Retail Better: Store of Brands vs. Branded Store

Shirley P. Olin

When we talk to clients about creating their strategy for their NTI, remodel, or concept store, we always ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to be a branded store or a store of brands?”

It’s the first step to understanding what direction you need to go with your retail environment. A great example of a

“Store of Brands” is 7-Eleven. When you enter one of their stores, you see the house brands they promote from inside the store which include Big Gulp® and Slurpee®. As they roll out the Laredo Taco brand, which is fundamentally an in-house QSR, they’ve introduced another brand to their portfolio.

There are several examples of a branded store and two that immediately come to mind are Wawa and QuikTrip. Wawa has a very loyal customer base that knows the cadence of their promotions. They know the store’s lingo. What they don’t have to know are specific brand names of products in the store. Soft drinks and frozen drinks don’t have any special names. Wawa presents short-term seasonal menu items that are broadly named, and the Gobbler comes to mind. It’s a turkey dinner available as a bowl or a sandwich. It’s a menu item, not a brand.

QuikTrip has their QuikShake®, a milkshake that is made in-store with soft-serve ice cream. It’s also a menu item. But overall, the products in the store are not branded, and QuikTrip has robust base of loyal customers.

There you have it. The Branded Store or the Store of Brands. Both are good strategies. Develop a store that matches your strategy and tells your story.

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