PL BUYER IS TAKING IT TO THE AISLES

November 5, 2010
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PL Buyer’s ongoing commitment to bring you more and more insights into the world of private label continues in this issue with the introduction of our new secret shopper panels. We’ve recruited a variety of average shoppers from around the country who will walk different aisles of their local stores for us and tell you what they see, and don’t see, when it comes to private label products and how they are being priced and merchandized in your stores.




PL Buyer’s ongoing commitment to bring you more and more insights into the world of private label continues in this issue with the introduction of our new secret shopper panels. We’ve recruited a variety of average shoppers from around the country who will walk different aisles of their local stores for us and tell you what they see, and don’t see, when it comes to private label products and how they are being priced and merchandized in your stores.
They’ll also be doing taste tests of a private label versus a branded product to tell you what they think. We’ve already gotten some interesting feedback on that front. One of our shoppers this month, for example, says that when she did a blind taste test of a private label and a national brand of breakfast cereal, she couldn’t tell the difference in terms of taste. But when she did the same test knowing which product was which, she favored the taste of the national brand.

That raises a fascinating question about the power of that brand to sway a decision. After all, it didn’t really change tastes just because the box was visible the second time around. I’d contend her change of heart about taste attests to the power of the national brand. Its marketing has planted that seed in a consumer’s mind, namely that it tastes better. That’s what private label has to compete against. How?

With quality first of all, private label has to taste as good as, or even better, than a national competitor to get consumer attention. That means formulating products to meet consumer expectations for taste.

Next comes marketing and in-store merchandising. I’m noticing more private label products being featured in weekly food ads but mostly those offerings are being positioned as cheaper than national brands. It’s time to start positioning them on taste and quality as well.
And that positioning has to continue in store. Our secret shoppers saw little, if any, in-store that touted private label products. That’s amazing when you think about how much signage is in the average store these days, right down to brand ads on floor mats and at checkout video screens. Where are the in-store ads trumpeting private label?

Let us know what you think of our secret shoppers, we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Our cover story this issue looks at the chain drug store landscape and its private label efforts. That’s certainly been a hot corner of the private label world this year with Walgreens rolling out Duane Reade private label in its stores and CVS constantly on the private label innovation bandwagon, to name just two players.

This issue also brings you an expanded PLMA show preview that includes some tips on what to do and how to get around in the Windy City. We look forward to meeting you all at the show in November and talking with you about your private label efforts. Welcome to Chicago!

 

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