Marketing to men is top of mind at Target — particularly in the personal-care department.
Speaking at Cooper Classic Cars in Manhattan for the official launch of Harry’s at Target, John Butcher, Target’s senior vice president of beauty and personal care, said the German-engineered razor blades and shaving products collection is just the beginning of the chain’s plan to get deeper under men’s skin.
“Harry’s fills a unique niche for us,” Butcher said of the partnership, which went live online on Aug. 10. “We’re bringing cool to shave, and not everyone is doing that, so they have mass appeal. Everyone wants a great value; everyone loves great design.”
Harry’s also brings Target into the subscription business with an offer on target.com. The company believes introducing Harry’s at Target will grow Target’s digital men’s shave sales, including boosting the number of shoppers using its subscriptions for grooming products. The vast number of men’s shaving products are purchased in stores with only about 9 percent of sales chalked up online. That’s expected to expand to 25 percent by 2020. Harry’s has more than two million customers and this marks its foray into mass retail. Seventy-five percent of Harry’s customers have shopped Target in the past year.
To sharpen interest, especially among Millennials who may already be familiar with Harry’s, Target tapped its first Snapchat filter, allowing Snappers to virtually apply facial hair. A robust social media program, an online brand shop on target.com and advertising in Target’s circulars anchor the marketing campaign.
All 1,800 Target doors will launch Harry’s on Aug. 21 on a special end cap with a giant signature Harry’s razor. There is also a four-foot on-shelf presentation. The selection includes razors, blade refills, face wash and skin care such as a wash and face gel. Prices range from $5.99 to $15.99. There is also a limited-edition starter shave set with a Target red razor and a sampling of skin-care items priced at $5.
To secure footage for Harry’s, Target edited slower-moving items and duplicate stockkeeping units. “What’s really nice about Harry’s is it complements our existing mix,” Butcher said. “We made it a priority to find the space. We have our powerhouse brands, which are really the foundation of our assortment, and then we have some niche brands that fulfill needs around the changing and shifting needs of males.” According to Target, shaving is the second largest category within personal care at the chain behind dental hygiene. The company reported data sowing Target has held the number two market share positions for male shave systems in the U.S. for the last year.
Research done by Target suggests that the male customer has become more discerning in his personal-care preferences in recent years. Target took a bold move a few years ago after sensing market shifts when it segregated men’s products, including shave and deodorants, away from the women’s assortment. “It was provocative at the time,” noted Butcher who said it challenged traditional shopping patterns. “We saw nice results and it got us thinking that more men are making their decisions….We have to continue to elevate their experience to stay relevant in the marketplace.”
Target’s research, which includes going into homes for first-hand observations of how consumers use personal-care products, suggests 40 percent of men’s products in its stores are purchased by men — much higher than four or five years ago.
“He’s becoming more specific in his choices,” said Butcher, who noted that the market is also becoming more saturated with choices for men.
Shaving is just the beginning as Target seeks to elevate its offer to appeal to men who are making more of their own purchasing decisions. As part of its plan to serve those men’s product needs, Target is looking to niche products such as Bevel Shave System, formulated for men with coarse hair. The line was launched in February on target.com and in about 150 stores. Target uses its online site to monitor fledgling brands such as Man Cave, Solo Noir, Biotherm Homme, Bulldog, Maestro’s Classic and 145 Intelligent Skincare. In stores, other another newcomer is Every Man Jack.
Butcher said to stay tuned for more men’s items in 2017 that stretch beyond traditional grooming. An NPD Group report in 2015 confirmed potential. The findings reported that while 80 percent of men use grooming products, only 22 percent are facial skin-care users, suggesting a huge potential growth opportunity. Natural brands and even ingestibles could play into Target’s future men’s offer as well, but Butcher noted that the entire personal-care category for men is rife with potential growth — and every segment is fair game. “It’s where the needs seem to be more specific and where there are more options for us to carry,” Butcher said.