Why store brand products are better than you think they are

Store brand products are fighting a battle against a reputation earned decades ago, from their humble beginnings. In the early 80s, stores began stocking so-called “generic” products in an attempt to capture more price-conscious shoppers. The products often came in white packaging with only the name of the product in black font, as well as the upc code and a list of ingredients. The idea, as we’ve laid out in our post on the “brand tax”, was to strip out all the costs the name brands have associated with advertising, marketing, and packaging. While a good idea in theory, the products often were about as bad as their packaging looked. The only people who bought generics were those that couldn’t afford the name brand products, as the name brands were of a much higher quality.

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Store brands have been fighting against this legacy for decades now. Many shoppers remember these cheap, black and white alternatives, and think that if they can afford the name-brand product, they should always buy it. But that doesn’t reflect the reality of the situation. Retailers have invested millions of dollars into their store brand portfolios. Store brand products no longer exist just to have a lower-price option for budget shoppers. They now want to compete with the name brands not just on price, but also on quality. Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, explained the reasoning for this shift: “If you can get Tide anywhere, but you can’t get Sam’s Club Members Mark or Equate or Great Value anywhere, then there’s a loyalty there that passes, not just through the store, but through into the e-commerce business as well.”

Walmart knows that if they sell you a great Equate product or a great Members Mark product, you can only get that at Walmart. Same goes for Up&Up at Target, Kirkland Signature at Costco, and the many great store brands appearing at retailers nationwide. These big retailers know that there a lot of places you can go to shop, and you can even buy your groceries and personal care products on Amazon. They need ways keep you, the consumer, loyal to their store and coming back to do your shopping. But everyone can sell Cerave foaming facial cleanser or Crest 3D White Strips, so that’s not a differentiating factor. You will just go to whatever store is cleaner, friendlier, cheaper, closer or whatever matters to you as a shopper. You can only get Equate at Walmart, but you’ll only want to buy it if it’s a value and a high-quality product. Walmart (and Target, CVS, etc.) know this, and they are focusing on quality. This gets even more important as we do more of our shopping online. It’s one thing to go to supermarket closest to your house, but if you’re shopping on a website they’re all equally convenient! Thus offering unique products that you can only buy from Walmart.com or Target.com is one of the only way they can stand out from the (very crowded) crowd.

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There’s an opportunity out there to get great store brand products and save a bundle of money (and can’t we all use that with Christmas and holiday shopping bills piling up!) But the retailers don’t get it right all the time.  Some of the products are still a low-quality knock off, so its important that you shop smart.  That’s what Brandefy is here for; to help you save time and money through information transparency. Make sure to sign up for our beta for an opportunity to be the first to get our app in early 2018, and sign up for our newsletter for more site information and info about the best products you can get.