Private Label Buyer
Following The Buzz

Defaulting to National Brands

May 1, 2014

In the several years I’ve spent writing about store brand baby care products, I’ve gathered a stockpile of knowledge of the products available. I know what options exist from store to store, and I know that with a little bit of research and math I could easily find the cheapest diaper available.

Yet, with my first baby on the way, I still find myself defaulting to national brand baby care products, picking up Pampers on sale and using Amazon Mom to buy Fisher Price diapers when they offered a new member discount.

As an editor with cross-category product knowledge in the private label industry, I personally choose the store brand almost every time when it’s an option or I’m in a store I know offers NBB products. So why have I wavered on buying store brand diapers?

I’ve done it strictly based on word-of-mouth recommendations from friends. For some reason, as a first-time mom, I can no longer rely on my own opinions. I need someone else to promise me they’ve tried it, and it worked. And, of course, national brands have more money to get the word out.

It’s no secret that the baby care industry plays the most on emotions of shoppers, thanks to the guilt and anxiety felt by new moms. This is why social media is vital to the store brand baby product lines, providing a relatively affordable way to compete with the pricey advertising employed by national brands. Blogs filled with random moms dishing out advice, public Facebook recommendations between friends, online reviews, Pinterest … the online world is the go-to for baby advice after asking friends and family.

And new moms will find time for all of this, somehow. Unlike a simple price vs. flavor decision between store brand peanut butter or the national brand made at the shelf, mothers will obsess over which baby wipes they’re going to use before even stepping into a store, and happily dole out advice to other moms on the subject once they’ve decided (see page 19 for more information on wipes).

Walgreens recently put out a “Mom’s Cool Things” YouTube series that promotes its private brands by putting two moms through a challenge revolving around various store brand categories. Having recognized moms’ opinions matter, Walgreens found an intriguing way to use that knowledge online to promote its own brands, and has done it in a current, sophisticated way.

There are plenty of opportunities to get creative with this knowledge and promote private labels online. At the least, if you already have good reviews of your baby products on your store’s website, then Tweet it, Facebook it, put it on a shelf tag at eye level in the store. If you don’t yet, start getting bloggers to be your store brand advocates with their own reviews of your product. But above all, get the word out.