Keeping Shoppers Engaged in the ‘Brandless’ Era


We’re living in a world where there are many different brands and products from which to choose — including private label offerings. That begs the question: Are brands as important to shoppers as they used to be?  

Companies like Brandless, the e-commerce company that sells a variety of “non-branded” items, have changed the way consumers look at products. This approach leans on the mindset that the brand name is not the only sign of a quality product.

In terms of specific categories where private labels have gained ground, Nielsen research finds that own brands now hold a 10% share in the competitive snack food category. With this in mind, Prodege examined the large amount of receipt data that we’ve collected over the past year to get a clear glimpse into which products and brands consumers are buying. 

The receipt data shows that cleaning products are a category where private label purchases are becoming more prevalent — perhaps our members feel that household products will do the job regardless of the brand name. Among the retailers whose private-label cleansers rank among the most-purchased are Walmart (Great Value) and Target (Up & Up).  

But household cleaning products aren’t the only private label items that are moving off the shelves. Our data finds an increasing number of shoppers are purchasing own brands in dairy, pre-cut/frozen produce, and meat/poultry.

Overall, one-fifth of the 7 million recorded purchases in Prodege’s receipt database include a private label purchase. With private labels increasing in popularity, how can brands continue to forge loyalty among consumers?  

What’s a brand marketer to do? 
Consumer goods companies looking to keep their brands relevant in this “Brandless” era need to think outside the box. One option is to consider an engaging rewards program, an area that brands have shied away from in the past.  

Rewards programs can successfully drive loyalty and increase revenue growth and customer retention by leveraging existing promotions that haven’t been discovered yet. When driven by shopper insights, reward platforms allow consumers to discover and try new products for which they already have an affinity. Engaging promotions can take on many different forms, including live game shows, news and entertainment clips, social media discussions, or team competitions.

Rewards platforms also provide access to an engaged audience of consumers and provides valuable opportunities to wholly integrate a brand message in a way that grabs attention, sparks curiosity, communicates authentically and, most importantly, drives sales. Since it takes a minimum of five touch points to close a sale, it’s important for a brand to stay engaged and top-of-mind to keep them coming back once consumers have discovered the brand.

Loyalty websites hinge on their unique ability to connect potential consumers with advertisers, which makes it important that the rewards platform has a strong, diversified member base in order for those new products to be discovered properly.

The growing number of brands on the shelves may cause decision paralysis among consumers, causing them to choose price over brand association. Brands can work to counteract this effect by ensuring their messaging is prominent, authentic, and engaging across multiple touch points. 

About the Author
Alex Conner has been in the loyalty rewards and cash-back shopping space for more than 10 years with MyPoints and now Prodege, where he is vice president, revenue & operations for the company’s shopper marketing business. His main focus is driving revenue by way of supporting Prodege’s sales and operations teams.