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When we talk about USP or Unique Selling Proposition, there are certain names we just cannot afford to miss and one such name is Avis. Avis is a car rental company headquartered in New Jersey with global operations. In the early 60s, Avis had only 29% of market share which placed them in the second slot while Hertz was the market leader with 61% market share. Avis desperately wanted to enhance their market share. Avis came out with a powerful positioning statement – “We are number two. We try harder.” something that rang beautifully in the minds of the customers. Even today the brand statement sounds so appealing. By 1966, Avis market share reached 36% while that of Hertz was reduced to 49%. For the first time in more than a decade, Avis registered earnings of $1.2 million from negative. And this turnaround is attributed to the advertising might of USP (and creative thinking too) in the endeavors of business growth and expansion. (1)

Texas-based Saddleback Leather Co. is a leather bag/accessories company that has positioned itself quite uniquely from the rest of its competitors with the positioning statement – “They’ll Fight Over It When You’re Dead.” But it is not just about the USP statement. The brand also exhibits a strong personality which can be clearly felt when one visits the website of the company. Apart from providing a shopping platform for its products, it is as if Saddleback’s founder – Dave Munson is trying to project the essence of Saddleback by presenting a narrative of his personal experiences revolving around the formation and journey of the company in the website. (2)

A strong USP and a brand personality are necessary for a business enterprise to distinguish itself from its competitors and present itself or its products/services as unique in a certain way(s). While the brand is perceptive in nature; USPs can be real, perceptive or both. And as long as this perception is sustained, customers stand convinced and a business continues to deliver what it promises to deliver, customers will stick.

In this article, we’ll try to examine the pitfalls of going for different business growth and expansion strategies without any strong USP.

Market Penetration

Market penetration is a very basic business growth and expansion strategy involving the least amount of risk. It focuses on selling more of the existing products to the existing customers in the same market. Businesses try to achieve this by making changes in the elements of its marketing mix like attractive pricing, promotional efforts etc. Positioning can play a vital role in the success of market penetration strategy. In order to sell more, existing customers have to see a reason (real or perceptive) to buy more. At this juncture, it becomes necessary for businesses to project a USP of the existing products/services or of the company itself in a new and different light which is unique and more appealing to the customers than they have previously experienced. In the aforesaid example of Avis, we have seen how a change in the perceptive positioning can help a business not just survive but also grow in terms of popularity and expand its market share. Without a strong USP, customers will not be convinced to buy more and rather they’ll perceive it as a desperate measure to enhance sales.

It focuses on selling more of the existing products to the existing customers in the same market.

Market Development 

In market development strategy, companies target new markets with their existing products/services. Size of the market, target market share, level of competition etc are some of the important considerations in targeting new markets. It is highly likely that the existing players in the new market already know and understand the needs and preferences of the customers and have adjusted their marketing mix accordingly. If the competition is intense and a business enterprise (or its franchisee) fails to come up with a stronger USP and a more attractive marketing mix, it will not be able to attract the customers in the new market. However, it is not always easy for a business enterprise to distinguish itself in a new market especially when the margins are restrictive, costs cannot be reduced, products/services are homogenous etc. But in the aforesaid example of Saddleback, we have seen how perceptive positioning can be used to create a USP by projecting a strong brand personality.

Size of the market, target market share, level of competition etc are some of the important considerations in targeting new markets

Product Development 

Fast food companies like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Burger King etc extensively uses the product development strategy following which they offer new products to their existing customers in the existing markets. What makes this strategy relatively convenient for launching new products/services is that the companies have a prior understanding of the targeted market segment in terms of customer behavior, needs and preferences etc. And on the other hand, the existing customers are also aware of the brands’ USPs, quality of the products and services, prices etc. The same strategy is applied by many small and medium businesses to offer new products to their existing customers. But it does not imply that this strategy can be blindly adopted. Apart from creating and offering good products, it is also necessary for a business enterprise to project a strong USP for those products in the absence of which even a good product might fail to attract customers or make them turn away to competitors.

Fast food companies like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Burger King etc extensively uses the product development strategy following which they offer new products to their existing customers in the existing markets


When a company targets new markets with new products and services, it is referred to as diversification strategy. Usually, companies do not go alone when they diversify. Diversification often takes place in the form of mergers, acquisitions and JVs especially at the global level. When companies diversify in any of these forms, it becomes very important for them to sustain the USPs of the brands involved. For example, when Microsoft acquired Nokia (handset division), it not only marked the entry of Microsoft into a completely new product category and a completely new market segment but Microsoft also inherited the strong brand USPs of Nokia. Whether or not Microsoft has been able to sustain the might of the brand USPs of Nokia is something we would like to leave to our readers and the loyal Nokia customers to decide.

When a company targets new markets with new products and services, it is referred to as diversification strategy

In a crowded and competitive business world, it is very important for businesses to project themselves as unique and distinguished from others. This positioning is crucial to attract customers and outshine competitors especially when a business seeks to explore new markets, launch new products or capture greater market share. In a nutshell, creating, projecting and sustaining strong brand USPs is essential for business growth and expansion.

To read more article related to this topics click here: 5 Things to Check Before Investing in a Franchise Brand | YRCHow Can an SME Raise Funds from Public? | YRC05 Reasons why Developing the Right Culture in the Organization is Inevitable for Growth | YRCHow SOPs will Benefit Wholesale Brand Venturing into Retail | YRC.

YRC is an “Expert Service Division” of Mind-A-Mend Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.

Author Bio

Rupal Agarwal

Chief Strategy Officer

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    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.


    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)


    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.


    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.


    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.


    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.


    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!


    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.


    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.


    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.


    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.


    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.


    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.


    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.