JoyLab Target

Retail has always been about giving consumers the product they want.

Target Corp.’s flipped the script on product development now, moving much more quickly to reenergize its brand portfolio created in-house by taking a deeper dive into consumer data to build a carefully crafted stable of lines with the hope, Target executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton said, of redefining the portfolio and bringing “Tar-zhay back to Target.”

“Some of our brands became a little tired and we didn’t move with the times and it became more about labels and homogeneous spaces than guest-defined offers,” the executive said, adding that the team took a long look across its in-house brands to decide what’s been working and what hasn’t. The result was the announcement earlier in the summer of a raft of new brands across home, kids’, women’s and men’s, while labels such as Mossimo and Merona are set to be phased out.

Among the additions is a streetwear-inspired activewear line, JoyLab, set for an October debut. The collection will total more than 70 stockkeeping units out of the gate and retail from $14.99 to $44.99. It was developed over the course of roughly a year with the help of Clique Media Group, the Millennial-minded company that has raised $27.6 million to date; has its own consumer-facing brands; a WhoWhatWear apparel collection for Target, and offers marketing services for brands.

“What we really enjoyed was the agility, the collaborative working spirit in terms of how we view data together, how we use guest profiles and then how we share our ideas in store and through social media,” Tritton said of what Clique brought to the table.

Taking the buzzy term big data and actually doing something with the information gleaned from the 30 million people walking through Target’s doors or 55 million using digital on a weekly basis is more nuanced than simply looking at numbers.

It’s speed-to-market — definitely not a new term by any means — that’s been accelerated even more so today that demands quicker reactions and responses in what Tritton called the new retail frontier.

“All great merchants have used data to inform their decisions,” he said. “Data has always been important; it’s just we’re getting a different level of it.”

“When it comes to processing one’s own data, every big retailer has tons and tons of data and sometimes it’s not a matter of how do you get the data, but now that you have the data, how do you create insights from it that can be distributed to the proper resources internally?” said Clique cofounder and chief executive officer Katherine Power.

The company has consumer-facing brands across fashion, home and beauty in web sites such as WhoWhatWear, MyDomaine and Byrdie. It’s also making inroads with the next generation of consumers in Gen Z with the social-media-based brand Obsessee. On the backend, for marketers, it has a network of influencers and an in-house creative agency. Plus it has access to data from all of its retail partners.

Put more succinctly, the group touches not only vast amounts of information but very specific consumer communities that then become sounding boards for what’s in and what’s out.

“When Target decided to expand their offering in activewear, they already had a great business with C9 and they wanted to do something a little bit more fashion forward that these women could wear from the gym to the street and were interested in putting this same kind of marketing and analytics muscle behind it as we have with the WhoWhatWear collection [for Target],” Power said.

Product development and design was informed in a feedback loop of sorts that combined data along with insights from a wellness vertical called The Thirty living on Clique’s Byrdie web site.

“It’s not only the [access to] information, but it’s the ability to market in a very specific way to this consumer,” Power said. “This is a new generation and you have to speak to them in a different way. You have to find them in a different way than historically and there are not a lot of companies, frankly, who can do that.”

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