Walmart on Monday launched "Hello Bello," an exclusive line of plant-derived baby products developed by husband-and-wife duo Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell, who are parents themselves.
The 10 products — diapers, wipes, shampoo and body wash, bubble bath, baby lotion, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, mineral sunscreen, bug spray and laundry detergent — are "formulated with safe and effective ingredients, including organic botanicals when possible," according to a company press release.
They are priced from $1.88 to $23.94, with most under $8 each, and will only be sold in Walmart stores, and online at Walmart.com and HelloBello.com, the company said.
With this launch, Walmart is leveraging its "always low prices" position to appeal to parents who want better things at lower prices.
It's a challenge to Target, which has emphasized its lucrative baby and wellness products with its own new releases, and pledged to eliminate harmful chemicals in many of its consumer products.
The victim of these maneuvers could be online startup Brandless, which last month abandoned its $3-per-product pledge when it introduced a baby line of its own at slightly higher price points. Walmart and Target may both be hoping to blunt Brandless' appeal, considering how closely the label designs for Hello Bello and Target's new Smartly consumer goods private label resemble that startup's plain-but-fun packaging.
The potential in disrupting the disruptor could be significant, in light of evidence that Brandless customers are less likely to return for more after placing initial orders. Brandless has lower retention rates and lower order averages than established players like Walmart, Target and Amazon, and e-commerce rivals Instacart and Thrive Market, according to various research.
For Walmart, though, the move seems to reflect a fresh level of confidence in its own brand. The retail giant's tie-up with Hello Bello shows that the company is willing to use its flagship name to appeal to a broader range of consumers, a role that previously seemed to be left to its Jet unit. And celebrities so far seem comfortable with its brand. In addition to Bell and Shepard, Walmart has struck deals with popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on a women's fashion line and comedy actor Sofía Vergara on inclusive-sized denim, both sold online only.
In fact, Bell and Shepard noted that Hello Bello was developed with Walmart precisely so that lower-income shoppers would have access to premium, natural baby products that are often out of reach for them.
"Parents shouldn't have to choose between what's good for their baby and good for their budget," Shepard said in a statement. "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."
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Hello Bello's relationship with Walmart. The brand is exclusive to Walmart, but not a private label. Retail Dive regrets the error.