The global market has become controlled and heavily influenced by large-scale retail companies and well-established (or well-funded) brands and manufacturers. The idea of trying out a private label product can be thrilling, rewarding and risky all at once.
Most of us are used to seeing the generic or in-house brands that are stocked on the shelves of our local supermarket or retail outlet – this doesn’t only apply to food products. Clothing retailers, large-scale furniture outlets – you name it. When a retailer or supermarket has enough money, they can create their own brand to compete with the very products they have on their shelves.
Who better to start a private label brand than someone who has direct access to consumer information? Which products are selling more than others, which brands people prefer, etc. This gives you an edge when it comes to creating a brand or product. It’s a lot like having a view of the mechanics of the market – it’s basically a head start.
A good example of this is Amazon’s range of in-store products known simply as AmazonBasics. The products are labeled very simply because the company already has direct access to market, so no need to try and grab a customer’s attention. As a large scale retailer, they’re also able to manufacture the goods at a cheaper price and therefore offer them for less – the key to the brands success.
However, the idea of starting a private label brand is not limited to large-scale brands or retailers anymore. In fact, the idea of creating a private label has increased in popularity in recent times and has spread globally too. The chances that you’ve bought or at least tried a private label product in recent years is quite high. Nowadays, a private label brand doesn’t have to be the boring, ‘cheaper’ option.
If you’re interested in starting your own private label brand, or are even considering it – then I’d highly recommend reading this article. Knowledge is your best asset (or weapon) in the business world – you can never have too much. I hope to shed some light on the matter for you, and hopefully give you a few tips and pointers along the way.
What Is Private Labeling?
Private labeling, or private label products are also commonly referred to as OEM products or brands – Other Equipment Manufacturers. I think this definition gives you the best idea of what a private label brand is – basically a product that is created by a specific manufacturer and labeled under another brand.
If we were to take the AmazonBasics range as a continued example, Amazon themselves do not actually manufacture the products in the range. They have a lot of say in terms of each product’s specific design, functionality and labeling (among others), but have nothing to do with the actual creation of the product.
This process has generally also been linked to the rise (as well as both the popularity and disliking) of globalization in the market place. The point of most in-store or ‘generic’ brands is to undercut competing brands in terms of price – increasing product margin.
In saying this, it would make sense for a company to manufacture their products in a country that has a weaker currency than theirs or cheaper labor costs – hence the ever-popular ‘Made in China’ label you’ll find on most brands or products these days.
If a company can reduce the price of their manufacturing overheads, they can greatly increase their profit margin per product – but often at the cost of quality. This is why a lot of people are still brand loyal and tend to stick with a brand they like – because of the quality.
However, in recent times, private label products have become quite vogue and are regularly developed by independent entrepreneurs and smaller businesses or brands alike. In an age where large-scale retailers are having a negative effect on customer loyalty (why spend more when you can spend less?), private label brands are the best way to combat the issue.
This means that a private label brand no longer has to be an in-store ‘generic’ or replica, but can actually compete as a premium brand. There are more risks and rewards when creating a private label brand, but with enough knowledge and little bit of experience, you can turn over a profit quite easily so long as you’ve positioned yourself well and have a product that people want/need or will like.
Basically, getting your goods manufactured by someone else isn’t that difficult these days, not to mention it can save you a lot of money and help generate a loyal customer base. It’s fast becoming the preferred method of product in the modern day and age.
How To Pick Your Products: Research
Selecting a product to sell under your private label can be a tricky and lengthy process. That’s something that you should consider for some time before jumping into this. Research is the most important aspect of starting any private label brand or any brand for that matter and should never be overlooked – even if you’re creating a completely new product.
Generally, the idea of offering a private label product is to offer a product that already has a demand, but doing so in a way that hasn’t been done before or is more cost-effective. Selecting the product(s) you wish to produce is the most important aspect of private labeling. As such, there are plenty of variables to weigh.
One of the best places to start looking is the Amazon Best Sellers list. This list is updated hourly and gives you a good indication of what’s popular at the moment – whether you plan to sell your product(s) on Amazon or not. However, it’s important to consider product pricing before planning your business venture.
If you go try to create a low-range product that costs less, you’ll have more competition. You could also struggle to undercut the prices already available on the market. This means you’ll have to sell more to reach a desirable profit margin.
Besides, there are already so many large-scale retailers going for the low-margin, high-volume approach that a smaller brand such as yours will struggle to make any headway. Adversely, you also don’t want to choose a product that will cost too much to make – unless it’s quite rare/niche and you are confident that you can make a product that becomes a leader of an in-demand category. It’s better to start off with products in a $10 – $60 range first. Build your way from there.
You’ll also want to look into creating products that are simple and durable. This means that they’ll be cheaper to make and won’t break as easily if they’re being shipped – which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Finally, it’s also important to choose a product that you can restock quickly – as running out can cost you money in the interim and lead to you losing customers.
Your product should also be able to sell all year ‘round. Try and stay away from products that are seasonal as this can cut into your margins and certainly affect the profitability of your business. There isn’t an exact science to what could be popular or not as trends happen all the time and seem to come out of nowhere. But doing your research before starting a business is always important and shouldn’t be taken light-heartedly.
This is one of the most common questions I encounter when it comes to the world of business, but more specifically marketing and private label enterprises. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one line solution I can offer you and there’s a wide variety of opinions and perspectives available to you these days thanks to the internet.
However, there are a few basic universal guidelines which will come in handy when starting your business. Firstly, it’s important to understand that your brand is basically a promise that you offer customers. It’s what they can expect from your company or product line, i.e. – is this a high cost, high quality line or a low-cost, high-value product or line?
The idea of branding a new business can be split into 2 main categories. Namely, your brand strategy and in time, your brand’s equity. First comes your brand strategy. This is easily one of, if not the most important aspect of starting a private label brand or any brand for that matter and can really make or break your business. It is on par with your business strategy and should be well thought-out before you start manufacturing any products.
Your brand strategy helps define who it is you want to communicate to as well as how you plan to do so. There are a lot of aspects to consider when reviewing your brand strategy – your logo is probably the most important though.
This is how you represent your brand in the marketplace and is how consumers will recognize or identify your brand. It’s important to create a logo that suits your brand and helps to express what your brand stands for (it should be a reflection of your brands values), yet should also be unique. This will help to differentiate your brand from others in the same category and help consumers classify your brand – is this a modern, young, fresh brand or a traditional, trustworthy brand etc.
However, it’s also important to consider how and where you advertise your brand. This will help to create awareness in the marketplace as well as reach your desired target market. For instance, advertising pet products in veterinary clinics or pet groomers is a good idea, whilst marketing a brand of alcohol in an area that’s majority Muslim would not be a good idea.
It’s important to note that you can’t appeal to all people all of the time – you’re bound to miss a majority of the marketplace at first. That is, unless your product is truly universal or your marketing campaign in on point. Be sure to take it with a pinch of salt. Always be sure to do your research before you set off.
If you have a good brand strategy and your marketing campaign pays off, you’ll earn a strong brand equity over time. This is basically your brand reputation in the marketplace and is earned through providing good, consistent marketing strategies as well as a product that lives up to its own marketing strategies. Established brands can basically be thought of as having a high brand equity. This counts for a lot in the market place. People are more likely to go with a brand that has a higher brand equity, than those that don’t.
However, every day is another opportunity for you to earn higher brand equity and strengthen your brand’s awareness in the marketplace. How you choose to market your brand, where you decide to sell it, which packaging you choose and how you deal with customer services all contribute to your brand equity.
So don’t take hiccups or mistakes (like a product breaking en route to a customer) as a negative thing. Rather, approach them as an opportunity to showcase your excellent customer support – this applies to every aspect of your business and should be thought of as ‘integrating your brand.’
Finally, I think one of the most important aspects of defining your brand and giving yours customers a good sense of who you are is in your brand mission. This is basically a short paragraph or even a sentence or two that helps to outline what your business stands for and what you wish to achieve. If you’re struggling to come up with a good logo, it could help to come up with a mission statement first and work from there.
How To Pick Your Packaging
Packaging is one of the most important aspects of creating any brand, let alone a private label product. I’m quite sure that we’ve all heard the expression ‘first impressions count’ – well, nowhere is this more important than the world of business, marketing and especially private label products.
Your brand stretches across practically every aspect of your business – from how you deliver your goods, to your logo, advertising and packaging choices. The idea of creating a strong brand identity is important for establishing your brand in an otherwise saturated marketplace.
There are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing the packaging you wish to use with regards to your products both practical and aesthetic. Firstly, selecting the right packaging for your product really depends on what you plan on selling.
There are a lot of practical aspects to packaging – most importantly protecting your brand. If your product comes in a glass container, it would be wise to consider boxing it with bubble wrap. But beyond keeping your products protected, packaging is also important as it’s basically a means of advertising or marketing your product 24/7.
Your packaging should help to make your product stand out on the shelf, or rather emphasize your brand identity. You may want to try a few examples at first before settling for a final version as you’ll want to ensure that your brand carries through consistently.
You need to make sure that you aren’t spending too much money on your packaging, as this could cut into your profit margin and impact packaging and shipping times. However, if you’re going for a high-cost, high-quality brand, it may make sense to spend a little more on your packaging (and decorating it) than if you’re going for the pragmatic, low-cost type of product. Either way, your packaging is one of the most important ways of helping to define your brand and making it stand out. Having unique packaging can help to deter cheap imitators and help customers identify with your brand. Be sure to put considerable thought into how you decide to package your products.
How To Synthesize Branding And Packaging
It’s important for you to remember that your packaging is a direct reflection of your brand and should be considered as an avenue for marketing or advertising. If you want to strengthen your brand’s identity in the marketplace, it’s important for it to flow through all the aspects of your business.
Simply having your logo on your packaging is not good enough. Your packaging itself should reflect your brand’s identity – from the logo, to the decorations and coloration. The more you manage to tie into your brand, the stronger and more well-developed it will seem.
A potential customer is more likely to buy a brand that seems well developed than one that doesn’t. However, that also means that your product has to live up to expectations that your branding creates. You can utilize some of the best advertising, packaging and logo design in the world, but if your product under performs, it’s all redundant.
That being said, once you’ve refined your product, developing a strong brand identity is like the cherry on the top. It’s the final deal-sealer in your arsenal and should never be overlooked.
How to Market And Sell Your Products
Once you’ve gone through the process of selecting or developing your product, gone through countless logo options, packaging variations or styles, drawn up your mission statement and have a detailed brand strategy, where do you turn next?
Much like creating a strong a brand, the process of marketing and ultimately selling your product is quite complicated and is based on a wide amount of variables. There are entire books dedicated on this process and people spend years studying marketing and advertising to get a better understanding of the techniques and methods used to effectively market and advertise your brand.
There really isn’t a magic bullet approach to this process. Many brands tend to change their marketing and sales tactics over time. However, I hope to give you a few tips and suggestions that may make your life a little easier when it comes to increasing the ROI on your marketing strategies and turning campaigns into sales.
The first step that you need to implement when trying to market your brand is to draw up a sales plan. This is similar to your business plan, and is often included in it – but is more detailed and specific. Basically, a marketing plan helps you to identify exactly who your target market is.
The more details, the better as this will allow you to narrow down your target market and basically help you identify who it is you’re communicating to when you’re advertising your brand/product. As a start, you should also set realistic sales goals.
These cannot be general or abstract numbers, but specific amounts over specific periods of time i.e. x amount of units over y amount of days/months. Take into account the nature of your product when drawing up your sales goals – for instance, soaps are more likely to sell in larger quantities than electronic devices etc.
This will help you gauge whether you’re succeeding or not once your product hits the markets, and allow you to evaluate what’s going wrong or right and adjust appropriately. It’s also important to set a target account for your brand or a specific product in your line. Ultimately, striking the right balance is what counts.
— Eric V. Holtzclaw (@eholtzclaw) May 8, 2017
A good brand to look at as an example is Tarte Cosmetics. The company is reputable for not spending any money on advertising or marketing strategies, but rather spend their money on developing great products and conducting tests that scientifically prove the effectiveness of their products.
Other than having a product that works well and lives up to its promises, having good packaging can really help to make your product stand out and strengthen your brand’s identity within the minds of your customer base or target market. This will, ultimately, bring in more sales.
Creating your own private label brand can help you set yourself up as an entrepreneur, especially if you have little or no experience with the manufacturing process or as an entrepreneur for that matter. Obviously, as time goes on and you learn from the mistakes that you will inevitably make, you’ll become better at what you do and be able to strengthen your abilities as an entrepreneur and business person.
Going the private label route is exciting, risky and rewarding granted that you manage to succeed. Due to the growing popularity of private label brands in the market these days, manufacturers are a lot more ready to cater for smaller, start-up brands and this will ultimately make it easier for you get your brand on its feet.
However, this also means that you will be entering a market that is highly saturated with large-scale producers and various other start-ups such as yourself, so reading as many articles like this and doing your research before you start your voyage is always a good idea.
There’s never been a better time to take advantage of private labeling in business and if you know the market well, you can stand the chance to make some great returns. Better yet, if you own your own store or small retail outlet, stocking your own private label products on your shelves is a great way to increase your margins and possibly even start a new avenue of business for yourself.
Like most things in life, you’ll never know until you’ve tried it. Given that you plan the steps carefully enough, trying your hand at starting a private label brand can be very rewarding. There are so many books, articles and websites available to you in the modern era – there’s no shortage of resources waiting for you at your fingertips. It’s up to you to put the process in action and get the wheel in motion. So what are you waiting for?