Strong brands offer the promise of consistent quality, innovation, authenticity, helping draw new shoppers to natural retailers. Natural brands are custom-built to address specific customer needs. They unite consumers across multiple channels and create excitement for our natural way of life.
Branded products attract consumers through their national ad campaigns and promotions, encouraging mainstream consumers to shop natural retailers and subsequently driving traffic there. Every new customer creates an opportunity for natural retailer to convert them into future loyal shoppers. This is the quickest way naturals can grow sustainable sales.
Said products also allow retailers to compete head-to-head throughout the market and across all channels. For example, a consumer compares the price for a 12 ounce loaf of their favorite organic bread between three different retailers. Shoppers base their perceptions of the retailers by the selection they offer and the competitive pricing of popular items. If the natural retailer is competitively priced on that item, consumers will trust their pricing on others. Retailers can manage their margin goals on the unique specialty items in stock.
In contrast, consumers typically choose private label brands as more of an impulse while at the shelf. Because private label is not consistent across all retailers, consumers don't trust it to the same degree that they do branded products. This is due to different retailers using different private label suppliers. For example, private label peanut butter is inconsistent in quality and taste from one retailer to the next. One store's may be rich and creamy while another may look and taste like Play Dough.
National brands have a stronger presence in mainstream retail compared to natural. This is largely due to the push for natural retailers to adopt private label offerings to be price competitive. The problem with that strategy is it doesn't allow natural to compete head-to-head with mainstream. To level the playing field somewhat, natural retailers should use every opportunity to invite new shoppers to try more of their specialty products not sold at mainstream grocery.
Private label does play an important role in the natural channel. It offers consumers additional choices and it can help build branding around the offering retailers. This strategy can be very effective—once shoppers learn to trust the retailer.
How do you leverage brands to increase consumer foot traffic?