Costco evidently has decided to start private branding the Hearing Aids they sell. At least one Manufacturer has decided to private-label for them.
Interon, is a small German Company manufacturing hearing aids and evidently has entered in a contractual arrangement with COSTCO to use the COSTCO Brand Kirkland, which is used the same way that SEARS uses their Private Label such as KENMORE or CRAFTSMAN, to sell merchandise.
Usually, the primary purpose of Private Label is to provide a larger discount to a Big Customer for their Purchases than the Competitors of the Big Customer.
The Federal Trade Commission establishes the rules pertaining to price discrimination and favortisim and insists on certain criteria.
Usually a greater discount or profit is allowed based on quantities ordered, but to eliminate any doubt, often the Manufacturer insists on using a different name of the merchandise. Hence, Kirkland, Kenmore,Craftsman,etc,etc,etc.
COSTCO evidently is offering a Promotion involving a pair of "Open Fit" Kirkland branded Hearing Aids at a Special Price.
Evidently, you have to buy 2 Hearing Aids.
COSTCO also sells INTERON Hearing Aids under the INTERON Label, so it will be interesting to see what the difference is.
Most Hearing Aid Manufacturers choose not to sell COSTCO their products, as do most other popular branded products.
COSTCO along with most other Big Box Discount Retailers such as WAL-MART, K-MART, etc, do nothing to promote a Brand other than sell it at a lower price that other Retailers that invest in training employees, provide benefits such as Carpeting, and Air Conditioning, better Customer Service, etc, benefits that all cost Money.
Discounters, such as COSTCO, usually just milk and exploit a Brand, and do nothing to develope the sales and reputation of the Brand, other than to offer the Product and Brand, at a lower Price than those Retailers that have really developed the Brand.
Discounters, such as COSTCO, usually just exploit the popularity of an established BRAND and do nothing to enhance the BRAND or contribute to its success,
They are kind of like a Swap Meet.
Other than Mustard and Salt,Pepper,and Perhaps Coffee, they never seem to have the same product for any period of time.
It almost seems as though they specialize in close-outs and obsolete merchandise,
As a result, most Quality Manufacturers, choose not to make their products available to Big Box Retailers.
Thats why you don't see the leading Hearing Aid Manufacturers selling COSTCO.
Siemens,Oticon,Phonak,Starkey,the largest Hearing Aid Manufacturers, accounting for about 80% of all Hearing Aids sold in the World, will not sell their products to COSTCO,
As a result, small Companies, such as INTERON, who must figure they have nothing to lose, since they don't have any sales in the traditional market and can't compete against the big Names, sells COSTCO.
This doesn't mean or imply, that INTERON is an inferior product. Not at all. It just means it just easier to get volume and sales by selling at a cheap price to COSTCO rather than trying to penetrate the traditional market at a great expense and over a long period of time.
INTERON will probably be bought by one of the larger Hearing Aid Companies, and that will take care of that.
In the mean time, it is to the advantage of the Consumer of having the option of buying a quality product at reasonable prices from COSTCO rather than being ripped off by some Organization or Medical Group trying to sell Hearing Aids at the Price they are getting for Pace Makers.
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