Target has long been one of the big players in the world of commerce in the USA, but the events of recent years have driven online sales, and Target is beginning to embrace the marketplace model, following in the footsteps of Amazon and Walmart before them.
Online sales have historically made up a very small percentage of the brand’s revenue, but in 2020, revenue from sales on their website doubled. The pandemic was undeniably one of the reasons behind this growth, but forecasters expect Target’s online revenue to continue to be a large part of their business going forward, especially with innovations like Target Plus.
Target Plus is the name given to the marketplace on Target, which is where third-party sellers have the option to provide their products. In theory, this is in place to give more choice to the consumer, but also to drive more revenue to Target.
In a similar way to Walmart, and their expansion to third-party sellers, Target seems to be heading in the direction of becoming more inclusive of other sellers. However, at the current time it is an invitation-only platform. You have to wait for Target to approach you before you can sell on the site.
Remember that this was once the case for Walmart, too. As the market share for third-party sellers has grown on Amazon, and billions of dollars in revenue are driven by new sellers, don’t be surprised if Target tries to replicate the Amazon growth outlined below.
Why should you be worried about this marketplace? Is it really something that you need to add to your arsenal of platforms to sell online?
Well, the number one benefit for sellers is also the most frustrating aspect for newcomers; exclusivity.
Whereas Amazon and Walmart’s third-party marketplaces are full of products and often oversaturated, it is possible that you may be one of the only sellers of a certain type of product once you get invited to Target’s Plus program. This means a lot of eyeballs on your products, and potentially a lot of sales.
If you have less competition on the site, it may also mean that you don’t have to worry so much about competitive pricing and “winning the buy box” which is a huge consideration for both Amazon and Walmart sellers.
Other benefits of selling on Target include:
Few sellers would turn down the chance to be involved with the Target marketplace, so how can you get invited and sell on the platform
There are no shortcuts. Unlike Amazon’s Seller Central where you can easily apply to start selling, or eBay where you can just list a product for sale, Target requires you to be invited, you need to be asked to sell your wares.
The good news is that this does seem like it is going to change. This is from the Target Plus seller page on their site:
If you don’t want to wait around, there are some things that you can do to boost your chances of being invited, and to improve your outlook if you do get accepted. If Target does ask you to sell with them, you need to ensure you have the infrastructure to do so.
A quick look through some Target Plus SKUs will show you that there are not a huge number of products that don’t have great reviews. The whole reason for Target keeping their program invite-only is likely quality control, so without a range of excellent products, you’re not likely to be invited.
Rick Gomez, Target’s CMO, explained that “with Target Plus, we aim to give them easy access to even more great products by partnering with best-in-class specialty and national brands that will help guests save and get more done in just one stop to Target.com.”
It’s clear that they want the best.
Target has regulations on their partner shipping. Orders need to be sent within 24 hours and quickly shipped to the customer. Build this infrastructure in advance.
Target is likely to want to work with brands generating buzz elsewhere. Do what you can to get your product or products in the news and try to find your way onto the radar of Target’s employees.
Amazon and Walmart are options for those who don’t currently have an invitation to sell on Target, and the good news is that Target are likely to be keeping a close eye on third-party sellers doing well on those platforms.
This is also a chance to prove that you can build product listings worthy of Target Plus. They have strict requirements, for instance, they need images with minimum dimensions of 2400x2400px. If your images look like they were taken on a digital camera from 2002, it’s not likely that you’ll get invited.
If you’re not already selling on Target, or considering how you might be invited to the platform in the future, it could be the ideal time to start to consider the brand as a realistic option for the future.
As Target opens up its application process, you can ensure you’re one of the first to tap into their huge stream of potential customers, but only if your products meet their high standards.