Target's Blueprint for Beauty

Target may not have been the first mass marketer to enter the beauty realm, but the discounter has tried to do it better than the competition.

Sensing an interest in making the bedroom a haven, Target introduced the Target Bath & Body Collection. Initially, the assortment included many brands from Europe that were exclusive in the U.S. to Target. Target, with its ear to consumers, found there were too many choices so the chain put a focus on the bestseller, Kaori, which is now the core bath spa line.

"At Target, we are truly focused on challenging the status quo, taking some calculated risks, thinking differently and discovering fresh ideas," said Gralnek. "And in beauty we see great opportunities to surprise and delight our beauty guests. For example, in the coming months, Target will roll out some exciting new beauty items and unique product partnerships that will help us deliver on our 'expect more, pay less' brand promise. Watch for the new collections to set in stores soon."

Gralnek attributed Target's fresh approach to the fact it is the offspring of the Dayton Hudson Corp., one of the nation's leading department stores for nearly a century. "So right out of the gate, we had a different perspective," she explained.

The efforts into beauty are paying off handsomely for Target because it brings in a shopper Gralnek called smart, savvy and style-aware and who "loves us." The current core customer is about 41 and has a medium household income of $58,000 per year. "Talk about a dream guest. She is both beauty- and fashion trend-conscious and uses at least six or seven beauty products every day," she added.

Beauty is only one example of Target innovation that Gralnek referred to in her presentation. "From the beginning, Target set out to be a different kind of discount store, one that was not only just about price and assortment, but about innovation and creativity," she said. Gralnek went on to cite programs such as the Go International fashion line, and Target-specific lines from designers such as Proenza Schoeler and Alice Temperley. She also cited the partnership with Barney's, where the retailer sold Rogan Gregory merchandise from Target.

"Go International is an example of one of the cornerstones of Target's philosophy, affordable design," said Gralnek. "The reason we're so committed is because it clearly differentiates us from our competitors. That focus on differentiation also applies in our beauty business," she said. Gralnek also focused on the successful redesign of the mundane Rx bottle at Target, complete with color-coded caps so people don't confuse prescriptions. "We've also seen a strong connection between our cosmetics and pharmacy guests," she added.
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