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New Online Grocer Offers PL Basics, All $3 Each

A new online retailer is taking the limited-assortment, private-label-focused model of hard-discount chains such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot to a new level: Everything it sells is just $3 apiece.

Brandless, which launched July 11, offers a collection of everyday essentials, all under Brandless’ private label – a brand that differentiates itself in what could arguably be described as a “generic-chic” design. The company's creators have raised more than $50 million in venture capital for the startup, Forbes reported, which keeps costs low via a "BrandTax-free" strategy: Costs of warehousing, marketing and more are eliminated.

“We have spent the last few years building an incredible team of experts, who created and curated the most amazing stuff across food, health and wellness, beauty and home goods,” the retailer, which is based in San Francisco and Minneapolis, said on its blog. Its assortment includes body lotion, coffee, sauces, whole-grain-based snacks, fruit spreads and more, with hundreds of new products on the way.

But each product type is limited in options: Instead of 100 pasta sauces, there are just three, for example. The “edited assortment of better products” also helps lower prices.

Additionally, the e-tailer specifies products via what it calls its Just What Matters filter, which helps bring in better-for-you products that match shoppers' values, preferences and requirements, whether they desire an organic or gluten-free food, or beauty products sans sulfates or synthetic fragrances.

“Nowhere is this more clear than on our product labels, where we peeled back the clutter to put the attributes you care about most front and center,” Brandless said. “Tons of data, surveys and conversations helped us determine which attributes matter most for each individual product. For our extra-virgin olive oil, it’s about being organic and cold pressed. For our hand cream, it’s eliminating parabens and not testing on animals.”

Along with focusing on helping shoppers live better lives, it is concentrating efforts on helping the less-fortunate do the same. For every order made, Brandless donates a meal to people facing hunger through Feeding America, and has already donated thousands.

“At Brandless, we care about kindness and generosity, we care about trust and honesty,” the retailer said. “We care about taking care of ourselves and the people around us, but that’s not all we care about. We believe it’s the doing that matters.”

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