Here's news you can use: Adding private labels to your merchandise mix can build your store's identity, strengthen customer loyalty and boost your profit margins.
"Private-label products help differentiate your business from the competition," explains Denise Leathers, executive editor of Private Label News, a trade magazine. "You're offering customers something they can't get anywhere else."
In this era of cookie-cutter retailing--where it sometimes seems like the same merchandise is available in every store--uniqueness not only sets your store apart in your customers' minds; it also gives them a reason to return. An added bonus: Margins are generally higher on private-label products. This enables retailers to price their store brands competitively--or to reap the benefits of increased profits.
Best of all, you don't have to be an industry giant to start your own private-label program. For example, Sweet Charlottes, a manufacturer of handcrafted chocolates and confections in Millbrae, California, does private-label programs for such heavyweights as Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel. But they also work with small retailers to develop products and custom packaging that won't break their budget.
"I really bend over backward for our private-label customers," says owner Charlotte Albright.
Check out the Private Label News Web site (http://www.plnews.com), which lists private-label suppliers of everything from air fresheners to vitamins.