Private Label Buyer

Singles, Doubles Can Win the PL Innovation Game, Speaker Advises

April 12, 2011

Small successes in private label product innovation can add up to sustained gains for retailers, said a speaker at ECRM's private brand foods conference in Dallas Tuesday morning.

Retailers shouldn't avoid innovations because they fear failure, added Marc Lower, senior director, product innovation with Daymon Worldwide. Failures are inevitable in the innovation process, he explained. Retailers also shouldn't think the only way to innovate is to find a mega-hit, a private label equivalent to inventing the iPad, Lower said.

Rather, “if we just keep working on singles and doubles, once in a while you're going to hit a home run,” he said.

Successful new product innovation requires collaboration, trust and a diversity of thinking between retailers and their suppliers, he said.

Retailers need to be aware that “most companies are not designed for innovation” and so take steps to overcome that institutional inertia when it comes to innovating, he added.

For example, senior managers may say they're encouraging innovation but category managers generally are not rewarded for risk-taking, which is what suggesting new products is, he explained, so that creates barriers to retailer innovation.