05 Jan What Can Crowdfunding Teach Private Brand Retail?
Ugh. Hello, Saturday.
The life of a parent, hey? But how can you be mad at this face.
I roll out of bed, stumble across the hall and grab the lie-in black hole that is my 18-month-old daughter. Between you and me, I secretly don’t mind the early starts. As while everyone else sleeps, I control the remote.
I flick through ‘what’s new’ on Netflix and come to a stop on Capital C.
“You liked General Tso and so you should like this” the friendly algorithm asserts.
On reflection: how the history of the Chinese takeaway staple, General Tso’s Chicken, relates to Capital C, I’m not sure – but I digress.
Baby sufficiently subdued with a bottle of milk, I click play.
Meet the crowdfunding trailblazers
The indie documentary follows three early adopters of the increasingly popular world of crowdfunding. For those not familiar with the term: it’s the process of putting a prototype ‘out there’ and asking ‘the crowd’ (people of the internet) to fund its development.
Those seeking funding create a variety of investment packages covering a number of investment tiers. As an investor and customer, the more you invest, the more you receive within your package. Crowdfunding-seekers range from celebrity Scrubs-headliner Zach Braff and his un-studio-compromised movie ‘Wish You Were Here’, to John Doe – aka Joe Bloggs – looking to make his shed-engineered invention a reality.
Crowdfunding site Kickstarter has one, all important, catch. Crowdfunders must set and meet an investment target or they receive no money.
Not a penny.
We meet Zach, Jackson and Brian:
- Zach Crain, Capital C cover boy and bearded beater-of-his-own-path, creates knitted bottle cosies (called koozies).
- Jackson Robinson, insanely talented illustrator and father-of-two, blow torches the candle at both ends to craft playing cards worthy of any art gallery.
- Brian Fargo, 20-year video game vet, develops the sequel that no publisher wanted, fan base pays millions of dollars to make it a reality.
Unsurprising Spoiler Alert: The film concludes with all three funding their companies, and entrepreneurial lifestyles, through crowdfunding. They continue to produce uncompromised, authentic and utterly compelling products.
They supply and customers demand.
You may not immediately associate the stories of our three intrepid crowdfunding entrepreneurs with your retail business.
But by not doing so, I believe that your private brand sales are suffering.
For a moment, let’s transport them into our traditional world of private brand retail where they assume the role of your suppliers. Within the most common current model, their passion, creativity and infectious stories are often lost behind samey private brand packaging.
And the cost to your business? Potentially tens of thousands of additional of sales that their passion, creativity and stories compelled people to make. Want proof? Look no further:
Those investors, ‘The Crowd’, they are your current and potential customers.
Today’s conscious consumer craves authenticity and is willing to pay handsomely for it.
But how can retail private brands tap into this desire?
You have dozens of Zachs and Jacksons and Brians within your supply chain right now. They hold combined centuries’ worth of experience and expertise waiting to be unlocked – stories of their passion for their products waiting to be unleashed – combined to make truly compelling products that your customers will not just like, but love.
As Simon covered in his recent blog, there is a lot of discussion around Customer Experience which is focused on the store or shopping experience such as store format and technology, but ultimately it is about the product – the value proposition for the product and whether this delivers.
Therefore, next time you meet with one of your suppliers, I encourage to go beyond the numbers. What is their story? Why this product? What is it that they love about it?
Because their love may just end up becoming what your customers love too.