How Wholesalers Can Offer a UVP For Direct eCommerce Business

0 min read

Brett Burns

A unique value proposition (UVP) is the promise of value that will be delivered to your customers. In other words, why they should buy from you and not the other guy. Capturing the true essence of your brand in one succinct statement that informs, differentiates, and sells is the recipe for a clear UVP.

However, combine those ingredients with the thick layer of complexity that comes with wholesalers who manage both B2C and B2B while offering up direct eCommerce and that makes creating a UVP no easy task.

Wholesalers like the Steve Madden, Gentle Fawn, and Nike’s of the world who also sell to direct online consumers face a unique challenge. How do they carve out a UVP for their direct eCommerce business? And why should a customer buy directly from them and not one of their other retailers?

As you embark on your direct eCommerce journey of trying to increase revenues, boost brand awareness, and build loyalty, it’s important not to step on your retailers toes while in the process. Wholesalers sometimes fear that selling direct will have an adverse effect on the relationship with their retailers, but oftentimes it’s the opposite.

A Forrester study revealed that more than 50% of wholesalers reported a positive impact on other retailer relationships and only 9% claimed that it had a negative impact.

Steve Madden, a leading footwear and fashion wholesaler and retailer, is finding success from creating a great UVP for their direct eCommerce business.

In a recent interview with Marketing Sherpa President of eCommerce at Steve Madden, Mark Friedman, explained that the UVP of their site is that they have the widest selection of any online retailer and they have it before anyone else.

Friedman also shared how his team is focusing on perfecting their UVP and direct eCommerce business through website optimization, A/B testing, and site speed improvements.

I’m going to dive deeper into each tactic and outline how following in Steve Madden’s footsteps can help you offer up a successful UVP and deliver an exceptional digital experience for your customers.

1. CRO > Traffic Generation

The #1 tactic that Friedman mentions when asked where his eCommerce team gets the biggest ROi from is conversion rate optimization (CRO). He explains that brands are focusing too much on trying to gain new traffic when they should really be turning their attention towards converting existing traffic.

It’s the classic chicken or egg scenario. Do you focus on CRO or getting more traffic first? Well if you’ve already got a decent amount of traffic than the answer is CRO.

Why? CRO helps capitalize on traffic that you know is already interested in your brand, boosts your profits, lowers your cost-per-acquisition, and creates momentum. Not to mention that the costs of paid ads are skyrocketing and the competitiveness of CPC is off the charts these days.

For example, if your website is converting at 10% and you start spending $10,000 on paid ads in hopes to increase traffic, your website will still only convert 10% of that new traffic. Your ROI will be linear.

But if you focus and invest first in CRO, your returns have the potential to grow exponentially. Doing so, your conversion rate could grow from 10% to 20% and stay there into the future, helping your paid traffic efforts down the road.

First focus on CRO, work to double your website’s conversion rate, which will in turn could double your profits. From there you’ll be better financially equipped and ready to invest in paid traffic. And because you did it in this order, you’ve just doubled the ROI of your future paid traffic investment.

2. A/B testing and data mining

Once you’ve determined you have enough traffic to conduct A/B testing, get started today and begin learning invaluable customer insights.

In the interview, Friedman explains the parallels between living his career believing that the devil is in the details and A/B testing at Steve Madden.

He goes on to reveal that often times A/B testing creates opportunity by uncovering places where customers are experiencing difficulty and frustration.

For example, Steve Madden is starting to A/B test and optimize their customer checkout journey and during the process they uncovered that some customers were dropping off during the checkout process due to difficulty entering their zip/postal code in the web form.

Friedman stresses scrutinizing the drop-off points because that’s where you uncover how to improve your customer journey which can help boost conversion rates.

Other A/B tests you should be experimenting with are:

Web forms Headlines and titles Copy Product imagery CTA placement and wording Entire landing pages Product categories Pricing strategies Social channels Shipping strategies Customer/product reviews

On the topic of improving the customer experience through data-driven techniques, utilizing data mining can help wholesalers improve their eCommerce UVP. Data mining is the practice of examining large, pre-existing databases in order to generate new information.

I often find brands seeking ways to gather and extract new data when in reality they’re already sitting on massive amounts of data; they just didn't know they had it or how to use it.

Here’s three ways to get started with data mining:

Market Segmentation - One of the best and easiest ways to data mine is to segment your customers. Using purchase history and other relevant data like product interest categories, break down your customers by age, income, gender, interests, and occupation to help get a holistic view of your customer.

From here you can shape your buyer personas, better target your ad spending, hyper-target your SEO efforts, and improve your conversion rates as a result of being able to market to a more targeted consumer.

Sales Forecasting - Take a look at when customers made past purchases and use that data to predict future sales trends and figures. When you’re creating pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic sales forecasts, analyzing previous sales data will help you ensure a more optimistic return.

And once you’ve mined this type of data, it can help you to determine what complimentary products to sell and suggest on your website backed by real data.

Product Production - Data mining is great for helping create new products. Innovative brands start their business or create new products by filling a void or solving a customer pain point. Using your existing customer data you’ll uncover new customer pain points and gaps in the market where you can focus your future product production efforts.

3. Speed and reliability

When asked to give tips on what technology or channels other wholesalers and brands should be focusing on, Friedman says website speed and reliability, explaining that speed is often overlooked by marketers.

Kissmetrics puts it well when they state that if an eCommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

Friedman says even the most minor improvements to Steve Madden’s site speed and reliability generated a significant increase in conversion for them.

We’re an impatient generation. We expect sites to load in less than two seconds, otherwise we’ll bounce. And the quicker your site, the higher your PageRank.

So where do you begin optimizing? There’s a lot that goes into improving site speed performance and reliability. As an eCommerce wholesaler, you can start by checking your performance at Google’s Pagespeed Insights to help uncover areas of improvement. From there you should:

Talk to your internal team to ensure you’re leveraging an index to help optimize your database. Doing so will help your website find information more efficiently and is one of the best ways to improve the speed of your site’s database. Be mindful of your tracking codes, analytics programs, embedded videos, and sharing functionality. I’m not saying ditch them altogether, but having too many can really start to slow your site speed and performance. And if you do have to have several tracking codes on your site, ensure that they’re at the bottom of the page. This way, the page will load first for your customer even if the codes haven’t. Leverage cache. Taking advantage of local storage in HTML5 will let you store tons of information in the browser instead of your server’s database.


As you’re carving out a UVP for your direct eCommerce business, remember it’s all about creating value for your customers. The more value for them, the happier they are, and the more they’ll buy.

Leveraging CRO, A/B testing, data mining, and site speed optimization will help you create more value and build an awesome UVP and shopping experience for your customers, just like it did for Steve Madden.

What have you leveraged to help you successfully create a direct eCommerce UVP for your wholesale business? Let me know in the comments.

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