position to be able to improve the product or service.
Are your processes superior in one way or another?
If theres a difference between the way you create your product and the way your competitors do it, you can make that your point of difference. Anything, including where you source your raw materials, how fast you deliver your services, or the individual processes that go into developing your product, could be what makes your product special. You have heard of products that are “triple-refined”, or “hand stitched”. Consumers regard such products highly just because of one extra detail.
Are your products or services personalized?
This angle often works well for small businesses that are competing with huge corporations. If you are able to interact with your customers and provide personalized service while your competitors are big businesses that are essentially faceless, that could be your point of difference.
Does your brand support environmental or social causes?
If you are passionate about community projects, environmental conservation, or charity causes, you could use that to distinguish your business from its competitors. People like companies that care about sustainability and giving back to the community. You could set up a system where give a certain percentage of your profits to charity. Your more benevolent customers will appreciate you giving them the opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause. To find out more about the kinds of causes that your business can take up, read this article.
Are you faster in your service delivery?
People value their time, and they reward businesses that deliver their goods and services the fastest. If you are in e-commerce or in the food delivery business, your point of difference could be fast delivery. You could feature time guarantees in your promotional material.
Is your product or service of a higher standard?
If you are able to find conclusive proof that your product or service is of a higher standard than those of your competitors, you can use that as a point of difference. Even when two or more products are similar and serve the same purpose, theres always a chance that one works faster, lasts longer, looks better, uses less energy, is safer, or smells nicer. Remember that when consumers are faced with a choice between two similar products that they have never used before, even the slightest qualitative difference can determine their choice.
Do you offer products or services of a wider range?
If you offer a wider range of products or services compared to your competitors, make sure to use that as a point of difference. Your selling point could be that your product comes in multiple colours, styles, materials, fabrics, or shapes. If its an electronic product, you could point out that is has more add-on features, its available on more platforms, or its compatible with more devices.
To find a point of difference that works well for your product or service, you need a bit of creativity. Try to think of the whole thing from the point of view of the customer. What is he or she looking for? What point of difference will she respond to? You can test several ‘point of difference’ strategies on focus groups before you settle on the one that works best.