Target this morning announced Target +, a new initiative to expand the assortment on Target.com with products from third-party sellers. But unlike the Walmart and Amazon markets, Target is taking a more focused approach to adding vendors to its program. The retailer said it began with "wisely chosen" additions in areas such as home, toys, electronics and sporting goods.
Any vendor may apply to register on the Amazon or Walmart market, but there is no such process to join Target +. Instead, Target explains that each partner is "carefully selected" and then invited to the program – an initiative that he hopes to help maintain high quality.
At launch, customers will discover an expanded range of running shoes, outdoor decorations, patio accessories, a larger selection of STEM learning toys, new musical instruments and baseball apparel from national and specialty sellers, says Target. Some of the current vendors include: SVSports, Mizuno, Kaplan Early Learning Company, Serenity Health & Home Décor and Music123.
Over time, more and more products and sellers will be added as Target learns more about customer needs.
Offering only an organized selection means that Target + will not face the same difficulties as other retailers in controlling their third-party markets for offensive content, such as racist products available on Amazon, for example; toilet seat covers with sacred text, politically charged and controversial garments; and other articles. Because these markets are so vast, offensive or just dubious or weird, merchandise appears repeatedly, causing bad PR for the host of the marketplace, like Amazon, Walmart or eBay.
Target will try to avoid this problem by proceeding with its cure, but this will be at the expense of a larger assortment of third parties.
Target + products will also be integrated into the site in the appropriate categories so that items can be discovered during browsing and searching. There is no way to simply search for "Target +" items.
In addition, buyers will enjoy the same benefits when they purchase from third parties, but also when they purchase from the Target product line, including a 5% discount when using their RED target card, free delivery and returns in store.
Prior to Target +, part of Target's assortment was shipped directly to third-party suppliers, but guests purchased the items from Target. With Target +, products are purchased and shipped from third-party suppliers.
"Customers are turning to Target for excellent products. With Target +, we aim to give them easy access to even more great products by partnering with the best national and specialty brands that will help customers save money and do more in one stop on Target.com ", said Rick Gomez, Director of Marketing and Target Digital Leader, in a statement.
The launch of Target + follows Walmart's recent announcement to extend its two-day shipping program to the millions of products offered by its own vendors on the market, in order to better compete with Fulfillment by Amazon, which allows sellers to submit their articles on Prime. And, like Target, Walmart aims to leverage its traditional stores for merchandise returns to third parties.
Both initiatives are more biased against Amazon because its brick and mortar footprint is limited to its Whole Foods stores and various bookstores and other stores in urban metros. Walmart, meanwhile, has 140 million in-store customers per week and reports that 90% of Americans live within 15 km of a Walmart store.
At the same time, Target has 1,850 retail stores in the United States, compared to approximately 475 Whole Foods stores in the United States and more than 4,700 Walmart stores in the United States (excluding Sam's Club).