What Are Some Common Challenges Businesses Face When They Start Private Labeling?

Key challenges in the private label industry include maintaining high-quality standards, navigating regulations and compliance, building a strong brand, and managing supply chain relationships, while successful strategies involve partnering with reliable manufacturers, understanding niche markets, optimizing product listings, and embracing innovation and flexibility.

A Beginner’s Guide to Private Labeling

The history and current state of private labeling involves a consistent growth in market share over the past few decades, impacting businesses by offering increased profitability and brand differentiation while affecting consumers by providing more choices and competitive pricing in the marketplace.

What is Private Labeling?

Private labeling is when retailers sell products under their own brand names instead of the manufacturer’s. It’s a popular strategy for businesses looking to stand out and grab a bigger piece of the market pie. In fact, private labels have higher unit shares than top national brands in 77 out of 250 supermarket product categories in the United States.

The Rise of Private Label Products

Over the past two decades, private labels have secured an average of 14% in U.S. supermarket sales, with a high point of 17% during the 1981-1982 recession. By 1994, they held 14.8% of the market share.1 Interestingly, more than half of U.S. branded consumer packaged goods manufacturers also make private-label products.

Take Classic Cola, for example – a private label crafted by Cott Corporation for J. Sainsbury supermarkets in the UK. Launched in April 1994 at a price 28% lower than Coca-Cola’s, it now accounts for an impressive 65% of total cola sales through Sainsbury’s and 15% of the UK cola market.

While U.S. supermarkets average only 15% sales from private labels and enjoy 2% pretax profits from all sales, European counterparts like Sainsbury’s (54% of sales from private labels) and Tesco (41%) boast higher average pretax profits around 7%.

Private labels have also expanded into mass merchandisers with an 8.8% market share in 1994. Moreover, 39% of soft-drink volume sold in mass merchandisers is private label, compared to 21% in supermarkets.

Despite this growth, a 1994 DDB Needham survey reveals that 60% of consumers still favor the familiarity, security, and value of a national brand over a private label. Similarly, on the 1995 Equitrend list of the top 100 brands in the United States (based on ratings of 2,000 brands), only five store brands appear, with Wal-Mart ranking highest at number 52 (down from 34 in 1994).

However, a 1993 Roper Starch Worldwide survey discovered that an increasing number of packaged-goods buyers (48%, up from 44% in 1991) know what brands they want before entering the store – a trend that may benefit private labels as consumers become more brand-savvy and discerning.

The future of private labeling lies in businesses adapting to changing consumer preferences and staying ahead of the curve to thrive in this competitive market.

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Tackling Private Labeling Challenges Head-On

To succeed in the private labeling industry, retailers must ensure consistent product quality and compliance with regulations while building a strong brand that embodies their values, by partnering with reliable manufacturers, understanding legal requirements, and effectively marketing their products to resonate with their target audience.

Keeping Quality Top-Notch and Standards Sky-High

Private labeling, the process of outsourcing product creation to manufacturers while maintaining control over branding and pricing, can be a goldmine for retailers. With US retail sales for private labels hitting $5.15 trillion in 2021 and projected to reach $5.35 trillion by 2025 (Statista), it’s a thriving market.2 But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows; ensuring consistent quality from manufacturers is a major challenge.

Consumers expect private label products to rival national brands in quality, so retailers must be diligent about partnering with reliable manufacturers that can meet their target audience’s high expectations.

Conquering the Maze of Regulations and Compliance

Diving into private labeling means navigating the labyrinth of regulatory requirements and compliance. Retailers need to guarantee their products meet all applicable laws, which can vary depending on the product category.

Take popular private label categories like hair care, pet supplies, baby items, beard grooming, and health products—they come with strict rules regarding ingredients, packaging, labeling, and safety. It’s crucial for entrepreneurs to invest time and resources in understanding these requirements and collaborating with manufacturers to ensure compliance.

Building a Brand that Embodies Your Values

In the cutthroat world of private labeling, brand management is your secret weapon. A strong brand cultivates customer loyalty and sets your business apart from competitors. Even with the benefits of private labeling—control over production, pricing flexibility, adaptability, strategic marketing—consumer perception can make or break you.

To create a winning brand, focus on aligning it with your company values while resonating with your target market. Find your niche, partner with top-notch private label manufacturers, order samples, set up an online store, add products to your lineup, then launch and market effectively.

Overcoming these private labeling challenges—quality control, regulatory compliance, and brand management—requires a keen eye for detail and collaboration with reputable manufacturers. By tackling these issues head-on, entrepreneurs can ride the wave of the booming private label industry.

Battle of the Brands: National vs. Private Label Showdown

Success in the competitive Amazon marketplace requires private label sellers to focus on offering premium products, optimizing their product listings for maximum appeal and information, and dedicating sufficient time to manage their businesses effectively in order to outperform national brands.

The Retail Rumble: National Brands Take on Private Labels

Amazon’s retail landscape is changing, with over half of its sales coming from third-party sellers. Even more intriguing, 54% of these entrepreneurs are private label sellers, meaning they take existing products and slap their own brand on them. This has led to a fierce face-off between national brands and private labels.

While private label sellers often start with a hefty investment (61% spend $2,500 or more), it can pay off quickly – 35% profit within six months on Amazon.3 On the flip side, retail arbitrage sellers (those who buy low and sell high) typically spend less upfront but may take longer to see profits.

Premium Private-Label Brands Emerge on Top

As private label sellers carve out their market share, many are leveling up by offering premium products that can rival big-name brands. This has given rise to a new breed of high-quality private-label contenders.

The hottest categories for private label sellers are Home & Kitchen (40%), Sports & Outdoors (21%), Health, Household, & Baby (15%), Beauty & Personal Care (15%), and Kitchen & Dining (14%). With more sellers crowding these popular niches, standing out is crucial.

Winning Strategies for Private Label Success

One major hurdle for private label sellers is optimizing their product listings – a challenge faced by 50% of them. By polishing listings to make them more enticing and informative, private label sellers can shine in crowded marketplaces like Amazon.

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Other keys to victory include keeping a close eye on financial metrics (challenging for 44% of retail arbitrage sellers), finding trustworthy suppliers (38% struggle here), and committing enough time to their businesses. Surprisingly, 58% of private label sellers work less than 20 hours per week on their business, and 15% put in under four hours.

By focusing on premium products, optimizing listings, and dedicating time to their businesses, private label sellers can outshine the competition and conquer this thriving market.

Mastering Supply Chain Management in the Amazon Private Label World

Effectively managing suppliers, third-party manufacturers, and supply chains in the Amazon Private Label business model involves fostering strong relationships with suppliers, thoroughly assessing manufacturers based on cost, reputation, and specialization, and leveraging local sourcing and high-tech supply chain solutions for increased efficiency, quality control, and data-driven decision-making.

Tackling Issues with Uncooperative Suppliers

Navigating the bustling realm of Amazon Private Label can feel like a roller coaster ride, and one of the biggest loops to overcome is managing uncooperative suppliers. With a whopping 2 million sellers embracing this business model in 2022, it’s crucial to forge solid relationships with your suppliers. Keep in mind that open communication and setting crystal-clear expectations are vital ingredients for seamless transactions.

Decoding the Puzzle of Third-Party Manufacturers

Another twist that private label sellers face is unraveling the intricate web of third-party manufacturers. Picking the right manufacturer can be the deciding factor in your Amazon success story, as top-notch products are indispensable for earning customer trust. Devote time to scrutinizing manufacturers meticulously, and weigh factors such as cost, reputation, and product specialization before taking the plunge.

The Perks of Local Sourcing and a High-Tech Supply Chain

In today’s interconnected world, local sourcing can be a game-changer for Amazon Private Label businesses. For example, partnering with nearby suppliers can result in swifter delivery times and enhanced quality control. On top of that, going digital with your supply chain paves the way for heightened efficiency in inventory management, trimming down costs linked to storage and fulfillment.

A tech-savvy supply chain also empowers businesses to tap into valuable data analytics and gain insights into their operations. Armed with this information, you can fine-tune processes and make well-informed decisions on sourcing strategies. In the cutthroat arena of Amazon, boasting an optimized supply chain might just be your secret weapon to outshine rivals and savor the sweet taste of soaring profit margins and delighted customers.

Guarding the Secrets of Private Label Success

It is important for private label brands to protect their intellectual property and maintain industry certifications in today’s competitive market to preserve their unique edge, meet high consumer expectations, and maintain long-term success by building trust and credibility.

Keeping Recipes Close and Winning Trust with Quality

In a world where 65% of people globally see store brands as smart buys, it’s no surprise that private label products are taking up more shelf space than ever. From personal care to supplements and food, these budget-friendly alternatives are giving big names like Kraft Heinz Co and Nestle a run for their money. Just ask U.S. retailer Kroger, who introduced 1,022 private-label items in 2018 alone.

With a 158% year-over-year increase in sourcing activity for private labeling, it’s clear that the game is changing. But as these products gain traction, so does the need to protect their intellectual property. Owning your formula is key to preserving your brand’s unique edge – especially when buyers and engineers are scouring the Thomas Network every two seconds for new suppliers.

Winning Badges of Honor and Keeping Standards High

To keep consumers coming back, it’s essential to maintain certifications and compliance with industry standards. This means meeting high expectations can make or break customer loyalty.

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Sustainability-minded certifications like Cradle to Cradle can boost your credibility while setting you apart from competitors. And don’t forget: recessions can turbocharge private-label growth as bargain hunters abound. Nielsen reports that even after an economy rebounds, shopper habits often stick – meaning private labels stay in the lead.

Considering all this, it’s vital for private label brands to keep their certifications up-to-date and standards high for long-term success. And since over one-third of shoppers visit product websites during shopping excursions, displaying this information prominently can bolster consumer confidence in your brand.

Safeguarding recipes and staying compliant with industry standards are critical moves for any private label brand looking to win big in an increasingly competitive market. By doing so, you’ll lay a solid foundation for growth and prosperity in the ever-evolving world of retail.

Tackling Financial Challenges in Private Labeling

To successfully enter the private label market and maintain a competitive edge, retailers should conduct thorough gap assessments, leverage consumer insights, invest in eye-catching packaging, and strike a balance between competitive pricing and profitability

The Price Tag of Launching a Private Label Business

Entering the private label business may seem intimidating, especially when considering the costs involved. With 40% of US consumers exploring new products and brands amid the COVID-19 pandemic,4 retailers have a chance to convert short-lived changes in consumer behavior into long-lasting customer loyalty.

 However, this opportunity comes with financial hurdles. To successfully break into the private label market, retailers must thoughtfully invest in brand awareness, customer perception, market penetration, product quality, value for money, profitability, and store loyalty.

Balancing Prices and Margins for a Competitive Edge

A recent survey of over 2,000 US grocery shoppers revealed that almost 20% purchased more private-label products during the pandemic than before it. A whopping 45% of these consumers attributed their switch to lower prices. This trend forces retailers to remain competitive without sacrificing profit.

To strike this delicate balance, retailers should assess gaps in five key areas: brand strategy; assortment and pricing; marketing and packaging; product design and sourcing; and organization and operating models.

Pioneering retailers are now using cost-effective channels to share the stories behind their store brands. Packaging has emerged as a powerful tool for conveying a private label’s value proposition. By investing in eye-catching packaging that showcases product benefits and quality, retailers can attract customers who might otherwise stick to national brands.

Armed with valuable consumer insights – including trends across brands and hidden customer patterns – retailers have an edge over individual CPG (consumer packaged goods) manufacturers. Leveraging this knowledge allows them to better understand their target audience and pinpoint growth opportunities while making well-informed decisions about private label offerings and pricing strategies.

Conquering financial challenges in private labeling demands a fine balance between offering customers value through competitive pricing and maintaining profitability. By conducting thorough gap assessments and capitalizing on consumer insights, retailers can make informed choices that set their private label brands up for long-term success.

Embracing Change: How to Win in the Private Label Game

Essential factors for achieving success in the private label industry include staying informed on industry trends, attending relevant events, maintaining flexibility and innovation, complying with regulations, and partnering with reputable, GMP-compliant manufacturers that offer value-added services.

The Future Is Bright for Private Label Brands

Did you know it can take as little as $1000 to kickstart a business?5 That’s right – this can cover product, packaging, shipping, website setup, and more. No wonder private label products are gaining popularity! 

To stay ahead of the game, make sure to keep an eye on industry trends and attend major events relevant to your business. Trade shows are gold mines for networking and learning about the latest industry innovations.

Flexibility and Innovation: The Secret Sauce for Private Label Success

It’s crucial to play by the rules when it comes to labeling your products. When it comes to cosmetics, for example, the FDA offers guidelines and even sponsors a Voluntary Cosmetics Registration Program that helps keep consumers informed. So, as a private label entrepreneur, you need to be flexible and innovative.

Many manufacturers cater to different budgets by offering various service tiers. Some even run small product batches for those looking for low-minimum or no-minimum private label companies.

Extra perks can make all the difference. Some private label manufacturers offer free label design or box design with product orders. And don’t forget about compliance! Partnering with a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant manufacturer ensures high-quality standards and boosts your brand’s reputation.

In short, embracing change is key to winning in the private label world. Stay informed, be flexible and innovative, and work with reputable manufacturers to ensure your brand shines bright in this ever-growing market.


  1. https://hbr.org/1996/01/brands-versus-private-labels-fighting-to-win
  2. https://www.statista.com/topics/1076/private-label-market/
  3. https://www.junglescout.com/blog/amazon-business-models/
  4. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/our-insights/how-us-consumers-are-feeling-shopping-and-spending-and-what-it-means-for-companies
  5. https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/07/1000-dollar-business-ideas.html 
Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe is an entrepreneur, educator, and cannabis thought leader. She has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and developed the CannaCertified cannabis education platform.

• Cannabis and Hemp Enthusiast
• One of the first female business owners in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Co-founder of one of the largest and most established CBD manufacturers in the country
• Spent the past decade leading brands in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Developed a certification program
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn

Get a quote from Katie on your product idea today!

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe is an entrepreneur, educator, and cannabis thought leader. She has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and developed the CannaCertified cannabis education platform.

• Cannabis and Hemp Enthusiast
• One of the first female business owners in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Co-founder of one of the largest and most established CBD manufacturers in the country
• Spent the past decade leading brands in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Developed a certification program
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn

Get a quote from Katie on your product idea today!



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