Be the Brand: Opportunities and Threats for Sellers of White Label Products
Competition is a way of life for many online retailers. If your products are readily available to multiple sellers, you can expect a bit of a battle on your hands to win buyers — and we’re not just talking about who can offer the best price in what many retailers consider to be a race to the bottom.
Positioning your products on search engines, online marketplaces (winning the buy box on Amazon or mastering eBay’s best match algorithm) and price comparison sites can all impact on marketing budgets, sales volumes and ultimately margins. And this is before you factor in other elements, like the value of brand recognition, reputation (seller feedback), staff costs, delivery costs, the impact of the second hand and re-furbished market on your categories and all those other issues retailers have to consider before hopefully turning a profit.
Life as a seller would be a lot easier if either all your competition went away (wishful thinking) or, at the very least, they didn’t have access to the same products as you. If you feel this way, perhaps it’s time to consider looking into the world of white label products.
White Label Products
A white label product is often a generic product that has been re-packaged and branded by the retailer to appear as if it was manufactured by them. One of the main advantages of white label products is that they appear as standalone products with their own unique catalogue identifier and are only available via a single source (although technically the same product may be available via multiple retailers).
Websites like Alibaba (and even AliExpress) are a great starting point for finding new white label products. However as your white label business grows, it will almost certainly be worthwhile building more direct relationships with manufacturers (always seek expert advice here).
Optimise Product Descriptions
Retailers are able to differentiate their white label products against similar (or even exactly the same) products through careful branding, creative copy (product titles and descriptions) and photography. The basic rule of thumb is the more you tell, the more you’ll sell. Indeed, it may be possible to sell your white label product for a far greater price than competitive products, just by offering a more detailed and creative description.
Best practices dictate that you leave nothing out of your product description. If a potential buyer has a question about anything related to your product, you need to make sure that your content covers it. Q&As are a great way of ensuring your product descriptions are as complete as possible.
If you are new to white labelling, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is building brand credibility. If no one has heard of your “brand” it might be difficult to persuade them to purchase your product over a more well-known brand.
Building up a bank of positive product reviews is therefore vital to building the credibility of your product. However, reviews can also represent a significant risk to your “own brand”. Too many negative reviews too early in your white label product’s life and it may be doomed to failure. Consider using email marketing communications to generate a greater volume of reviews.
Detailed product descriptions will undoubtedly help set expectations prior to purchase and go some way to preventing buyers from buying something that is completely unsuitable for their needs and therefore fosters negative sentiment and reviews.
Note: It’s important to remember, buyers from different marketplaces may have different expectations. For example, a buyer on eBay might be looking for a bargain and be willing to sacrifice a little in terms of quality when buying white label products. Conversely, a buyer on Amazon might expect better quality and also be willing to pay a higher price. However, it should always be remembered that nothing will destroy your reputation faster than a shoddy product.
The Next Step
Do you sell white label products? Share your experiences below:
This abridged post first appeared on the SKU Cloud Blog.