Is the New Walmart Great Value Hard to Shop?

Christopher Durham Aug 10, 2009 0

Great Value Private Brand Pizza

Social media is an amazing thing and over the last few months I have met all sorts of fascinating people, who have the complete gamut of thought and feeling on Private Brand this guest post comes from one of those people. I met Genna Cockerham on Twitter, she commented on one of my tweets about Walmart’s Great Value redesign. Genna is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She is the primary shopper in the household; she feeds and clothes the family on one teacher’s salary. The following is her perspective on Private Brand in general and more specifically Walmart’s Great Value.

CockerhamI haven’t always been a die-hard private brand fan. In the past several years, however, I have needed to cut the grocery budget back and I’ve found that private brands are the best way to save money on grocery items. I’m sure there are those who will argue that using double coupons and shopping the sales at different stores is more economical than using no coupons and buying all generic food. For urban dwellers it probably is better to cut coupons and buy certain products at different stores. Living in a rural area, there are no stores that offer double coupons. The grocery store choices include the local grocery store, Food Lion and Walmart. In rural areas, private brands offer a way to save more money with less effort.

It is for that reason that I was very excited to hear about Walmart’s Great Value brand re-launch. I didn’t really care so much about the fact that the products would have different packaging as I did that they would be adding additional products to the line-up.

The first Great Value product I saw with the new packaging was a fancy frozen pizza. The entire case was filled with the pizzas and the case seemed to glow. I was really attracted to the items and I don’t usually buy frozen pizzas. I thought the new packaging would be huge hit.

More of the new products are on the shelves now but I am having trouble finding them. The white packaging does attract attention but there is very little differentiation between the products themselves. For example, the boxes of Great Value garden rotini used to be green and the boxes of Great Value vermicelli used to be purple. I would go to the pasta section, grab a green box and purple box and move on. Now there is a whole section of white Great Value boxes in the pasta section. It is the same situation with the regular, butter flavor and reduced-calorie pancake syrup: There is a whole row of pancake syrup bottles with white labels. Don’t get me started on the bread section.

In addition, I find the new packaging to be very unattractive. I’m sure there are those who know more about branding and can speak to the logical reasons behind the choice of white and the type of text that was chosen. For myself, I think the packaging makes the products look cheap. Since I am a die-hard generic food fan, I am not any less inclined to buy the products.

I do wonder if it will convince anyone to try the products and if they will be able to find the product they need when faced with a whole section of white boxes.

Genna Cockerham is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She is the primary shopper in the household; she feeds and clothes the family on one teacher’s salary. Genna is a graduate of Ferrum College with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Russian. She is currently the Marriage Feature Writer at Suite101.com.

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Christopher Durham

Vice President of Retail Brands at Theory House

Christopher Durham is the founder of My Private Brand and the VP of retail brands at Theory House, the branding and retail marketing agency. He is a consultant, strategist and retailer with close to 20 years of real-world retail and corporate experience creating, launching and building billion dollar Private Brands.

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