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Just in time for the holidays, Walmart is giving a major refresh to its staple private label brand.
The world’s largest retailer, and the top-ranked retailer in the PLBuyer Top 35 list for 2011, is moving away from the traditional white packaging that has graced its Great Value products since the brand’s inception.
In food and nonfood categories, from frozen and canned items to snacks, cereal, energy drinks, bleach, sandwich bags and plastic silverware, the new images are striking.
Planet Retail Global Research Director Natalie Berg, an authority on Walmart’s U.S. and international operations, said she had not heard about a Great Value packaging revamp coming in the U.S., but if the move was under way, she expected it to carry across the chain.
“The U.K. is the only major market where (Great Value) is not sold, so I suspect other markets will follow suit with a (Great Value) relaunch,” Berg said in an email interview Wednesday.
With color background, large striking photography, and the Great Value logo inset on the picture or background, the new packages are a striking departure from the traditional white boxes and bags that are sometimes on the shelf next to it.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say this is an improvement, but it certainly enables Great Value to take on a more premium positioning in relevant categories,” Berg said. “Great Value has always straddled the line between standard and economy tiers; therefore, taking a category-by-category approach to packaging will enable Walmart to more effectively target the needs of its shoppers.”
But the potential change of the brand from a unified look and recognition – Great Value has consistently been ranked as one of the most recognizable private brands in the U.S. – could have its downside as well, Berg said.
“The downside of course is that Great Value loses its standardized feel, adding an element of cost into the business while also resulting in some shoppers struggling to quickly identify it at the shelf,” she said.
To engage more easily with consumers during a revamp, Berg said Walmart might be able to use lessons from its operations in the United Kingdom under its Asda stores.
“A logical next step for Great Value would be getting consumers involved to publicly endorse the quality,” she said. “Walmart has been very successful with this overseas, and I think it would be a logical next step for Great Value.”