Back in late October, I blogged about Crutchfield CEO Bill Crutchfield's open letter addressing the credit crunch and why Crutchfield is a safe place to shop. Embedded in the letter was the value proposition that Crutchfield is well-positioned to stay in business (unlike some of its competitors), therefore it will be able to fulfill guarantees, warranties and post-sales support commitments.
While this is a value proposition, is it the one Crutchfield should strive to communicate clearly? Or is it a piece of or sub-value proposition to the unique selling proposition?
Check out Crutchfield.com's home page.
What I love is that Crutchfield doesn't have an identity crisis. Crutchfield is all about helpful advice and customer service. Rather than bombard you with blowout deals like nearly every other electronics retailer. Rather, it reinforces the service message with:
- Tagline: 34 years of helping customers choose, use and enjoy electronics
- Personal advisors 7 days a week, call 1-888-Number (the quick link to email customer service is nice)
- Navigation tabs "Learn," "Support" and "Forums & Blogs"
- Customer Appreciation Week promotion
- Show people all over the page: CEO, employee advisors and a customer with testimonial
- Links to Bill Crutchfield's letter
- "Connect With an Advisor" and "Visit Our Learning Center"
- The email signup actually explains what to expect from emails (deals and expert reviews) rather than just "sign up for our newsletter!"
These things are all great, but I think Crutchfield could still make the value proposition more clear and powerful.
Even though the home page's elements support the brand personality of "helpful," I don't know why I should buy from Crutchfield, not just use its site to learn about a product then snatch it from a cheaper site. Most customers aren't going to read Bill's letter word for word and conclude that its wise financial management makes it the best place to buy.
Tony Valcarcel of Marketing Experiments agrees: "It is hard to pick out the one thing that Crutchfield does best so I would focus on its customer service orientation which can be quantified by looking at their awards and more awards.
Crutchfield is sitting on a major customer service credibility story -- it was named Best Electronics Website by Time Magazine -- described as "the best place to shop for (and buy) consumer electronics."
And it was a Forbes Magazine Favorite, a 9-time BizRate Circle of Excellence award winner and the only consumer electronics website to make Information Week's eBusiness 100 list, among other accolades.
Out of these awards, I personally feel the Time Magazine endorsement is the strongest. Most people recognize Time Magazine as an authority, and Best Electronics Website is more than a compliment. Crutchfield could mention this prominently on the page and link to all other awards. Linking to the Time Magazine article would also be effective.