In the current economic climate, with a weakened pound and Brexit fears, this is the chance that the purveyors of own-label brands have been waiting for.
When incomes are squeezed, our belts naturally tighten, and commodity items like shower and bath products are an area people to expect to pay less. Here, when it comes down to a price comparison on the shelves, own-labels will usually win over branded labels.
However, the appeal of these items is moving beyond just pricing. Gone are the days that they churn out products two years after a fad has passed. Now, supermarkets seek out trends, making their own labels comparable or even identical to others on the market.
It seems as if own-labels are screaming threat, so what’s the next step for personal care brands?
1. Balance niche with mass appeal
All is not lost, my branded friends.
Firstly, it’s important to think about who a brand is targeting. Supermarkets want to target everyone as they have such a broad range of people tramping up and down the aisles.
And the more the merrier, right?
Having a niche, especially in today’s personal care market, can really work in a company’s favour. People want more specialised items or ones that fit a specific purpose. Think the 10-step Korean skin care routines.
A balance must be struck, however. Too niche and you risk alienating a large proportion of people, but too broad and they might feel it’s not relevant to their needs.
2. Don’t forget the guys!
Thanks to social media, self-image has become a huge influence in men’s lives. Their style of dress and body care all fit into how the modern man sees himself presented to the world.
I won’t use the word ‘metrosexual’ because that is overdone, and we’ve had enough. So, it will not be mentioned. It will not touch the page. Expect that time I just mentioned it. Ignore that.
There is, however, a growing demand for men’s grooming products and it makes sense for a brand to tap into that. If there’s the need, seize it!
Men desire more than the shampoo-condition combo, get-it-all-over-with-in-the-shortest-time-possible products. Specific needs should be addressed and catered to. 81% of men believe not all personal care products are created equally. They’re willing to compare, so it’s important to have interesting products that sell for more than just price.
67% of men say that they’re loyal to one brand and buy primarily from them. That’s a huge opportunity to capture, and a chance to retain an audience.
Meanwhile, younger millennial consumers and brand loyalty seem to go hand in hand, so growing a relationship is essential. 65% say that if they’re after a specific brand and don’t find it in-store, they’ll search online or wait to buy it. Brands need to work hard to shift this attitude to their products.
3. Go green
As an increased awareness of synthetic chemicals grows, people seek natural alternatives. Consumers have grown more health-conscious and aware.
The organic personal care market is predicated to grow 9% by 2024 because of this. 2024 may sound like a sci-fi setting, but it’s closer than we think. People will be hopping on their hover boards to pick up an organic conditioner before heading home to watch Jaws 19.
Okay, maybe not all of that, but the organic sales estimates aren’t hard to believe. People polled say that they now read the ingredients on grooming products before buying them.
There’s been year on year growth in the organic personal care market, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. From Netflix documentaries to influencers, a care for what goes onto our bodies has become just as important as what goes into them.
If own- labels are seeking trends like this to tap into, so should all other brands.
4. Refresh, Reinvent, Rejuvenate
Okay, so rejuvenate is only added there to hit the rule of 3 and have a nice link to personal care. The other two are important though, so pay attention!
One of the main factors of personal care brands growing their sales is down to NPD teams working hard at constantly refreshing their product lines.
As tech continues to develop, the science behind personal care products can too. Reformulating a staple product can be a way to invite new customers and remind loyal ones they haven’t been forgotten.
This has its benefits online too. One place that brands really can beat own-labels is on social media. For organic UGC, creating picture-worthy products can help. The big brands on Instagram always value the aesthetic of a product. Regular redesign can help brands reinvent themselves in the minds of consumers.
And the mind of the consumer is the place to be. When they’re looking at a brand on the supermarket shelves, what will they be thinking? Will it be the first impression they have?
5. Get them online before they go in-store
A consumer should already have an impression of a personal care brand before they reach the store.
When asked how they interacted with a brand in the previous month, 63% of consumers said their website. More and more people research and make decisions based on digital content from influencers and thoughts from networks of friends. This is where an Instagram-worthy product can sell itself.
Millennial consumers cite influencers as the second point of call for research when buying a products, just after friends. Although influencers are often associated with women, young men are big online shoppers. And in the male grooming world, young men (18-35) outrank older counterparts in sales.
Men who stay loyal to a brand do so because they feel connected to it. The Sociological Model of buying discusses how individuals are influenced by society. People have a desire to emulate, follow and fit-in with their immediate environment.
So if male-focused brands position themselves around a certain lifestyle and build their content and influencer strategy around this niche positioning, they’ve done the hard work before the consumer gets to the shelf.
In fact, that goes for any personal care brand. Online marketing is a chance to do groundwork that own-label brands don’t possess. Through tactical online content, brands can start to create a layer of appeal towards their products.
This creates a pre-emptive relationship with consumers that, coupled with other tactics such as on-pack promotions, can switch their decision-making process from head (price) to heart (brand/product appeal).