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Just Imagine Taking the Lonely Walk Test

The essence of dropshipping and e-commerce success lies in the profound truth: "Differentiate or Die," as eloquently stated by Jack Trout, the coauthor of the influential book "Positioning." To truly understand if your product is different, would you be open-minded to taking the Lonely Walk Test.

In the wise words of Albert Einstein, "The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before." Te be different, you must walk alone and face doubt, abandonment, cynicism and prejudice. In other words, it's a lonely walk. Hence, the name "The Lonely Walk Test".

Here's the litmus test: If your product, service, store or offering confidently claims the first position in customers' minds for any category, you've achieved true differentiation. Consider these exemplary pioneers, proving their uniqueness by passing the Lonely Walk Test.

  • Salesforce: the first in the category of CRM on the cloud

  • Origami: the first in the category of marketing signal measurement

  • Lexus: the first in the category of luxury Japanese car

However, most dropshippers and e-commerce owners sell products already in the markets. Are they destined for failure due to the lack of originality? Not so. The silver lining rests in the realm "in customers' minds." The iPod-Nomad Jukebox saga in Singapore exemplifies the power of creating a new category and capturing consumer perceptions.

Few know that Nomad Jukebox was in fact introduced in 2000, well before iPod was released in 2001. Yet, many thought iPod was the first large storage portable MP3 player. Although late in the market, iPod won the perception war, because it was the first to get in consumers' minds.

To do that, proper category design is indispensible. For example, if there isn't a well known brand yet among punk consumers, your online shop can be known as the first in the category of gadget store for punk enthusiasts. There is a systematic way to create new categories and dominate them.

In conclusion, the journey of being different is challenging, yet rewarding. While passing the test isn't the sole key to success, failing it might spell outright failure. With proper category design such as displaying your category name, even latecomers in reality can be the first in consumer perception.

I am not sure if it's for you, but take the Lonely Walk Test now, and be different. Your rewarding Lonely Walk starts today.


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