Belgian market leader Colruyt Group has launched a digital platform called Productzoeker (‘Product Finder’) providing detailed information on its private label goods. The website offers ingredients lists, nutritional information and sustainability aspects for the retailer's umbrella own brands Boni Selection and Everyday. These private labels are available at its Colruyt, OKay, Bio-Planet, Spar and Collect & Go banners.
Filters give shoppers the option to search for goods suitable for special diets. Customers can search for items via ingredients, name, keywords or bar code. In the near future, Colruyt Group intends to add filters for vegetarian and vegan products.
Colruyt Group’s Product Finder is currently purely a conveniently browsable database or library of its private label goods. The retailer says it is particularly targeting shoppers with food allergies and in future it could also become an attractive reference website for vegans and vegetarians. Colruyt is also using marketing messages to highlight its parallel focus on transparency. And indeed, this seems to be in line with the retailer’s approach in the field of private label developments.
Besides the goods Colruyt proudly produces itself like meat and bread, own brands have never played a huge role. They were part of the offering but less for strategical reasons than for the fact that shoppers expect the retailer to list these items. This is reflected by the fact that Boni Selection, the retailer’s mid-price-tier line, was only launched in 2013. Up until then, Colruyt’s own brand assortment mainly consisted of its Everyday economy label items, generally hidden away on the bottom shelves. The retailer now appears to be interested in winning shoppers' trust for an offering that has been somewhat neglected over the years.
The website could be an indicator that the retailer has changed its focus and is now finally embracing its own brands. However, what is even more likely is that the platform is more of a test. The filtering features it uses for the Product Finder would look excellent on the web shop of Collect & Go. Currently, there is no option to conveniently receive this kind of information. Furthermore, the fact that Colruyt Group now has a detailed database for own brands could also make it possible to add shopper feedback on these specific products. Product Finder could become a website comparable to Migros’ Migipedia. On this forum, the Swiss market leader not only manages to closely interact with shoppers and push loyalty but also cleverly gathers their product ideas and feedback on its entire range.
Before Colruyt Group will be ready for any similar moves, however, it should first bundle its different web and app services and integrate them into one. It is unlikely that shoppers will be willing to clutter up their phone screens with a bunch of different Colruyt apps or have a Colruyt bookmark folder in their browsers.