Private-label offerings are playing an increasingly critical role in some of the country’s largest online marketplaces, with house brands now accounting for as much as 30% of all sales. This trend not only indicates changes in the way consumers shop, especially when searching by brand and price, but also presents a new challenge for online retailers seeking to remain competitive.
For DollarDays, developing affordable, private-label brands as a means to better serve its large nonprofit customer base was a no-brainer. The company launched its Big Box™ bulk school supplies line in spring of 2017, contributing to a reported sale of more than 11 million units of school supplies annually. Big Box™ encompasses a full line of high-quality, low-cost school supplies, pre-filled backpacks and pencil pouches, and flip-flops, all of which has been hand-picked by DollarDays’ in-house merchandising team. The company plans to expand the line to include additional school essentials through the end of 2018.
“We understood private labels had to become part of our go-to-market strategy,” explains Shelly Chaney, Vice President and General Manager of DollarDays. “Online shopping means our customers have the ability to compare products and have better visibility on quality and price points. With private-label lines, we can better hit these targets, giving even more value to our nonprofit partners.”
Encouraged by the success of their Big Box™ line, DollarDays next pursued the opportunity to create a backpack label that met their nonprofit partners’ needs for premium bags at an entry-level price for backpack drives and other back-to-school initiatives. The resulting Forward™ backpack line, rolled out in early 2018, features a more spacious front pocket, reinforced strap-to-bag seams and contoured, fully adjustable shoulder straps with mesh. This attention to detail helps ensure Forward™ backpacks can compete against more expensive brand-name lines.
“With our private-label brands, we’re able to customize every aspect to the needs of our very niche consumers, like nonprofits,” says Melissa Castelo, Senior Product Manager at DollarDays. “It enables us to control not only the brand positioning but the distribution and activation, as well.”
By building out its own labels, DollarDays has found new ways to differentiate itself during the search process and drive destination shopping. Additionally, the company can continue to offer national brands and remain competitive in a “good, better, best” scenario while still capturing market share with an aggressively low price point. Through the remainder of 2018, DollarDays will continue to explore other product categories that may help them increase their presence outside of school essentials.
“Consumers today expect exceptional products at a price point that is cost effective,” stated Chaney. “We’re working on cultivating other private-label lines that focus on helping our nonprofit partners meet the fundamental needs of communities around the world.”