Walmart Private Brand Goes UnBranded?

In what is certainly the continuing evolution of Private Brands and the Private brand Portfolio at Walmart I recently discovered a proliferation of new Private Brand products often carrying the Walmart distribution clause. With the relaunch of Great Value this past year the discovery of new Private Brand products is really more expected than news, so why do these products matter? Simply put they are unbranded cheap stuff, the lowest price point, literally carrying no brand name or logo. They lack the consistent design of Great Value, instead carrying a design language that is unique to both the category and the value/basic price tier they occupy. These products either by default or design are forming a bottom-pricing tier for Walmart. Since I wrote a post earlier this year about the conversion of several sku’s of the former Great Value ice cream to unbranded the trend in unbranded Private Brand products has exploded throughout the store.

The Private Brand colas are being losing their reference to Walmart founder Sam Walton rebranded from Sam’s Cola to simply Cola.

BEFORE: Sam's Cola
AFTER: Cola

Is this an intentional strategy driven by the management of the entire Private Brand portfolio or is it simply a reaction to merchandising needs at price points where it is impossible to meet the redefined Great Value quality standard?

If it is intentional why not create a true value tier brand similar to a Tesco Value, Kroger Value, Smart Option from Food Lion or Waitrose Essentials and take create for good products at a great price?

Is this a viable Private Brand portfolio strategy?

What do you think Strategy, Trend or Coincidence?

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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.