The increasing market presence of own-brand and private-label products has been one of the major stories within retail in recent years. If your business primarily operates online, you may wonder where you fit into this trend. Do own-brand items matter at stores that don't have a brick-and-mortar presence, and can you extract value from this unique category of merchandise? If you follow Amazon's lead, you can make those products work for you.
Inspecting Own-Brand Progress
Practical Ecommerce Senior Contributing Editor Armando Roggio recently spoke with marketing analyst Ojastro Todd about the spread of private-label products in the e-commerce space. The trend has swept up some of the largest online-first companies, Amazon among them. This activity is a positive and negative sign for smaller retailers, as it can be hard to beat these titans on their own big-business terms.
Todd described Amazon's path to own-brand success, indicating that it first focused on peripheral products without big-name manufacturers. Phone chargers and batteries proved to be fertile ground for a takeover, as shoppers weren't necessarily picking these items based on brand recognition. Now, when shopping through Amazon, the store's Amazon Basics line has become the go-to choice for those items.
Getting established in a similar fashion requires building trust between company and consumer. Todd noted that reviews are essential in this process. When buyers have weighed in on their purchases, brands seem reliable. Without such a seal of peer approval, shoppers may gravitate back toward a third-party brand they know by name.
Online grocery sales make up a niche market where two trends converge. Private-label products are a major force in brick-and-mortar supermarkets, but will they make the jump online? Progressive Grocer noted that despite its seemingly limitless expansion plans, Amazon has been tentative in introducing own-brand foods. It offers Wickedly prime and Happy Belly lines of goods, which together comprise a mere 124 items. Other verticals, such as apparel, have thousands of private-label products in them. Perhaps following the acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon's own-brand foods seem unnecessary.
Committing to High-Quality Packaging
When your e-commerce brand is ready to expand into putting out items under its name, you shouldn't skimp on the packaging. The labels will have to look good in photographs, as this medium is the way your audience will encounter them on your website. While the long-term success of the brand may be tied to word of mouth and customer reviews, great-looking labels can win shoppers over in the moment when they have to choose between the house brand and a third-party offering.