Own brand brings out best value

In the current economic climate, own brand ranges have become a growing trend for a number of reasons. Businesses want to have tighter control of spend, whilst optimising service levels, processes and pricing structures and customer demand is also evolving. In austere times, customers are exploring all opportunities to make their budgets work harder and go further and are consequently actively seeking out products and services that offer both good quality and best price giving them greater value for money.

There is still a common perception, however, that own brand products are lower quality. In reality, own brand products are often the same or similar to that of their manufacturer branded counterparts – they are just cheaper in price.

Despite strong price pressure forcing suppliers to find ways of mitigating costs and therefore introducing own brand ranges, the belief that a premium price will equal a premium, market-leading product or service is a hard one to break.

One of the ways suppliers tackle this is by raising awareness of own brand products in customer-facing activities. Supermarkets, for example, are arguably most well known for positioning own brand products alongside those of leading manufacturers in national advertising campaigns. In doing this, customers can feel reassured that own brand products are competitive in quality as well as price.

At Office Depot, our approach is to raise awareness of the range of products and services offered under the Office Depot umbrella and to demonstrate the quality of our own brand and exclusive brand ranges.

It is important for customers to feel they have control of purchasing decisions, but it is the priority of the supplier to make sure customers are fully informed about the brand and its services, especially if these services can truly add value to the existing relationship and benefit the customer. Explanation behind an own brand product range is crucial so customers can understand how a business has responded to customer demand and the growing pressure to reduce costs.

Choosing own brand products is often the result of consultative process conducted to help businesses reduce costs and drive value. At Office Depot, many of the processes to source own brand solutions have been consolidated in order to manage spend more effectively. This means we are able to choose products of higher quality, with better product innovation and features, and improved packaging.

A dedicated own brand team works solely on maintaining consistency of the products whilst acknowledging and working around potential risks. This is backed up independently by auditors and external verifiers to reassure customers that the products are of a consistently high standard but with the end result of a better pricing structure.

Businesses from across all sectors have spoken of a greater demand for own brand product ranges and it is an area within Office Depot that has seen an increase of around a 2.5% in terms of customers buying own brand products year on year.

The role of the sales and marketing teams is integral to the success of own brand product lines. As ambassadors for the business, it’s critical they understand the growing needs of a client base and work closely with customers to understand core product needs and ordering patterns to meet the ongoing cycle of supply and demand. Hand in hand with this goes a concerted effort to inform existing and prospective customers about the package of benefits with regards to an own brand offering. To name a few; convenience, consolidation and cost.

If communicated properly these benefits will steadily increase customer enquiries and lead on to a larger customer base for own brand products. But whilst manufacturer branded products still satisfy the desire for quality, changing perceptions about own brand offerings of an equal standard but at a lower price point is, and continues to be, an ongoing focus for many businesses as they can see how customers can benefit from such a range.

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