How to Maximize Private-Label Sales

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Private-label products are on the rise: Sixty-one percent of consumers are purchasing more private-label brands now than they were in 2016, according to the recent Private Brand Intelligence Report from retail service provider Daymon, Stamford, Conn. Convenience stores sold $53.6 million worth of private-label potato chips in 2017, according to IRI scan data. Moreover, 81% of consumers said they purchase private-label products on every or almost every shopping trip.

Here’s how to maximize private label’s power in the snack and candy aisles ...

1. Build a network

Before the products can sell, retailers must find co-packers who are willing to supply the proper quantities, says Trish McGovern, owner-operator of St. Paul, Minn.-based c-store retailer Boomshack. The key to this, she says, is getting to know the distributors. “You really have to network with a lot of people who are willing to work with you when deciding on the products you need,” she says. “[Then] I pitch the manufacturers to take me on to influence certain flavors.” Boomshack’s private-label sellers include bottled water, jerky, nut and fruit mixes, and even health and beauty products.

2. Get creative

McGovern emphasizes creativity in growing the shop’s private-label snacks and candy sales. This means giving product labels, designs and packaging a Boomshack twist. “We’ll use everything from fun phraseology to cool package designs like Boomshack sleeves,” she says. “We’ll put disco balls around [the shop] with reflective mirrors and build chocolate and candy towers.” McGovern says it’s all about creating a memorable customer experience for guests getting their everyday snacks.

3. Ask questions

Interaction between employees and customers is key in introducing new private-label products, especially snacks and candy, McGovern says. “Whenever I try something new, I ask as many customers as I can what they think,” she says. “ ‘Would you like this?’ ‘Would you pay for this?’ We need the value proposition.” For example, she has learned that female customers want dark chocolate, while men crave nuts and protein snacks. According to IRI, private-label snack-nut sales in c-stores totaled $47.3 million in 2017.