May 1, 2018

<h3>Introduction of new brands marks Target’s next step into beauty</h3>

In mid-April, Target introduced eight beauty brands targeted to women of color, marking yet another evolution in the retailer’s beauty strategy. Created for and designed by women of color in response to gaps in the beauty market, these brands could potentially position Target as an inclusive beauty retailer and to differentiate its beauty assortment.

Target also recently announced that 3 of the 10 brands the retailer will assist through its Target Takeoff accelerator program would be beauty brands designed for women of color; one of the brands, Eu’Genia Shea, sells organic shea butter, providing an alternative to chemical-based moisturizers.  When combined with Target’s existing private-label beauty assortment, in-store beauty section renovations, and the introduction of the “Beauty Concierge” service, the retailer’s recent embrace of these less- “mass,” more-tailored brands is yet another signal of the retailer’s intent to drive traffic and become an important player in beauty.

It’s an effort that began to take shape earlier this year. On January 18, Target announced a new women’s fragrance brand, Good Chemistry, the first of its new private-label brands outside of the home or apparel departments. The retailer’s other new brands, such as A New Day in apparel and Hearth & Hand in home, have served to strengthen the retailer’s assortment in discretionary categories highly valued by the retailer and its guests.

Good Chemistry’s launch followed the 2016 introductions of a nail polish collection, Defy & Inspire; two bath salt and body lotion lines in Mayfair Soup Foundry and Marlowe; and a body care line aimed at teenagers called You Are Amazing. The retailer also launched the exclusive beauty collection Glow Studio last year.

Target’s store renovations also point to the retailer’s desire to become a beauty destination. As Target remodels its stores for better presentation of its discretionary categories, it is also expanding the beauty section and creating a shopping experience closer to what one may expect from retailers like Ulta and Sephora. Trained specialists known as Target’s “Beauty Concierges” now staff the section, and wider aisles and improved lighting make the shopping experience more enjoyable. With these changes, the beauty section stands out, attracting beauty-minded guests and generating traffic.

Target is also using its digital platforms to connect with Target’s beauty-minded guests: Target.com features a beauty page complete with buying guides and tutorials, and the retailer offers a curated Beauty Box through its Subscriptions service. As Target continues to improve its digital offering, it’s clear that the retailer aims to have a unique beauty offering on any platform.

Given these efforts, then, where does Target stand now across the broader, increasingly competitive beauty marketplace? Retailers beyond Target are innovating in beauty through three key pillars: seamless shopping, experiential shopping, and personalization. While Target’s efforts toward omnichannel or seamless retail in beauty have been lacking outside of its subscription Beauty Box, the retailer is making improvements in experience via its Beauty Concierge service and in personalization through its recent embrace of diversity-focused brands.  In particular, the retailer’s exclusive events in store, where guests can get free samples and tips, are taking a page from Ulta and Sephora to drive traffic and make guests aware of its revamped beauty experience.

Target’s efforts throughout 2018 point clearly to its intentions to establish a place as an expert and destination in beauty. The elevation of beauty within Target’s “Expect More” strategy points to another opportunity for suppliers to connect and build assortment expertise and baskets to drive productivity at Target.

For more information, please contact:

Ben Antenore, Analyst
ben.antenore@kantarconsulting.com