Private/Store/Retailer Brands in India

While in India most of the retailers have a huge assortment of private brands, these brands have not been very successful. Whereas abroad retailer brands have performed extremely well. Infact in certain countries a strong retailer own brand has prevented the entry/ success of competition despite the largeness in size of the competition.

Why is that the Indian brands have not witnessed such success? Firstly modern retail itself is still evolving in India. Customers are yet to explore modern retail format. Forget the store brands. They are yet to understand the concept of store brands. While we have been buying lot of store label for pulses, namkeens and few other groceries from the neighbourhood kiranawala (in the actual sense this is packaging done by the kiranwala not a brand) we are still not open to buying a store brand from a retailer.

While we have discussed in the previous topic on the advantages for the customers as well as retailers on having a private brands in this article let’s find how do we build brand loyalty.

There are few points which retailers will have to work on to ensure loyalty with quality of the products not compromised .Firstly  consistent supply, for out of sight is out of mind. If a customer does not find a specific brand or a product on his/ her visit the customer might not be keen on the brand. If a brand is available consistently a customer may purchase it atleast in the subsequent visits. While there are challenges a retailer faces in terms of manufacturing capacity of their vendors it is very important that a product is consistently available in the store.

Keep the branding, packaging consistent. Lot of retailers continuously explore in terms of logos, packaging, flavors, ingredients etc in the store brand. While the intention of the retailer is worth of praise such frequent changes creates confusion in the minds of the customers. He may or may not connect with the brand which changes its identity frequently.

The categories in which the retailer brands are available is also critical for its success. While store brands itself has not been accepted well in India entering into categories which are sensitive to the customer’s needs (e.g. skin care) or require special care (e.g. temperature sensitive products which pose logistical challenges) dilutes the very concept. Retailers can enter categories in which customers are not brand sensitive (household cleaners), category dominated by one or two players(cornflakes, diapers) absolutely new category (fasting products-though a large category no branded player)

The retailers need to build these brands brick by brick as these do not enjoy the advertising advantage enjoyed by other brands. The retailers can actually do a lot of sampling activity to the customers for them to decide based on the quality of the products. Retailers can educate the customers on the manufacturers (who could be the same as the market leaders). He could actually take a group of customers to visit the manufacturer facility to gain their confidence. This could be a great PR activity for the brand.

The aim for ever retailer would be to see his brands on shelves of a kirana store? How does he do it?

Is there any specific action which a retailer should take to build the private brand? Is there any specific reason why a store brand has not really taken off?

Please share with me.

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