Private Brand Transparency Does Matter

This guest post comes from Steven Howell is Director of Business Development, North America at Solutions for Retail Brands.

Today, private brands transparency isn’t an option. It’s quickly becoming a requirement.

Digital is reshaping consumer behavior. Consumers have multiple ways to reach and interact with your brand thanks to the evolution of the internet and smartphones.  This transformation has enabled consumers to become more aware of what they are buying and where those products come from. Consumers now seek more transparency as a condition for trusting a retailer’s brand. Retailers and their brands must share far more detailed information than ever before. This unprecedented level of transparency requires you to go beyond mandatory disclosures for brands to succeed in this new era.

Provide An Attractive And Consistent Experience For Your Consumers Wherever Your Brand Lives.

For retailers who own and manage brands, transparency will become the bridge to relevancy and brand value. The challenge will be to meet customers wherever they are. The answer to the consumer’s questions will not always appear on the product’s package.

When consumers want information, they want it now. If consumers search for product information online and find it, research indicates that they are generally satisfied, even if the answer is not what they wanted to see. On the other hand, if searches fail to turn up information, consumers may start to ask themselves if this brand (and/or retailer) is hiding something. The transformation within the physical space (brick and mortar store) is to replicate a digital shelve and leverage technology, allowing consumers to view everything about a product, from its price, to the processes used to manufacture it, to its provenance.

Take Advantage Of The Opportunity To Build Trust With Your Consumer Via The Smartlabel Initiative.

Product labels are a key component in transparency – the bridge between the physical and digital space. The Smart Label initiative offers retailers a way to begin building trust with consumers. Launched by the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2015, the effort lets consumers access product information online through search engines as well as on brands’ and retailers’ websites. Smartphone users can scan QR codes on packaging to access information in a standard way for all Smart Label compliant products. The industry’s goal is to provide information and an experience that’s credible, trustworthy, memorable and motivational.

The Smart Label initiative is a significant undertaking and can be overwhelming considering the large number of products in a typical private brands portfolio and complexities associated with accessing this information. Especially given that Smart Label is about going beyond what is on the product, to access information on matters of confidence and trust such as GMOs.

As a retailer, for you to be able to meet the increasing consumer demand for product transparency, it’s essential to work with suppliers to prepare and aggregate product content in a central location that you control. It’s been my experience that even if you have access to product information within existing systems such as a Product Lifecyle Management (PLM) platform, the quality of the information may be incomplete or obsolete. Many retailers do not have all products in their PLM. And more importantly, Smart Label is about going beyond what is on the label, so pro-active brand owners will need information beyond their current PLM. Suppliers are your best source to ensure complete, accurate, and relevant Smart Label product content.

In summary, Smart Label is a digital tool being used by a growing number of retailers who manage their own brands across the U.S. to give their consumers easy and instantaneous access to product information beyond what is on the product’s label.

Smart Label empowers your private brand consumers to learn even more about the products they buy and consume. Smart Label also offers many benefits to your organization.

Steven Howell is Director of Business Development, North America at Solutions for Retail Brands. Steven brings more than 30 years of global experience in retail, CPG manufacturing, consulting, and technology to the Private Brands Industry. He specializes in product lifecycle management process design, supply chain management, organization design, business process improvement, project management, and system design and implementation.  Steven has worked with organizations in North and South America on Business Development, Sales, Organization structure, Business Process, Technology implementation, and supply chain issues by understanding their business needs and translating into process designs, requirements and solutions, building key business & organizational capabilities.

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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.