While private label brands may be growing in on-pack sophistication, they still have some way to go online. The principles of hero imagery, as set out by Cambridge University, are now widely accepted by experts and marketers, but rarely implemented by brands.
For example, FreshDirect’s Just FreshDirect brand offers high-quality products, but its design fails to convey this to consumers: As they scroll through products, the white-template design format of Just FreshDirect products is easily lost against the website’s white background.
We can expect to see more private label brands starting to work on the emotional draw of the hero image, exploring different ways of representing the product itself, not just the external packaging. Maybe they’ll look at the opportunities offered by the scroll-through images: could they show the product in-use, its scale, or offer some cross-selling of complementary products? What about language? Short but informative content in the right tone of voice can add real value to the consumer’s overall experience.
Amazon’s Catch-All approach
Amazon is, of course, the market leader, and the one that everyone’s watching, particularly keenly since the acquisition of Whole Foods Market. To date, Amazon has employed a three-pronged strategy for its private label expansion.
Amazon Basics houses an ever-growing list of more than 2,000 products, pitching them as traditional value items and garnering more than $200 million in sales during the first half of 2017. For other categories, to which consumers have a more emotional connection, or which have a higher price point or greater expectation of quality, Amazon creates unique, category-specific brands. Also, it offers products exclusively to members of its Prime service.
This flexible strategy allows it breadth of reach, together with depth of engagement. That’s possible because Amazon owns and controls the platform where sales happen. The strategy also has its weaknesses, however: it offers no efficiencies across categories, and no opportunity to create a compelling story around, or equity in, the Amazon master brand.