RETAILERS HAVE AN ARRAY of new technologies at their disposal to manage their store-brand programs.
Retail Optimization, New Haven, Conn., provides a software solution that lets retailers optimize the assortment of the entire store, including both national brands and private label.
The optimization software enables retailers to determine how much space a category should get and the right mix of stockkeeping units.
Private label often benefits from the process, said Wes Bray, Retail Optimization's chief executive officer and president.
“Private label emerges from the shadow of national brands because it is being optimized in context of the total store, not just in a category limitation,” he said.
Since private label provides higher margins, retailers often find that they're undershelving it in relation to its profitability.
“We are seeing certain [private-label] categories expand at the expense of national brands,” Bray said.
Logix3, Jacksonville, Fla., provides outsourced business services that let retailers, manufacturers and distributors automate private-label product development tasks, such as packaging or ingredient changes. The service runs as a Web portal.
“In a collaborative environment, we align specific fields of data that need to be managed more efficiently to complete a task,” said company President Bruce Kern.
The service was created in 2005 for Sysco Food Service. It's now being offered to food retailers, manufacturers and distributors.
The service is especially beneficial to food retailers' private labels due to the increasing complexity of such programs, said Bruce Kern.
“Corporate-brand programs have become so large that they're unwieldy,” he said.
New products, as well as changes to existing items, are common due to several factors, including new sustainable packaging materials, more government oversight in terms of food safety and an increasingly global supply chain.
“There are a lot of pain points associated with managing a product,” he said.
Another provider is Chicago-based Agentrics, which offers solutions for sourcing, collaboration, forecasting, data synchronization, point-of-sale data sharing and private-label product management. Agentrics customers include Ahold USA, Kroger and Food Lion.