S4RB & Consumer Science Form Joint Venture

grocery-shoppingSolutions for Retail Brands (S4RB) has announced a new joint venture with Consumer Science, a division of MMI (Marketing Management, Inc.). Together, the organizations will combine their resources and expertise to bring private brand retailers improved product performance assessments, better supplier engagement and faster sales growth.

Consumer Science is an established consumer research and product testing company. Its services include product sensory paneling, focus group facilities, claim substantiation and lab testing. As private brand specialists, the company is involved in helping a number of major retailers monitor and improve the quality of their own label products.

S4RB, a private brand grocery retail specialist, enables better communication between retail teams, suppliers and consumers through innovative software solutions built on its powerful UBX Cloud Services platform. These solutions collate product feedback to provide actionable insights that enable private brand teams to ensure consistent and competitive product quality. S4RB provides clients with insights and strategy to improve products, drive customer satisfaction to new levels and increase profitability.

Consumer Science and S4RB can now offer US retailers an industry-leading suite of services that empower faster customer-focused product innovation, bring productivity improvements to supplier relationships, and drive increased private brand sales.

Private brand products are an important part of the retailer’s offering. As well as bringing higher profit margins than national brand equivalents, they give customers reasons to choose one chain over its competitors. However, private brand product sales in the US lag far behind other countries: in parts of Europe, up to 40% of supermarket sales comprise private brand products, whereas the figure is barely 20% in America.

This situation cannot improve unless retailers are serious about making their brands relevant. To create appealing products, retailers must know and respond to their customers instead of simply mimicking national brands. Internationally, the largest growth is in innovative and premium private brands and 42%of millennials believe these products are more progressive than national brands. By 2020, millennials are projected to represent 30%of total retail sales in the US, with their spending growing to $1.4 trillion annually.

This is the background against which S4RB and Consumer Science have set out on their joint venture. They will apply their considerable expertise to helping retailers build a Unified Brand Experience (UBX) around ‘One View’ of customer sentiment and product performance, and work as ‘One Team’ to build private brands that delight consumers.

Chandi Gmuer, vice president of Consumer Science says, “S4RB are thought leaders in the private brand retail space. We are excited to be embarking on a joint venture with them, taking advantage of their innovative software and methodology to add value to the product insights provided by my team.”

Responding to this endorsement, Kieran Forsey, a director at S4RB said, “We are delighted that Consumer Science’s strengths so thoroughly complement our own. Together, we can help retailers revitalize their private brands and achieve much-needed change to increase customer loyalty, product value and, ultimately, sales.”

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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.