Walmart, Waitrose & Trade Joe’s Innovating Private Brands – Velocity Live!

Elevating Retailer-Owned Brands: Insights from Velocity This Week Live

Welcome to the second episode of “Velocity This Week Live,” where Christopher Durham and Laraine Durham delve into the vibrant world of private brands, private labels, and retailer-owned brands. This episode, dated Wednesday, June 19, covers innovative developments in major brands like Walmart and Waitrose, touches on a seasonal favorite from Trader Joe’s, and unveils insights from FMI’s 2024 Power of Private Brands report.

Join Christopher and Laraine Live each Wednesday at 1:00 EST for Velocity Live! on Youtube and LinkedIn.

Key Takeaways

  • Revitalizing Private Brands: How Walmart and Waitrose are reimagining their private brands to resonate with modern consumers.
  • Shifts in Consumer Perceptions: Private brands are no longer viewed purely as cost-saving options but as quality, innovative products.
  • Sustainability and Innovation in Focus: The importance of sustainable practices and innovative growth in the private brand sector.

Walmart’s Bold Transformation of No Boundaries

Walmart is aggressively transforming its retailer-owned No Boundaries fashion brand, seeking to connect more deeply with Gen Z consumers. The revamped brand aims to bring contemporary, youthful designs to the forefront, leveraging innovative fabrics and styles.

“There’s a huge opportunity for Walmart to reach a Gen Z customer with a brand that has both incredible style and unbelievable prices,” says Jen Jackson Brown, Senior Vice President of Walmart US Fashion Brands.

The overhaul includes assembling a dedicated team of fashion designers for the No Boundaries brand and expanding the product lineup to 130 new pieces. This launch is set for July 16 and targets inclusivity with sizes ranging from XS to 5X for women and XS to 3X for men. Innovative elements like plant-based bra pads and premium fabrications like seamless stretch and luxe fleece are expected to catch consumers’ attention.

Implications and Impact

The strategic move to bolster No Boundaries reflects a broader trend where retailers invest in private brands as strategic differentiators. Walmart’s approach, blending quality, style, and inclusivity, aims to create a competitive edge against giants like Old Navy, Zara, and Shein. By making it easier to shop for comprehensive online and in-store looks, Walmart potentially enhances customer loyalty and broadens market appeal.

Waitrose No. 1: Premium Branding with a British Touch

Waitrose is making waves with a significant expansion of its No. 1 range — the premium line of the British retailer’s own brand. Featuring over 130 new products, number one embodies gastronomic indulgence, with products like heather honey smoked salmon and wagyu ribeye steak.

“Our number one range is the ultimate brand for food lovers…offering the very best in quality and taste,” says Maddie Wilson, Head of Own Brand and Innovation at Waitrose.

The new offerings include gourmet ready meals, high-quality desserts, and premium spirits, all wrapped in stylish, refreshed packaging. The emphasis on local sourcing and sustainability, such as the UK-grown strawberries in their Berry Preserve, underlines Waitrose’s commitment to high standards and ethical practices.

Implications and Impact

Waitrose’s focus on elevated, exclusive products through its number one range speaks to a market shift where premium private brands serve as destination draws for consumers. This alignment of luxury, quality, and ethical considerations meets consumer demand for high-end, responsible consumption and solidifies Waitrose’s position as a leader in the premium retail space.

The Growing Preference for Private Brands

The latest “Power of Private Brands” report from FMI underscores the rising consumer inclination toward private brands, driven by factors beyond mere cost savings. According to FMI, quality and taste are now paramount, slightly outranking price as key decision drivers.

“Private brands are no longer just about offering a cost-effective alternative,” notes Steve Markenson, Vice President of Research and Insights for FMI. “They’re about delivering quality, creating new experiences, and highlighting unique values.”

The report reveals that over half of shoppers view private brands as very or extremely important in their choice of store, a significant increase from prior years. This shift suggests that private brands are becoming strategic pillars for retailers, offering unique products that resonate strongly with consumer preferences for innovation and quality.

Implications and Impact

These insights highlight the evolving role of private brands as central to retail strategy. By focusing on quality, innovation, and unique value propositions, private brands can significantly influence shopper loyalty and store choice. Thus, retailers are encouraged to invest in elevating their private brand portfolios through enhanced marketing and strategic innovation.

Broader Impacts and Future Directions

The transformation and evolving perception of Retailer-owned Brands illuminate a fundamental shift in retail. Walmart’s No Boundaries and Waitrose’s No. 1 exemplify substantial investments in quality, design, and inclusivity, setting new benchmarks for retailer-owned brands.

As consumers increasingly prioritize quality and experience over cost, private brands are uniquely positioned to capture long-term loyalty. This shift is backed by research and savvy marketing strategies, further solidifying their place in the retail ecosystem.

Sustainability as a Strategic Priority

Sustainability remains a pivotal element in retail, shaping consumer expectations and corporate strategies alike. Events like the upcoming Velocity Institute Sustainability Summit continue to propel the conversation around sustainable product practices, eco-friendly packaging, and effective communication of these initiatives.

As retailers explore sustainable innovation, they meet regulatory demands and cater to a growing segment of eco-conscious consumers. This dual focus on sustainability and quality transforms private brands from budget-friendly alternatives into sought-after choices that align with the values of modern consumers.

Conclusion

Retailer-owned brands rapidly evolve, transcending their traditional roles to become crucial sustainers of retail innovation and customer loyalty. Walmart and Waitrose’s initiatives and consumer research from FMI illustrate a dynamic landscape where private brands are celebrated for their quality, creativity, and alignment with evolving consumer values. As the private brand sector grows and adapts, sustainability and innovative marketing will remain central themes driving this transformation forward.

By Published On: June 20th, 2024Tags: , ,

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About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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