Target introduces online-only goods

24 January 2013

NEW YORK: Target, the US retailer, is launching six new brands solely on its website, forming part of the firm's wider efforts to differentiate its product assortment.

Among the offerings being rolled out by the company and its partners only via Target.com are TOO by Blu Dot, a minimalist range of home décor, and Labworks, a contemporary apparel label. 

Zutano Blue, which makes clothing, bedding and similar products for children, also featured in this group, as do MudHut and Boho Boutique, two manufacturers of homewares and accessories.

"We're excited about these new brands and how they're helping us further differentiate Target.com from other online retailers," Theresa Schmidt, a divisional merchandise manager at Target, said, as reported by Time.

"We know our guests are increasingly connected and are shopping online more, so we wanted to offer guests something new, unique and unexpected."

Jim Okamura, managing partner of Okamura Consulting, told Internet Retailer such an approach would allow the company to transfer its strengths in the bricks and mortar arena to the digital world.

"Target has always done well in telling a good brand story in its stores, and this is an extension of that strategy to their relatively new and fast-growing web site," he said.

"I'm sure they carefully selected which brands had the potential to become big, and the online channel makes sense as a testing environment ... If they prove successful, you could see a gradual roll out to stores."

Paula Rosenblum, the managing partner of Retail Systems Research, agreed that the ultimate goal of this initiative should be introducing the top-selling items into its stores.

"I cannot imagine online-only items or brands as an ongoing strategy for Target. It doesn't really make any sense," she said.

Target has also attempted to increase the number of exclusive brands in its stores to combat "showrooming", where shoppers compare products on a mobile phone in shops, then buy them online.

Data sourced from Time/Internet Retailer; additional content by Warc staff