Feb. 23, 2021

The Sniff Test: How To Tell If A Product Is White-Labeled


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Last updated:
Sep. 8, 2022 @ 8:34 pm

Did you catch my post on white-labelling? If you missed it, go back and check it out. Online stores are using this strategy all the time and it’s designed to keep us from saving money! If you are familiar with white-labelling, you might be looking for ways to figure out whether that sofa or barstool you’re buying is a tricky little price-thwarting stinker (you heard me!). Well here’s the sniff test for determining whether or not a product is white-labeled.


How To Tell If A Product Is White-Labeled

I’ll start by saying there is not always an easy way to tell whether or not a product is white-labeled. But, Madison, this is your guide for that very thing. I know!! I’ve gone down total rabbit holes before to save a few bucks. That being said, on larger items you can save upwards of hundreds of dollars just by taking a few extra steps. Additionally, if you find it at the right online store, you may even get free shipping which is more savings in and of itself. How far you want to go with it is totally up to you! There is definitely a cost vs. reward analysis here somewhere! Here’s how to tell if a product is white-labeled!

Start With Google Images

A lot of retailers using white-labelling make one big mistake: they use the manufacturers images. Now, this is definitely true for smaller websites or “discount” websites like Overstock. This is great because it works in our (the consumer’s) favor. Why? Because we have Google Images!

So, how does it work? If you find that perfect product and want to know whether or not it’s white-labeled right click on the image and download it to your desktop. Hint: Websites are making it harder and harder to save their images (probably for this very reason!), if you can’t right click and save, a screenshot will work just as well! Go to Google Images and click the camera icon. There you can drag and drop your image and Google will look for similar (if not the same) images on different websites.

Check out the example below of this green mid-century modern sectional. I searched using the image on Amazon and ended up finding it on Overstock for $30 cheaper!

Image Search Results


Product Price Results

Try A Literal Product Search

If Google Images doesn’t give you anything try a basic Google search. In this search you want to describe the products as literally and specifically as you can. For example, let’s say I find this beautiful chair on Burke Decor. Google images gave me nothing so I go and search for “black cane arm chair”. Look what pops up! The SAME exact chair from Urban Outfitters. What?! And, it’s $100 cheaper. It’s the same chair, has the same dimensions, most likely is the same manufacturer but…it’s white labeled. On Urban Outfitters they call it the Elise Cane Arm Chair and on Burke Decor they call it the Antonia Cane Dining Armchair. How about that?

Dig Into The Product Specifications

If you’re really wanting to do some heavy investigative work, another great place to look is in product specifications. Why? A lot of times e-tailers will white label product names, images, part numbers, etc. but they forget one important thing: white labelling the assembly guides provided by manufacturers. The example below is from Overstock. This little white table had an assembly guide on the product page. Clicking into it you can see that the brand is Roundhill Furniture. A quick search for “Roundhill Furniture Round White Dining Table” pulled up the same table on Walmart for $35 cheaper! 

In this particular case the images and the name were the same so the other two methods probably would have picked it up too. But, that’s not always the case so it’s worth checking the assembly instructions when they are available. Wayfair is notoriously good at whiting-out the brand names in their manuals so this is becoming more of a difficult method (for me at least!). 


In Short, Google the Heck Out Of It!

So, how can you tell if a product you want to buy is white-labeled? You probably gathered from my tips above that the internet is your best friend in this endeavor. Google the heck out of whatever you’re buying in every way that you can! Good luck and happy savings!

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