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Brandless – A Fad Like Shake Weight® or the Next Big Thing? – The Robin Report

With just a single year under its belt, Brandless is reportedly valued at nearly $500 million? WTF?

Source: Brandless – A Fad Like Shake Weight® or the Next Big Thing? – The Robin Report

Chris Walton View All

Chris Walton is an accomplished Senior Executive with nearly 20 years of success within the retail and retail technology industries. He is well-versed in merchandising, store operations, inventory management, product design, forecasting, e-commerce, pricing and promotions, and tech product development.

Chris was most recently a Vice President with Target, where he led the retailer’s Store of the Future project and also ran the Target’s home furnishing division for e-commerce. He previously worked for GAP, Inc., as a Distribution Analyst and Manager.

Chris holds a BA in Economics and History from Stanford University, and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

He likes to dress as Darth Vader for Halloween, and his wife also frequently asks him to ask Alexa, "to turn off the music."

2 thoughts on “Brandless – A Fad Like Shake Weight® or the Next Big Thing? – The Robin Report Leave a comment

  1. I agree, Brandless is a fad.

    Limited volume compared to the giants like Amazon and Walmart means that they will NEVER have competitive product cost. This isn’t knocking off high priced razor blades, it’s trying to be competitive with toilet paper.

    Brandless bamboo toilet paper at $0.50/roll plus shipping. Amazon $1.25/roll and Prime shipping (https://goo.gl/DaWuud). Amazon brand Presto toilet paper is $0.85/roll with prime shipping. Amazon Brand Solimo is $0.67/roll Prime. A more similar offering is Amazon Prime Pantry that has an $8 delivery fee for each order: Angel Soft toilet paper is $0.45/roll.

    Amazon already beats the Brandless price point with real brands. I believe that Brandless is like MoviePass, lose a bit and make it up with volume and magic. Not going to happen.

    Delivery cost for Amazon Prime users is free. Brandless requires a $39 spend on each order. And eventually all the big guys will have free delivery. Walmart has free delivery with a $25 spend but product availability is in the tens of thousands versus a handful for Brandless (300). And why would someone pay $36 a year for Brandless free delivery when Prime covers all the categories of Brandless and adds dozens of other features. It’s not going to happen.

    For now, Brandless advertising spending is close to non existent. It cannot ramp without advertising and it isn’t going to get enough advertising dollars even if it’s growth rate is 300% per year (the small base problem).

    In the long run, even if they had the advertising money, it won’t work. In the not too distant future, AI will do the ordering … it will know my needs and preferences and simply scan the web for the best combination of price, quality and delivery. Even now we can see some actions eliminating the consumer from the purchase decision or reducing the consumer range of purchase actions. My wife gets her vitamins via Amazons schedule service … they just show up every 6 months. Ditto for toilet paper and paper towels. No action taken by the consumer after the first purchase. My wife has 2 Amazon product buttons in the laundry … one for Tide and one for Mentos candy product. When she runs out, she presses the button. The product shows up 2 days later. Brandless will have fewer opportunities to even offer its product in the future.

    And others will chip away at Brandless core ‘philosophy’. It could be Costco for quality + Price or WalMart for Price. Maybe Whole Foods. Certainly Amazon. The Amazon ‘Basics’ brand has a lot of similarity.

    I cannot see any path to success for a company that wants to sell low margin commodity products that have marginal distinction. I agree with your conclusion except you were too nice. Infomercial products typically have low costs, high prices and the appearance of uniqueness. Not Brandless.

    • Oh my gosh, Bob, I love the MoviePass analogy. That is absolutely brilliant. Rare too that I hear I wasn’t harsh enough! Keep ‘em coming!

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