If you have an idea for a product, or even a line of products, having a plan to protect yourself is incredibly important. Sure, selling online is easier than selling in person and takes less overhead, but you also run the risk of having someone take control of your ideas. After all, you are the one who has invested time, energy, and planning into the product, so why should someone else take all the credit? Worse, you may have the wrong company take all the credit.
Here is what you need to know about private labeling and how you can use private labeling to secure your products.
What Is Private Labeling?
Many businesses and brands are looking to sell a product, but instead of creating the idea in-house, they might instead look to innovators. If you have a sellable product, development might take a little bit of time. Private labeling allows you, the creator, to create a product and sell it while also maintaining a degree of control of the product. Simply put, a private label product can be sold under a specific retailer’s brand. The retailer might make adjustments to the product, but the product belongs to the creator.
Private Labeling vs. White Labeling
Private labeling and white labeling have emerged as lucrative eCommerce strategies. While the two strategies are similar, they share several subtle but important distinctions.
- Manufacturing: One important distinction between private labeling and white labeling is who can sell the product. With private label products, rights are given from the creator or manufacturer to the brand for exclusive resale, meaning that only that brand can sell the products under their name. White labeling, on the other hand, allows multiple retailers to sell the product.
- Modifications: When a product is privately labeled, the brand can modify the product in accordance with their preferences and individual branding. White-labeled products cannot be modified by the brands that sell them.
- Time: Private labeling a product can take some time. You are not just creating something; you are testing it and creating awareness and brand identity. White labeling, on the other hand, allows your product to hit the market faster. However, white labeling will require more work in terms of differentiating your brand.
How to Private Label
Now that you know a little bit more about private labeling, here is what you need to create a private label product.
Find a Product
While you may not have a product in mind to private label, the first thing that you need to do is find a product. Fortunately, finding a product can be easier than you think. The trick is finding the right product. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Amazon, eBay, and even local shops can be great places to find inspiration for a new product. Ideally, you will want something popular, but that has not hit many retailers just yet.
- Look for a product that has less than 1,000 reviews. A large number of reviews means that the market is already saturated.
- Once you have a product, figure out what the competition is doing. If other similar products are poorly presented, you can definitely do better.
- Keep your potential customer in mind. Of course, you want something that appeals to your target audience; otherwise, you will have to create a brand-new target audience.
- Being thorough in your research will pay off later.
Find a Supplier
After finding a product, the next step is finding someone who will manufacture your product. In many cases, this might mean outsourcing to China, which is among the top suppliers in the world. Or, you can attempt to find a U.S. supplier, which will be more difficult. In some cases, sites like Alibaba will offer customizable or ‘original equipment manufacturer’ products, which means they can be manufactured as a private label.
Create a Sample
Once you find a manufacturer, the next step is to create a sample product. This helps ensure that the product is done to your exact specifications. On that note, you will want to be as clear and specific as possible with the manufacturer- pictures help. Once you have your sample product and ensure that it looks and works the way you think it will, you can place larger orders.
Negotiate With the Manufacturer
Manufacturers may be fine with a smaller first-time order, but you want to communicate that you need to see a sample. Now, your sample order might be more than a single sample, but communicating and negotiating quantity and pricing will help ensure that you get a good deal. Respectful negotiation is standard for manufacturers, so you should definitely take the opportunity.
Whether you are getting your sample batch or your first full order, you will need shipping. The two major shipping options are via air and via boat. While air is faster and more direct, it is also a lot more expensive. Boat deliveries are a lot less expensive; however, delivery via boat takes a lot longer, and you will need to pay additional shipping once it hits land.
While your product is being manufactured and shipped, you can use the time to create a brand name, logo, and expansion options. Think of your brand right now, and then, think of your brand five years from now. Planning ahead and branding appropriately is key to creating a successful brand. When choosing a logo, keep things simple and remain open-minded. Remember, you may expand eventually, so don’t limit yourself by being too specific.
Create an Amazing Listing
Listing your product with a good description and imagery is the key to attracting buyers. This means investing in quality lighting, or better yet, a professional photographer, for images. You may also want to work with an experienced content creator for the wording of your listing. The key is to create a listing that is easy for consumers to scan while also providing amazing visuals to entice consumers to buy your product.
Private labeling can be challenging, but it is definitely doable. The key is to continue do your research, find your product, and get started.