Major retailers are pitching premium baby care products at a less-than-premium price tag with the help of exclusive brands: Walmart is offering Hello Bello exclusively at its stores and its website (and that of the brand). The brand seeks to position itself as a value-oriented play for parents, with a little help from celebrity Hollywood co-founders Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. It is also reportedly the inaugural brand rolled out under a platform called Launched.LA., which seeks to start consumer packaged goods (CPG) lines tied to celebrities or industry leaders.
Hello Bello, in particular, seeks to focus on value through its pricing. In an announcement from the retailer Shepard said, “Parents shouldn’t have to choose between what’s good for their baby and good for their budget. That’s why we couldn’t ask for a better exclusive retail partner than Walmart, who is making it possible for us to offer premium products at a non-premium price.” The brand plans to roll out 10 items priced from just under $2 to roughly $24. And the majority of products, which will come over “multiple SKUs,” are said to be priced at less than $8.
At the same time, Bell noted that using Walmart as a distribution channel provides convenience to parents. “It is the accessibility center — we grew up in Detroit and have family in Ohio and Oregon,” Bell told WWD. “It’s a one-stop-shop. As a working parent, you don’t have time to seek out the fun boutiques in your area to shop for your children.”
The brand’s products also purportedly come with some unique features: Its diapers are said to have “proprietary spherical absorbent technology that can absorb over 50 times its weight in fluid.” As a result, the product is said to protect against leaks while cutting down on waste by using less material. At the same time, the product is said not to contain lotions, artificial fragrances and chlorine processing that is “found in many other diapers.” The brand’s bubble bath is said not to contain parabens, phthalates, dyes or synthetic fragrances, while its hand sanitizer is reportedly free of synthetic fragrance, triclosan and parabens.
In addition to Hello Bello, Walmart has been making a push with baby products: The retailer revamped the baby departments in over 2,000 of its brick-and-mortar locations. It also created “a new shopping destination” on Walmart.com that helps parents shop curated nursery design styles. Walmart Vice President of Baby Melody Richard said, according to WWD, “We’ve ordered dozens of new brands over the last year.” According to the outlet, she equated the change in shoppers’ desires for nontoxic and natural baby items as “similar to what we’ve seen in beauty.”
Overall, it was reported last year that Walmart had expanded its baby assortment by 30,000 items. In addition, searches on Walmart.com for baby-related items had jumped by a whopping by 40 percent per reports at the time. And in terms of the bigger picture, Statista data indicates that the baby care market is expected to rise above a projected $11.4 billion in 2018 to $13 billion in 2021. It is also worth noting that the retailer has collaborated with celebrity brands before: Walmart unveiled a new fashion line with Ellen DeGeneres last year.
The Market For Premium Brands
Walmart is not the only major retailer to start offering premium baby products to its customers in competition with major brands. In September, news surfaced that Amazon rolled out its premium Earth + Eden diaper brand, which would reportedly serve as competition for similar products from the likes of The Honest Company. It was said that the eCommerce retailer was positioning the product to appeal to shoppers who want sustainable “high performing products” that are not tested on animals and have “non-toxic, water-based inks,” according to the product page.
In addition, it was also reported that product images feature babies and parents in green grass and among flowers. According to reports, the prices of the diapers were between 21 cents for a size 1 to 51 cents for a size 7. That pricing was more similar to brands such as Pampers and Huggies as opposed to Pampers Pure or Honest, per reports. But it was noted at the time that the offering was an exclusive brand for the eCommerce operator — and not a private brand from Amazon.
The retailer has been making a push for brands that are exclusive to the site but are not owned by the company, suggesting that Walmart is not the only retailer looking for exclusive brands to grow its roster of premium baby offerings.