Target Ventures Smartly Into New Private Brand

    A product that gets the job done but doesn’t cost an arm-and-a-leg? That’s smart. A whole line of products that are effective, stylish and unbelievably affordable? Now that’s Smartly, Target’s new essentials and personal care private brand.

    The move comes almost two years after Walmart tested its short-lived neo-generic private brand Price First. Target has “smartly” learned from that Bentonville experiment and created a new brand whose naming is aspirational and whose design that fits the mold of Muji, Ikea, and Brandless instead of the depressing generics of old.

    Smartly includes more than 70 everyday items, from all-purpose cleaner and body lotion, to paper plates and razor blades—with most items less than $2. Smartly arrives in Target stores and online starting Oct. 14, with new product rolling out through early 2019.

    “Where we see white space and an opportunity to bring Target’s guests something differentiated, we’ll go for it,” says Mark Tritton, executive vice president, and chief merchandising officer, Target. “The introduction of Smartly to our owned brand portfolio is another example of how we are listening to consumers and bringing them differentiated solutions to make their lives easier. Smartly is affordable, looks great and most importantly, gets the job done.”

    Since early 2017, Target has been introducing dozens of new brands with the majority of them focused in the home and fashion categories. For Smartly, the Target team dug deep to pinpoint exactly what customers were looking for in essentials and personal care—namely, lower-priced options unlike anything Target has offered before (Smartly products cost approximately 70% less than similar products from national brands).

    From there the Target product design and development team worked to create a line that offers affordable household necessities that include attributes we know consumers are looking for. They even went a step further and worked with master perfumers to develop fragrances like Blossom, Citrus Grove, and Rain Shower, to ensure that Target shoppers are excited to use and display Smartly products in their homes.

    And since shopping should be fun, Smartly packaging has a sense of whimsy —ammonia “fights grime,” dishwasher powder “does the dirty work” and toothbrushes are “smile worthy.”

    And, last but not least, Smartly offers the affordability of bulk shopping without buying in bulk. With products sold as single items and offered in small multi-packs (like a four-pack of toilet paper for $0.99), it’s not only perfect for value-conscious customers but for shoppers living in small spaces without ample storage.

    It remains to be seen how Smartly will impact Up&Up but it seems inevitable that the brand will evolve and contract based on Smartly presence and success at shelf.

    SOURCEA Bullseye View
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    Christopher Durham
    Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.