Already, the brandname is in trouble, especially since the Frugal Economy has become an embedded consumer practice.
But that trouble could escalate exponentially. Walmart and Amazon have begun a price war. Both are determined to provide the lowest price. Amazon even has an algorithm for that. Here are details from Recode.
Walmart is "asking" brand suppliers to cut wholesale prices about 15%. If they don't, Walmart could limit distribution and create private label products to compete directly with them.
Think about that: A branded version of soap is known not to dry skin. For that you are willing to pay more than a buck a bar. But right next to it on the shelf or online is the private-label which has been heavily promoted to accomplish the same objective. It's priced at 67-cents. Even those who prefer the predictability of buying brands will at least sample-try the private label.
Those who create and manage, including distribution, brands have plenty of re-thinking to do. The whole concept of brands in consumer product categories, invented by P&G during The Great Depression, may not survive. What will become business as usual in grocery shopping, both in brick and mortar and online, has become an unknown.
Some brands will decide to leave brick and mortar totally, as least for the initial selection. Unilever recently purchased the Dollar Shave Club. On it Unilever can post digital-first brands. They can be delivered directly to the consumer with no middleman such as Walmart or even an Amazon. Controlling your own distribution channel seems to be one solution.
Another is to ditch traditional brands and create their own private labels. The latter they can have Walmart and Amazon distribute and still make some kind of profit. Maintaining and growing a brand had been expensive activities. They involve so many functions.
The re-thinking of brands will, of course, affect marketing firms, public relations agencies, the advertising industry and jobs within consumer products companies.
Those whose make their living in any of those organizations should be ready to repurpose their skills. In addition, celebrity promoters and social media influencers might no longer be in demand to pitch the cereal with high protein content.
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