Assorted products from Target's Smartly brand.

Target Corp. on Monday said it will launch Smartly, a new owned brand of everyday products with prices ranging from 59 cents to $11.99, but with most items priced at less than $2. The brand will bow on Oct. 14 in Target stores and on target.com, with products rolling out through early 2019.

Smartly is a bid by Target to capture an opening-price-point consumer who may be shopping at Aldi or dollar stores. The brand is priced about 50 percent below Target’s Up & Up, which the retailer created as an alternative to national brands. Up & Up is priced about 20 percent lower than national labels.

Smartly consists of 70 basic items from an all-purpose cleaner to body lotion to paper plates and shower gel. Target said the entire line of products is “effective, stylish and unbelievably affordable” and designed for a budget-conscious and space-constrained shopper. Smartly will be priced about 70 percent below national brands such as Procter & Gamble, and as much as 50 percent less than Target’s own Up & Up brand.

“Right away, the Smartly launch should give Target the opportunity to capture additional sales from its existing customer base,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of Spieckerman Retail, noting that the idea is to give Target customers little reason for going elsewhere for frequently-purchased items. “This is an important outcome for Target as competitors including Walmart, dollar stores and drug retailers are building brick-and-mortar scale in multiple formats. Target is still very much a destination in most markets and can’t compete on proximity.

“At the same time, Smartly offers an opening-price-point alternative to Target’s Up & Up private brand and national brands, creating a true good, better, best pricing structure in multiple categories. As a private brand, the margins for Smartly should be sustainable. The potential for Target to grab stock-up trips and increase the frequency of shopper visits should pay off in sales of higher-margin impulse purchases that move the profitability needle.”

Smartly challenges Dollar General, Walgreens and Brandless, the e-commerce site that describes its raison d’être as “making better stuff accessible and affordable for more people. Our mission is deeply rooted in quality, transparency and community-driven values. Better stuff, fewer dollars. It’s that simple,” the site says.

“By and large, we’ll be attracting a different kind of consumer,” said a Target spokesman. “We’ve never offered an opening-price-point brand. When we talked to consumers who were looking for this type of brand, they said the brands in the marketplace were all lacking something.” Target built in attributes such as unique packaging with elevated design and fragrance. “We spent a lot of time working with master perfumers for the fragrances,” the spokesman added, citing scents such as blossom, a meadow and rain shower for hand soaps.

Smartly will play well in Target’s smaller flexible format stores in urban areas and college campuses. “One of the elements that makes this brand different is that you don’t have to buy it in bulk,” the spokesman said. “Smartly turns the concept of value on its head. You can get a great price and you don’t have to buy in bulk.”

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