Target joins the rest of the retailing world this week in the massive sale event that comprises the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Here we take a deep dive into what to expect from Target’s ecommerce offering for this year’s Turkey 5 sales.
Target sets itself apart
While this may not be unique to the holiday season, brands and customers will quickly notice something about Target.com as they browse the catalog that is distinct from the nation’s other ecommerce giants, Walmart.com, eBay, and Amazon. While their competitors tout titles like “The Everything Store,” “Low Price Leader,” and “Every Day Low Prices,” Target is not that.
A curated catalog
Target has a curated catalog of both brands and sellers. There are less than 300 sellers currently allowed to sell on Target.com. Target also does not have a buy box. This means that when you order a product, there is only a single, trustworthy seller designated to get you that product on time. If that seller does not meet shipping and listing standards of quality, that seller can and will be removed from the platform.
Target has sought to create a catalog of brands and products that they think represent the best products in their categories. When a category gets too saturated, they don’t add more products of that type. For example, if you look for true wireless headphones on Amazon, you will get roughly 10,000 brands (that might be hyperbole, but also might not be far from the truth). On Target, you will find around 10 brands to choose from. Target’s goal is to reduce the assortment for you beforehand and offer you what they feel are the best products for their customers.
You will find low prices on Target, just like you will at Walmart. But you will also find luxury items, like this $153 hair brush and products from premium brands like Luxottica. While Target addresses a broad customer segment and does offer great products like this $17 Norelco trimmer, you can also go all out and buy this $148 trimmer from BaByliss. Target offers a range to allow shoppers to choose what budget and what quality they prefer.
Given the massive growth of ecommerce recently, it’s no surprise that all online retailers are struggling to keep up from a logistics standpoint. One area where Target is not unique is that they are spreading out deals in an effort to get shoppers to buy early and space out sales that used to be confined to a single weekend. The hope is that this will relieve some of the strain on fulfilling the huge amount of orders that come in from a single day shopping bonanza.
Early Deals on Target should help relieve the strain on sellers who rely on UPS, Fedex, and USPS to fulfill orders
A survey of Target’s deals shows a huge emphasis on Electronics and Electronics appliances this year. As of 11/19, the top 8 of the first 10 promotions on their homepage fall into that category. This is part of Target’s own push to establish themselves as a premium electronics retailer with brands like Beats, Samsung, and the Instant Pot (which is frequently a Black Friday top seller on just about every marketplace). Their strategy is working—Target’s hard lines grew 32% in 2020, while apparel, one of Target’s stronger categories, had very little growth year on year.
We anticipate Target's strongest category this year will be in home furnishings and decor, specifically because of the strategies we outlined above. Compared to Amazon, Walmart, and Wayfair, Target provides a curated selection of beautiful home decor that has grown leaps and bounds over the years. Consumers seeking a simple and trustworthy home goods experience will flock to Target. It also helps that Chip and Joanna Gaines have basically given Target their stamp of approval, and exclusive rights to their brand, Hearth and Hand.
Target in summary
Target has grown its ecommerce arm quite a bit over the last two years and has become a formidable contender for market share, moving up to 6th place in the U.S., just behind Best Buy, and surpassing Home Depot, Kroger, Costco, and Wayfair. We see first hand the efforts of category managers at Target to seek out the best brands and ways to improve the ecommerce platform for sellers. Target is on the move and Amazon, Walmart, and Ebay will need to be agile or risk losing their slice of the ecommerce pie.
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