Target is an old hand at partnering with brands, tapping into the zeitgeist with key partnerships to get shoppers stampeding into their stores and website.
The retailer has brought pop-up stores to Manhattan with great success, such as a Liberty of London collaboration in 2010. So when Target partnered with Missoni for a New York Fashion Week pop-up store in September to promote a slew of zigzagged limited-edition products for the mass retailer, consumers behaved as if it were 1983 and the Cabbage Patch Dolls had just come out. (Well, OK, maybe a little better than that.)
Fashion-lovers were so excited when the Missoni collection went on sale that they crashed Target’s website, which left some customers unhappy and without their products. Now hopes are high for Target's big cross-promotions next month: a Valentine’s treat for fashionistas with an exclusive Jason Wu collection (the theme is "An American Girl in Paris") launching on February 5th; and whipping Twihards into a frenzy, a midnight event to promote The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 on Feb. 10.
It all creates buzz for Target, but the retailer needs another shopping lure after the less-than-stellar November and December that followed. So for its next big idea, Target “will soon have exclusive shops selling everything from candy to clothing as the discount chain tries to stand out among the growing ranks of retailers offering trendy, often low-priced merchandise,” Reuters reports. In addition, 25 of its locations will feature Apple products, in a first for that brand too.
As previewed at a media event in New York, the initial boutique retailers that have been selected to kick off “The Shops at Target” program include Boston's Polka Dog Bakery, Miami's The Webster, San Francisco's The Candy Store, Connecticut’s Privet House, and Aspen’s Cos Bar. Each will have products in Target’s stores and online for six weeks starting in early May, according to Reuters, and a new set of boutiques will partner with Target for the fall.
As Reuters notes, other retailers have found success with this kind of partnering: Kohl’s sells Vera Wang-branded apparel and shoes while J.C.Penney has partnered with Sephora to sell cosmetics via in-store boutiques.
"We've gone through a cycle where everybody looked like everybody else and had the same product mixes and now the way to really differentiate this is to do your own concept shops," commented Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at retail consulting firm The Doneger Group, to Reuters.