5 Tips for Retailers Starting a Private Label Product Line


Retail companies introducing their own lines of private label products often face an uphill battle: they are dependent on other manufacturers for their products, and they must establish their private line against major brands.

While “generic” brands once gave off the impression of low quality, this is no longer the case. Private label brands are giving major brands a run for their money on store shelves, but this is only possible if they're positioned correctly. Here are five success tips for retailers that want to start a private label product line.

1. Fill a Unique Need in the Market

Private labels perform best when they bring something different and unique to the market. In other words, retailers should take a close look at the major national brands in the same category and see if there is a need in that space that remains unfulfilled. If there is, this could be a ticket to success.

Some examples are private label foods that have branched into the organic and gluten-free niches. While price is still a differentiator, it's essential to find something unique that will appeal to consumers.

2. Support or Align with a Master Brand

While a product should file a unique need in the market, there's no reason that retailers shouldn't be able to take advantage of strategic partnerships and alliances. Take a look at what Target accomplishes with private label designer brands like Michael Graves, Isaac Mizrahi, and now Vineyard Vines—these brands are consistent with Target's promise of affordability and quality while offering something exclusive to the store's shoppers.

While it may not be easy to get a brand into a store like Target (maybe you can), it doesn't hurt to think along these lines. Is there a retailer in the area that can be approached with a private label and message?

3. Offer High Quality at a Lower Price

In the past, there has been the perception that private labels were of lower quality than national brands. In other words, private label diapers would be less absorbent, and tissues less soft than a national brand.

Fortunately, many of these quality gaps have either narrowed or no longer exist. One of the goals should be to provide the highest quality product possible that will also beat out brand names in a price comparison.

4. Spending Time on Branding

No matter what approach is chosen, it's vital that a good deal of time is spent defining and then positioning a brand. A unique logo and catchy name aren't going to be enough to sustain a business long-term.

It’s important to develop a story that appeals to the target audience and creates effective campaigns to get the message across. Getting a brand in front of its target market is an ongoing process.

5. Using Labeling That Makes an Impression

The look and feel of a product is not something to be left to chance. Partnering with a company that specializes in branding, packaging, and custom labels is critical.

Brand owners only have one chance to make a powerful first impression. How a product is packaged and labeled can make or break a business, particularly in the beginning.

The partnership formed with a custom label provider will play a significant role in the success or failure of the private label product. Even though many will claim to be the best and promise to deliver what is needed, it will come down to due diligence to make the right choice.

Taking special care with labeling choices is key. Retailers should ensure that they are being truthful on the label and complying with all applicable regulations. Beyond this, custom labels should be unique, impactful and memorable so that they stand out from the crowd.

Private labeling is one of the hottest trends in retail, but it's not something that should be approached without a plan. Creating a new product that is exclusive can be profitable, and a business stands the best chance of success by taking a deliberate approach to this process and paying particular attention to branding and labeling.

If your company would like to learn more about the benefits of private labeling, the team at Century Label is happy to help. Contact us now to set up a free quote or answers to any of your questions about private labeling.