Target Corp. is taking a page from the playbook of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The retailer on Friday said in a blog post on A Bullseye View that it’s lowered prices on thousands of items, mostly consumables such as paper towels, baby formula, razors and bath tissue, among other things.
“Expect more. Pay less,” the mass merchant’s longtime tag line, has always been a nod to Target’s style savvy. The retailer said in the post that its popular “superchic collaborations” will continue. Still, Target is taking an egalitarian point of view with “everyday value” and products that are “affordable to everyone.”
“We’ve put our prices and promotions under the microscope,” the retailer said, adding that it wants to provide great everyday value as well as continuing to offer additional savings on the right products at the right times.
“With Target having a more affluent base than most mass retailers, it could be a preemptive price move,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of Spieckerman Retail. “If they’re going deep with this, it could put a lot of pressure on suppliers. They’d have to be the most aggressive with national brands. Target is announcing this on the heels of a massive brand transformation, which should give them more room to move on price, but also, those brands blur the comparison.
“I don’t know that it’s going to turn Target into more of a destination for consumables and basics, but it could go a long way toward making sure customers make those purchases while they’re in the store,” added Spieckerman.
Target’s marketing campaign for its new private-label brands includes broadcast spots across social media to reach a broad range of consumers with the tag line, “More in Store.” The spots feature models, chefs and athletes, among others, who “offer diverse perspectives and make sure we’re offering inspiration for everyone,” said Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Target.
“Expect more. Pay less” is being imbued with deeper meaning, said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “It’s creating products with a point of view, inspired by our guests, that not only represent our shared values, but also are available at a great value. The idea of ‘More in Store’ is the perfect way to capture what makes Target, Target.”
The “Expect more” tag line has always been something of a challenge for the retailer. Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target, last year said that when he joined Target, the company’s image had shifted more toward the low-price end of its longtime brand promise. “The challenge now is, how do we inform the brand and get the balance back to ‘Expect more. Pay less?’”
“Branding is one of the few differentiators left in retail,” Spieckerman said. “Target is right to double down on that. Value perception is incredibly important to their business. They have to be careful not to go too far down that slippery slope and abandon ‘Expect more. Pay less.'”
Everyday low price today is a requisite, Spieckerman said. “Now, it’s assumed that they should have sharp prices with all this transparency, especially with Jet.com and Amazon going after consumables, introduction subscriptions services and launching instant reorder buttons.”