In an ever-changing retail environment, retailers have adopted more robust Private Brand (PB) strategies to help navigate the new World of retail, as changed by the various challenges over the past few years. PBs have grown significantly in the global and local market, both in sales and customer confidence, with 98% of South African customers buying PB items, 64% of whom purchase PBs every time they shop. In winning PBs, retailers and suppliers must meet customers' needs – beyond pricing.
With PBs no longer being seen as the low-cost option but as a Value brand, this demands the attention of all customer segments – Value in providing value to customers of all segmentations. The critical factor behind the deal is the perceived benefit based on the cost customers pay (regardless of price), whether it is tied to their enjoyment, quality experience or having a need or want to be met. By adopting strategies beyond the price and placing the customer at the centre of their development, their customer-centric product has to lead customers from all LSMs to transition their baskets to include PBs. Two key factors drive this:
- Increased Affordability
- Increased Quality
When comparing against our Daymon PB survey in 20201, there was a 27 percentage point increase in positive price perception of PBs, a ten percentage point increase in quality, and a four percentage point increase in the view that PBs better suit their needs. Increased affordability and quality lead to greater trust in PBs, and become a way to drive customer loyalty.
Drivers in purchases of goods are not only price and promotion related. Especially for customers looking for differentiation, having a differentiated assortment will not only convince customers to buy PB from a retailer and be a key driving factor in getting customers into the store. The benefits of PBs to retailers are threefold:
Having a differentiated offer from competitors stocking the same NB
The differentiation mentioned above may lead to loyalty as customers know they can buy this only from this specific retailer.
3. Margin Management
As the Private Brand sits within the retailer, they can more easily determine the affordability and margin of the product.
When looking at the benefits for customers, Customers have also started migrating out of traditionally strong NB categories to buy the PB offer, mainly driven by an increased view on brand agnosticism. This is further supported by the customer's perspective that PBs are often better tasting and have better functionality. Using the Daymon Trendwheeltm, this behaviour can be explained using two key trends:
VALUE MATTERS: Balancing Price, Quality, Personal Values
The definition of value is evolving, and one size does not fit all. Customers are assigning value across multiple dimensions based on their personal needs such as quality, transparency, budget, and accessibility to reach a balance. Addressing this balance is critical as customers become more selective and mindful in spending.
For South African customers surveyed, who mainly focus on price (62%), there are a few key factors to consider, primarily that their base decision is driven by price. They prefer to buy the lowest price on the shelf and constantly look for promotions. This is not necessarily in all categories, especially where categories have a solid brand presence and high brand loyalty with well-known National Brands. As mentioned above, customers are increasingly brand agnostic, driven by better-priced and quality products outside of NBs, and it is here where PBs will continue to win.
In South Africa, 60% agree that PBs are better than NBs in terms of price, and 94% of customers agree that PBs are the same or better than NBs in Quality. 62% of South African customers agreed that PBs are less expensive, which is one of the critical reasons for buying PBs. This value proposition PBs bring to customers is supported by 58% of South African customers stating that PBs are better valued for money. Pricing is a crucial consideration, as customers have mentioned, and they will not buy PBs if they are more expensive than NBs. The need further supports this due to the current economic climate. Clear pricing strategies are needed from PBs to ensure a clear value proposition to customers in gaining their trust and increasing their share of the basket.
JOYMENT - Surprise & Delight to Escape the Everyday
Customers seek ways to drive satisfaction and happiness in an increasingly turbulent world in everyday life. As a result, demand for products, services and experiences that deliver enhanced engagement, simple joys, and empowerment is becoming more pronounced.
Customers look at products to 'escape the everyday and speak to their needs and wants. PBs here can quickly develop products tending to customers' needs. We often see newness and niche developments in PBs, naturally a strategy to follow once the KVI items have launched. Whether it be customer-centric development, unique innovations, or excitement, PBs can easily and quickly speak to customer needs where NBs may struggle. A motivating statement for private brands is looking at the below, where customers agree that PBs are the same or better than NBs when we look at the below components:
- Products suited to their needs (93%)
|IDentity & Always On
A transition that differs from private brand behaviours ten years ago is that customers are buying PBs and actively looking for PBs. Customers have told us that if they have a positive experience with a PB, they are more likely to purchase other PBs from that retailer. Of the 2% of customers who prefer not to buy PBs, the reason was that the quality may be inferior and that, in some instances, the product may be more expensive than NBs.
Meeting Customer's demands are not an easy task. South African retailers have tackled this challenge with various approaches and strategies to build out a more significant segment of customer buy-in. In approaching the future success of Private Brands, the customer must be central to these strategies, with Private Brands being a critical strategic pillar, given the necessary support. Retailers need to focus on their customer's demands with newness and innovation across all tiers and platforms, in-store or online. Retailers need to ask:
- Which PB customer will this product or range target?
- Will we aim to target those looking for an affordable price?
- Will our Private brand be a National Brand equivalent for the indifferent customer?
- Will this be an exciting driver for the customer looking for newness?
- Above all: What problem is this solving for the customer?
Customer centricity will be vital in winning PBs in the next few years, developing with a customer in mind, solving a need or a want, with a PB in this market geared for PB growth.
For more information on the performance of private brands, how customers buy PBs, key driving factors, preferred retailers on PBs, and which categories and barriers to buying PBs click here for more details about the PBs in South Africa report, written by TI in collaboration with Daymon.
Daymon Proprietary Customer Research, South African Customer, LSM 7-10, n = 1000, Feb 2022
- Daymon Proprietary Customer Research, South African Customer, LSM 7-10, n = 1000, Dec 2020
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Roelien Havenga – Director of Business Intelligence (Africa & Latin America) – email@example.com