Mass Retailer

Eye on Retail: Target takes on dollar, deep-discount rivals with new launch

BY Marianne Wilson

Target Corp. is entering new territory price-wise with the debut of its newest private brand.

The retailer is introducing Smartly, a line of essentials and personal care products, aimed at budget-conscious shoppers. The new brand includes more than 70 everyday items, from body lotions to paper plates to razor blades, with most items priced less than $2. (The full range is $0.59 to $11.99.) The line will arrive in Target stores and online starting Oct. 14, with new products rolling out through early 2019.

Target has launched more than 20 owned and exclusive brands during the past couple of years. Smartly stands out for its aggressive pricing, with products costing approximately 70% less than similar products from national brands, according to Target. The pricing undercuts rivals and also Target’s previously launched store brands.

“The introduction of Smartly is another example of how we are listening to consumers and bringing them solutions to make their lives easier,” said Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, Target. “Smartly offers incredible value, looks great and most importantly, gets the job done. It broadens our assortment to give guests even more options to find the product that’s right for them, regardless of their budget.”

Target is positioning the brand not only at price-conscious shoppers, but also at those who live in small spaces without ample storage for the type of bulk merchandise that warehouse clubs sell. Products are available as single items and also offered in small multi-packs.

“Smartly offers the affordability of bulk shopping without buying in bulk,” Tritton noted in a blog post on the company’s website.

Target said its product design and development team “doubled down” on design and key attributes for the brand. For example, liquid hand soaps will be found in fragrances such as Rain Shower and Lavender, and all-purpose cleaners will be available in scents like Ocean and Citrus Grove.

Smartly’s packaging is modern and fun, featuring irreverent expressions such as “smells like well, nothing” on a bar of unscented soap and “no dishes tonight” for disposable plates, and “does the dirty work” on dishwasher powder.

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