Private labeling is the act of placing your own brand or label on a product. As a retail strategy, private labeling is not new. For decades big grocery stores have taken generic items, labeled them as their own, and set them on the shelf right next to products with household brand names.
For example, all Signature Select and “O” Organics products at Safeway are private labeled pro, and the Equate brand is Walmart’s private label line of health and personal care products. Companies like Coca-Cola and Nike have successfully shaped economies and cultures around the world, and yet, in their most basic form these huge companies are simply private labeling brands. Private labeling products provide a gateway to a sustainable business that, when done correctly, can last a lifetime.
Just take Karen and Neil Gwartzman as an example. Their family has been sourcing, importing and private labeling products for big chain stores across North America for over 60 years, and for the last 35 years Karen and Neil have been doing it internationally. The growth of Amazon, Ebay, Shopify and other online marketplaces in the last fifteen years has further increased the scope of their expertise, and today Karen and Neil teach budding entrepreneurs all over the world how to create profitable private label businesses online.
When equipped with the right tools, resources and coaching, anyone can enter the eCommerce world and make a killer income private labeling products. The key is to do it right and these tips could help.
Here are top steps for private label success:
Step 1 – Conduct Product Research.
Finding the right product to sell can be a time-consuming process. However much time you think it will take, triple it. When you’re in the thick of it, remind yourself that this is completely normal and necessary to find the best products. We’ve seen it over and over again — sellers that put in the time and effort now will save money later.
One of the best places to start is with some quick online searches. For example, a simple Google search for “trending products (year)” can yield incredible results. You should also utilize Best Sellers Lists provided by the top-grossing eCommerce platforms. Amazon’s best sellers are updated hourly, Ebay regularly outlines what’s new and hot, and Shopify keeps an updated list of products that are trending in their marketplace.
Step 2 – Choose a Reliable Sourcing Agent.
This is where many new entrepreneurs get stuck, and for good reason. There are hundreds of ways you can source a product. The key is to listen to the experts who have been doing this for a long time. They will be a great resource for determining which sourcing channels you can trust and which ones you should avoid.
Once you’ve chosen your perfect product, you can use these questions to help you find a reliable way to source it:
- Where will you get the best pricing?
- Who can provide the most dependable service?
- Who is able to best provide you with a consistent supply of the product?
- Do they offer thorough product inspection prior to shipping the product?
- What warranties and guarantees do they offer?
Step 3 – Create Your Brand.
Your brand will encompass everything from your company name and slogan, website and Amazon listing, your logo, all labels placed on the product and packaging, and of course, the way you package the product for shipping to the customer.
All of these aspects help you shape customer experience. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so ask yourself these very important questions … Where on the product or package (or both) are you going to place the label? What exactly do you want the label to say or look like? What language(s) are you going to put on the label? Which specific warning labels and safety regulation labels does your product require? Do you want to include any packaging inserts, like instructions for product assembly, pictures, brochures, DVDs, or information about an app that will further customer experience?
Step 4 – Establish your Business Entity.
Make your company an official, legal entity. Most business owners will need to register with their Secretary of State, and depending on what you’re selling, you may want to consider filing for a federally registered trademark or patent to protect your product and brand. You’ll need to launch a website, register with local tax authorities, and set up an Amazon Sellers Central account. You’ll also need to create an optimized Amazon listing, which we talk about next.
Step 5 – Prepare for Your Amazon Launch.
A successful Amazon launch requires careful attention to detail in your product listing. Make sure your listing uses 5-8 high quality (1500×1500 px), visually appealing pictures of the product. Create a listing title that is catchy, clearly outlines the specifics of your product, and contains keywords that are relevant to what you are selling. In fact, make sure you use keywords throughout your listing. The title, five bullet points, and description section should all utilize proper keywords that will help customers find your product. AMZ Tracker and Merchant Words are two fantastic tools for deciphering which specific keywords will optimize your listing.
Private labeling will give you the opportunity to make your business exactly what you want it to be, and you’ll get to position your product line in a way that allows it to grow exponentially. With the right combination of perseverance, patience, discipline, and coaching, you will create a profitable private label business that will last a lifetime!
To jumpstart your business, join us in January at our Colorado Live event. We’ll develop your business blueprint, get you ready to launch on Amazon, and walk with you every step of the way.
A version of this article first appeared on the Rescue a CEO website.