You’re the Same As Everyone Else – Here’s How to Fix It

February 24, 2017

Here’s the thing about the retail industry. As much as you’d like to believe that your store is different from the guy across the street; you are really the same—at least when it comes to branded selection. So much so that up to 98 percent of stores’ branded item assortment is also carried by the competition.

According to our research, private brands currently average 9 percent of available items and 20 percent of total sales. If we look at growth over the past couple of years across the industry, we have seen the biggest gains from tertiary brands—not A brands or private brands. One of the more interesting findings in our research was that private brand uniqueness has a higher correlation with loyalty than national brand uniqueness. And just this month, we saw that year-over-year sales trends for private brands have spun back positive.

Given all of these factors, we are left to ask: if product selection isn’t at the top of your list to help differentiate yourself from your competition, what else are you doing to keep shoppers coming back?

Shoppers today are looking for ways to be disloyal. They aren’t interested in seeing the same thing, they are demanding better service, selection and experience. It’s up to you to prove to shoppers that you deserve their loyalty. There’s a wealth of possibilities across the store, and it starts with your own brand. Here are a few thoughts on how to make the most of this retail climate:

  • Use targeted analytics to optimize category management and merchandising at national and regional levels.
  • Take back control of store shelves to give consumers a better, more targeted shopping experience by using a dedicated in-store execution model.
  • Use the new label requirements as an opportunity to redesign packaging to educate and inform the consumer.
  • Leverage all elements of packaging – from the design to the packaging itself – to communicate your story authentically and create a connection with shoppers.
  • Continuously scan the globe for long-term strategic sourcing hot spots.
  • Turn associates into brand advocates to tap into the power of personal recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing for private brands, right at the point of purchase.
  • Make your store a destination, rather than a distribution point for national brands, through in store engagements that are unique and ownable.
  • Teach shoppers how to cook an entire meal with your branded ingredients. Make the store layout convenient and create meaningful experiences for shoppers that will help them connect with the product and understand how they can incorporate it into their everyday lives.

When we’ve got data coming at us from every direction, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day we are trying to connect to human beings. What people will remember most about their shopping experience is how they felt at the end of it, so give them an experience to remember.

When the human aspect is addressed, then you’ll be able to achieve what you need to grow your business: faster speed-to-shelf, more productive categories that drive sales and margins, higher service levels and fewer out of stocks and higher shopper likeability scores for the in-store experience.

I’d love to hear your comments on this one. Send them directly to me at