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Private Label Power

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In this new age of the economic malaise, customers are jumping on the private label bandwagon. In-house brands, previously considered inferior as well as “cheap and cheerful,” are now gaining the attention of savvy, money-starved shoppers who have discovered that private label items tend to be more innovative and unique than their traditional branded counterparts. They also realize that their newly discovered, favorite in-house brands are high quality, flavorful and often have added health benefits such as organic, gluten-free, or probiotic options.

Consider some of the more innovative retail programs in stores like Trader Joe’s, Target and Wegmans. Private label or control label products offer all of the positive attributes of the national brand equivalent with additional unique properties.

These retailers will take a seemingly ubiquitous item, put their twist on it and — Voila — a standout product is born. A perfect example is Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s. This item has become a holiday favorite among Trader Joe’s aficionados. It’s a traditional, natural sandwich cookie with a Trader Joe’s spin: the creamy filling contains real candy cane pieces and is only available for a few months out of the year. All it takes is some thinking outside of the box and the willingness to take a calculated risk to add a special touch to private label products.

Retailers have come to understand that they can take items across every category and make them unique by adding just a tad of innovation and creativity to differentiate their brands from those of the “Big Boys.” In order for a private label program to be truly successful, it helps if management is on board pushing and pulling and supporting in any way possible to set the tone for high expectations. It is management that is ultimately responsible for driving the vision of the company and, in turn, the sales.

Many of today’s simple indulgences come under the guise of new food discoveries in your favorite retailers’ in-house brand. Rather than taking a European vacation, a customer can troll the aisles of your store to discover new private label offerings and become an armchair traveler. All this and your wallet still intact!

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