by Claire Lentsch/Guest Columnist
The majority of decisions people make when grocery shopping are dependent upon their income, values and lifestyle. As a college student, the No. 1 thing on my shopping list is “cheap.” Expenses can add up quickly, so it is important to go with the best value. Store brands are convenient, cheap and a college kid’s best friend.
Being a student at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, I have a new appreciation for store brands. Meal plans can get short fairly quickly, so it is important to stock up on snacks. Store brands are extremely helpful when it comes to eating on a budget. If we buy cheaper snacks, we tend to feel less guilty because we spent less money.
Store brands are important because they allow the consumer variety. It is comforting to be able to go into a store and have options. Many times, students have access to only a few select stores in order to meet those everyday needs.
Every brand that a store carries fits a different lifestyle or expectation. College students, large families and people living on a budget could very well be the majority of consumers purchasing store brands.
Rumor has it that some store brands taste different than national brands. Some might even say they taste better than the name brands. They do provide variety, ensuring that every consumer can find what he or she is looking for within the right price range.
Store brands often are seen as an underdog. Not all consumers go into a store with a specific brand in mind. Often, they are looking for the product itself. Once the consumer sees all the options, then he or she is able to make a purchasing decision. Store brands can be a pleasant surprise. They provide alternatives and options that are welcome.
Not only are store brands helpful from a consumer viewpoint, but also for the retailer. A grocer can connect with consumers by offering these products. In a way, retailers are saying, “We know you want this product, but you might not be able to afford it. Let us help you out.” The consumer perceives that the retailer cares about him or her. Store brands can make the difference between a good company and one that is beloved.
Offering store brands next to national brands helps form a bond with consumers. By putting the name of the store on the label, consumers are reminded about where they are shopping. Private brands also illustrate how involved the store is with each product it offers. The more consumers buy store brands, the stronger the bond becomes between stores and consumers.
Store brands create flexibility that allows retailers to provide different levels of convenience and serve the needs of diverse lifestyles. Store brands are the helping hand, the underdog, the reassurance that a consumer can, indeed, afford a product. Store brands help make connections.
Claire Lentsch was invited by The Shelby Report to share her perspective as a consumer and a member of Generation Z (born since the mid-1990s).