T-shirt Business Pro Guide (Part 3): Find Your Unique Selling Points
There’s a popular saying that goes… “Find what makes you happy and let it kill you”. For the purpose of this article and its main message, we rephrased the quote slightly: “Find what makes your brand unique and let your business become a roaring success!”
So far, we’ve highlighted enough the importance of conducting your marketing research. By this point, you should have a detailed profile of your buyer’s persona if you want to know full well that your products will respond to the market’s demand. We also encourage tee entrepreneurs to go back and revise their marketing research every once in a while. Trends are constantly shifting, and so is your competition!
To make sure that you have completed the market research assignment successfully, you should be able to give an immediate answer to the question: “What is the customer demand for my products?”
Finding your key differentiators in the next step of your tee business journey is like opening Pandora’s Box…It’s where you can let loose of all your creative juices and explore a whole new world of business opportunities in your target niche (provided that you always put your customer’s needs first)!
In the next few sections, we’ll be giving you a few practical tips to follow if you want to stay unique and profitable without having to stand against your brand identity and main line of work. This part does not require so much scouting online as much as it asks you to know your business model inside and out. If you have done the researching legwork properly so far, this questionnaire will help you identify what makes your brand unique and what is left out there to consider!
So, get a pen and paper ready and let the brainstorming commence…
Question 1: What is unique about my idea or product?
Name the facts and narrow it down to 2 or 3 simple answers. Is it the cuts of your T-shirts, or the style of your garments? Or, could it be that your standout approach is choosing diversity for your printing materials, such as patches, rhinestone & flocks. Don’t go overboard with uniqueness but also never go under! Customers will typically choose your brand over another because you made your unique first impression.
Question 2: What problems does my brand solve?
This is a tough question to answer if you don’t actually know why your products are practical for the customer. If you are focused on the Low-price market (Mass Market or “Labor of Love”) where you have more bargain shoppers, the chances are, you will have to prioritize practicality & everyday use. Let us give you an example! If you were to create a Christian apparel brand, you could choose to make T-shirt garments that customers could wear outside in their local Christian communities and help them “share their love for Jesus wholeheartedly”.
Question 3: What is my exceptional “utility”?
This question should be answered right away when looking at your T-shirt line. It is all about integrity but also about unique features that make every garment stand out. For your brand signature you can choose to play with colors, vibrancy, and print size, or anything else that speaks of individuality! We encourage you to test your ideas with a small number of customers until you find out what your real exceptional utility is. Once you find what taps on your customers' desires, stick with it, and make it work for you for as long as possible.
Question 4: What do people “lose” by not choosing my products?
For this one, you need to consider your strong selling points. How do you help your customer improve their lifestyle and why should they choose to buy from you? By turning the question around and asking yourself what are they “losing”, rather than “gaining”, it becomes slightly easier to identify what makes your product worthy in your market group. For instance, imagine that you start a modern Christian apparel brand, which aims at helping people be “less outdated” and “get the attention they deserve”. Customers who don’t buy from us will fail to share openly their love and devotion with the world outside in style.
Question 5: What are my customer’s hopes and expectations when buying my products?
This question resembles Question 4 but the main highlight here is to make certain of your key promise to the customer. What are they expecting to gain from their purchase? Are you able to deliver what they have been told? For instance, Christian apparel should be comfortable to wear and give people the freedom to express their love of God. When holding the garment, the customer should feel empowered and willing to spread the word of God anywhere they go. Our target customer should want to identify with our apparel and “vocalize their faith in style”, which is what we need to provide as a product.
Question 6: What is my price advantage over my competitors?
Is my asking price sounding reasonable to the mass buyer?
An actionable plan for a new T-shirt business always puts price and affordability at the centerpiece of the whole equation. These are considerations that concern both you and the customer with equal weight. This is why it is so important to clarify your price differentiators at this step of your research before you proceed further. For a Christian apparel brand, you could chose garments from producers and manufacturers that give you a significant price advantage over the competition while still managing to keep the textile types entirely unique to you (within your niche)! You can also test the fabrics and make sure they can be decorated and painted to match your unique vision as a brand.
Question 7: What is the cost? What is my profit margin (x5 the cost)?
By this point, you should have a clear price estimate for your garments and a good understanding of how you compare to everyone else in your marketplace. Our advice is to keep your profit margin between 4-5 times the costs of your garment. Going under poses the risk of breaking even and this is certainly not what you want in the starting stages when you invest so much to get your business up and running…! Get a good understanding of your cost spendings and always look for ways to optimize without compromising on your quality and unique differentiators.
Question 8: What makes it difficult for customers to use my product? What are the obstacles they face?
This question takes everything that we have said so far and asks you to think deeper: “Why choose my brand?”
Is your product practical, appealing, and easily accessible to your target customer? Can you attract their attention, and if yes, is their buying journey simple enough so they can fast forward to the checkout step on your e-commerce site. In an ideal case scenario, purchasing online and receiving deliveries should be made as easy as pie for your customer if you hope to make keep them loyal to your brand and products.
Here we laid out 8 Main Questions that will help you differentiate your T-shirt brand identity and your unique position in the target market that you’ve chosen. Make sure you stand tall with each of them before you move on with the next steps including shipping, marketing, and online presence!
Stay tuned for more educational blog series. We have plenty of useful business insights still to come…!