It’s All About Her (or Him)
We know that as consumers’ tastes, preferences and personal needs evolve, so must the brands and private labels that cater to them. In the grocery and beauty industry, it is clear that this involves getting to know your shopper’s personal health and dietary needs, and now more than ever, this also means understanding the key ingredients that should be explicitly excluded from the products they purchase. The shift towards a “me” culture has impacted the extent to which consumers expect their favorite brands to address their each and every need. For manufacturers and retailers alike, this means getting inside your target customers’ minds and offering products that will cater to them personally. As a private label brand or manufacturer, keep a pulse on your consumer and how her environment is shaping purchase patterns—are your offering her what she wants this shopping trip and how will she know it when you do?
“Free from” Claims Are Becoming More Important
As a result of this cultural shift, we are seeing a difference in the way private label brands are addressing niche market needs. We have seen that brands now showcase key claims and “free from” statements in a more impactful way to help the shopper make purchase decisions as quickly as possible. Reaching the hyper aware and health conscious consumer is not only a space for national brands anymore—private label and national brand equivalents are reaching out to the same base and doing it well. Key players in the drug, mass, and grocery channels are recognizing that today’s consumer not only expects low prices for equivalent items from her private label or NBE, but she now expects them to deliver a unique product that meets all of her personal health needs and caters to trending “free-froms”. For example, a brand that knows how to play up the fact that its product is organic, free from parabens, or gluten free, will speak to this health conscious consumer more effectively than those that do not deliver these callouts on package.
These benefits are no longer set aside as a luxury that is offered to national brands shoppers, but they are now also being implemented by a handful of forward-thinking private label retailers. Target recently introduced its private brand Simply Balanced, which is a product line targeted to its most health conscious consumers. Target guests are now offered a line of private label organics, naturals and simply well-balanced food choices that will support its own health plan and lifestyle. 2014 Private Label Store Brands Retailer of the Year, ALDI, has launched a similar concept with its Simply Nature brand, again showing the private label shopper that her favorite brands and retailers are taking a proactive approach to meeting her evolving needs.
Create a Dialog in Store, at Shelf and on Pack
As a retailer or manufacturer, once you have determined how to approach introducing these elements into your store offering, you will need to show your shopper that you stand for her health needs by leveraging your key assets wisely. Whether it is point-of-purchase merchandising, in-store marketing, signage or simply the packaging, find out what is going to communicate these key points most effectively. Be creative with your approach to get credit with your shopper and encourage conversion to your brands.
At the end of the day, the first step is identifying and tapping into any niche and unmet market needs that exist within your target consumer base. Once you have introduced the right products at the right time under the right brand strategy, marketing and packaging will help products make it off the shelf and into her basket. Getting these elements right will show the shopper that your brand is dedicated to her personal health and well being, creating deeper emotional connections and lasting brand loyalty.
If there are other great examples of private brands responding to niche needs, leave a comment. I’d love to hear about them.