You’ve probably heard a lot of chatter about Amazon, eBay, and Walmart’s marketplace in the past few years. What you may not have heard much about is Target.
In the past year, Target has quietly slipped into the online market space, launching an invite-only marketplace called Target+ or Target Plus back in February 2019. As of February of this year, that marketplace has grown to 109 merchants and over 165,000 products, according to Marketplace Pulse. Their foray into the marketplace space thus far has been a bit tepid, but the question remains: what does the future look like for Target’s retail marketplace and should brands be paying attention to it?
Target has made large strides and big sales over the past few months. One of the greatest boons for the retailer’s sales strategy has been their same-day fulfillment services, which include in-store pickup, drive-up, and same day delivery to customers who purchase items online. According to Target, their Drive Up service had a sales growth of 500% last year and Order Pickup sales grow nearly 50%.
In 2019, the company had over 90% growth in their fourth quarter and same-day fulfillment accounted for over 80% of Target’s ecommerce growth, with approximately $6 billion in ecommerce sales having been made. Over one third of people who placed an order through Target’s same-day fulfillment services last year had never ordered through Target.com previously. The numbers are impressive.
“Target is winning in the marketplace because of our differentiated investment strategy, durable financial model and our team’s incredible work in reinventing the Target run to deliver a shopping experience like nothing else in retail,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a press release.
In the future, Target plans to continue investing in digital fulfillment services. They also plan on testing curated shipments of fresh food and adult beverages through their pick up and drive up services, a move that mimics some of the work Walmart and Amazon have done in that sphere.
But where does that leave Target+?
In many ways, Target+ is similar to Amazon and other marketplaces. The biggest exception is that the company chooses which retailers it wants selling on its site—you won’t get on unless you get an invite. Target is ranked 8th in retail ecommerce sales share, and the company still has ground to make up to be competitive with Amazon and Walmart.
While marketplaces were historically launched to increase selection for buyers, the market is changing. According to Marketplace Pulse, customers are far more likely to purchase product from a retailer directly than navigate the customer service experience on a brand’s marketplace. That’s one obstacle Target+ faces as a new brick-and-mortar retailer entering the marketplace space.
Another con with Target+ is that it isn’t incredibly competitive at the time being. Most sellers don’t offer two-day or faster shipping on the platform, which makes customers more likely to purchase from Target directly or seek products from other marketplaces that have faster shipment times.
One thing Target’s had to compete with is Amazon Prime, still a dominant force in online retail during the holidays with a growing membership base, one-day shipping, a bigger assortment of products, and promotions that are more aggressive and appealing to customers.
At the moment, third-party merchants can’t easily sell on Target+, though the company says they plan on accepting partner applications in the future.
Still, Target seems intent on diversifying the way that customers access their products, and that could mean interesting developments with Target+ as the company’s digital retail offerings grow. The most intriguing thing about Target+ is that, as Marketplace Pulse writes, it may be a great step for sellers to join Target online and offline. It may also be a safe way for Target to draw in small brands and test the demand for what they have to offer under the Target name.
To learn more about growing marketplaces like Target and how you can increase ecommerce, contact Pattern below.
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If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.
Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.
At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead.
An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.
A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:
Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance.
Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS.
To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.
A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.
It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins.
Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.
As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.