What do you know about your Spa USP?
Not sure my article from 2016 about the ‘layer cake model’ is still present in your mind.
If you want to go back and read it real quick, click on the link above, a new tab will open, so that you can switch back and forth between the two articles.
In above mentioned article I am talking about the layer cake model, and although the articles is about 3 years old now, I still believe the model to be very valid today.
The layer cake model includes something called USP, standing for ‘unique selling proposition’ (sometimes also called ‘unique selling point’).
I think it is about time we talked a bit more about the Spa USP.
What is a Spa USP again?
Well, it means anything that differentiates an offer from that of a competitor.
This could be for example
- lowest price
- best service
- a built-in guarantee (i.e. 100% satisfaction or money back)
- best quality
- only product of its kind in the market
- most reliable
- easiest to use/access
- most convenient (i.e. 2-in-1 products)
- most prestigious
- best design
- value for money etc.
What is it, that my spa (or spa services or spa products) has, that no one else has?
The answer to this question will lead you to the reason, why spa guests visit your spa or buy your product, and not your competitor’s. And why your guests are loyal and repeat customers.
That is, if your Spa USP has the following attributes.
Attributes of Spa USP s
A valid, true, authentic, and successful Spa USP has to be…
the product or service provides the guest with an outstanding and valuable benefit. The attribute of your product offer is important to your spa guest. The spa guest has to perceive this a high value, whether you – as the spa business – think it valuable or not.
It fulfils the needs and wants of your target group.
If a company fails to present a strong and important benefit of its products or services, we talk about ‘under positioning’, a terrible mistake to be made.
example: ‘medical spa’: a med spa is a hybrid between a traditional day spa and a medical clinic under the supervision of an MD. Medical spas offer solutions to medical conditions, not just beauty or wellness treatments. People who suffer from severe skin conditions for example value the offer of medical spas, where they may find solutions to their problems, that they cannot find elsewhere.
limit your Spa USP to one single benefit ( and try not to find multiple benefits) and focus on this one benefit.
No single product can be useful to everybody (think about baby diapers, that are highly useful to parents with small babies, however useless to people that have no children).
No single spa can be good at everything: no one single spa can have the best pool, the best heat experiences, the best treatments, and the best skin care products, for single travellers as well as families of all cultures… Get my point?
This confuses the guest (or customer) as it is not clear to them, what the brand actually offers. And what it offers well. And that is the point: what is the spa best at doing, what is it best known for? This is called ‘core competency’.
the attribute can not easily be copied by competitors. Obvious, isn’t it?
If it can easily be copied, it is no longer unique.
Examples: A location is typically unique, or architecture. A strong company culture is also unique. An expertise can also be the unique aspect, such as a resident Ayurveda doctor for example.
the product or service is superior to competitive / alternative offers. It is of high quality, well tested, well executed or produced.
Example: Products from known quality brands are typically superior to counterfeit products. Some materials are superior to others, think of stainless steel vs. plastic. Authentic, indigenous, and local products or services are superior to their copies. I have written an article about my visit to Somatheraam Ayurveda Village, which talks about authenticity.
the offer is affordable to the guest. Your spa guest perceives the value of the offer for which s/he is willing to pay a price.
(I just realise that we need to talk about ‘perceived value’ soon.)
Besides bargain hunters most consumers are willing to pay for excellent products or services. The actual amount of money offsets the value, that the solution provides.
the spa can offer the product or service at a profit.
Example: the lowest price may be a USP, however this is not very sustainable, as it can easily be copied by competition. You may end up in a price war. And may not be able to offer your product or service long term.
Besides, just lowering your price may not aid much in achieving your business objectives. Most spas are businesses that need to operate profitably. So, profitability may be one of your business objectives, which may be hard to be achieved if you continue to lower your prices.
Pricing is a complex topic. We can price a product or service based on
- the cost of production
- a market average price
- or based on competitor’s prices
- just gut feeling
- or what a business thinks a customer is willing to pay etc.
A successful USP however is based on profitability. Companies usually have limited funds, and must hence decide how to use them wisely.
the attribute of your Spa USP is highly visible to the spa guest and easy for the spa to communicate. There has to be a clearly articulated benefit to the customer.
Example: I was consulting on a skin care brand. Organic, handmade, cold pressed oils, all natural etc.
However their USP (hand and cold pressed oils in small batches) was not very visible to consumers. It was difficult for sales people to explain this benefit. This is an example for a not very communicative USP.
Often, brand slogans include a brand’s or product’s USP, think about words like ‘perfection’, ‘authentic’, ‘traditional’, ‘all natural’, ‘expert’, etc.
Can you clearly identify your Spa USP? What it is? Do you think it has all of the seven attributes I have described above? Let me know if you need any help.