Every time the private labels of some supermarket chains are named, a legion of fans and critics engage in a heated and endless discussion about whether they are better or worse than the products of the respective traditional brands they imitate. Whether we like it or not, white labels are part of today’s domestic consumption landscape and, although they were born in the supermarkets, they have spread to all areas in an unstoppable way. Let’s look at some examples.
In the automotive world it is increasingly expensive to design a new platform, so now the large automotive groups design a single platform and leave it to the group’s brands to make adaptations. For example, the Volskwagen group creates an unbranded electric utility car, a platform, and from this design the SEAT Mii electric, the Skoda Citigo iV and the Volkswagen e-UP! are born. They are exactly the same car but with levels of equipment and finishes adapted to the philosophy of each brand.
In the world of mobile telephony, everyone knows that to have a brand of mobile phone, you only have to choose a supplier from the list of Chinese white label manufacturers and order a certain number of terminals from them so that they put our brand on them. It is simpler than it seems and, of course, China is the mother of all white label factories.
What about the Internet? What is white label?
Even if you don’t notice (and probably don’t even imagine) white label is much more widespread on the Internet than it seems. Here are some examples:
– white label stores: some big sellers have developed a business model that consists in creating a store with all its elements (shopping cart, registry, etc) but without the header and footer that all websites have. The “partner” website only has to insert its header and footer to make it look like it provides the service itself. When the final customer buys the product, it will be the “mother” store that will receive the order and send the product while the store that puts the brand, takes a commission on the sale.
– personal websites: developing an application so that small business owners and professionals can make a website for themselves is not within everyone’s reach, but there are already companies that have developed this service. These companies rent out their software to other companies, for example a hosting company or a town hall, and these place their brand to allow their clients or the companies of the municipality to make a website themselves. So it seems that the hosting company or the city council has programmers and a huge technical department when, in fact, it is the other company that is in charge of the white label website builder.
– Email servers: Maintaining an email server and keeping it safe from spam and viruses is an extremely complicated task nowadays; however, almost all academic institutions give email addresses to their professors and students free of charge. The options are clear: either the technical department of the university takes on the task and responsibility of developing and maintaining it or they use a white label provider that takes on that task but the end user will be shown the logo and web address of their university and so everyone ends up happy.
And since the complexity of online services is constantly increasing, more and more companies are outsourcing their services to white label providers, it is an unstoppable trend that can only grow in the coming years.