Purpose: This study aims to examine the moderating effects of two important consumer characteristics (product familiarity and risk aversion) on the relationships between two intransient cues (store image and product signatureness) and consumer quality perception of private label, as well as the interaction between the cues themselves. Design/methodology/approach: This paper employs survey research to test three main hypotheses. The authors collected data from parents in an elementary school in a southern state. Findings: The study yields some counterintuitive results. The paper finds that the combination of two diagnostic cues does not necessarily enhance the positive evaluation of private labels. Instead, store image reduces the effect of product signatureness. Further, product familiarity induces a positive moderating effect on product signatureness, whereas risk aversion exerts a negative moderating effect on store image. Originality/value: Prior literature neglects the interactions between cues and consumer characteristics and the interaction between cues themselves in consumer quality evaluation of private labels. This research addresses these gaps and offers useful insights about private label strategies. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.