Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday’s Rant: Mixing Clarins and Clearasil at Target

On Tuesdays I take the opportunity to rant about something I do NOT like (or understand) about Target …because although I love them to death, they ain’t perfect. Today’s rant is about Target’s selling strategy in the Beauty Aisle. Now with the economy the way it is, it’s no surprise that Target’s sales are slipping a bit. All signs are showing that American consumers are trying to be responsible with their money in the slowing economic environment, cutting back on frivolous vanity items in lieu of necessities. That said, I’m trying to figure out why, then, is Target aiming for an even HIGHER demographic in their beauty aisle these days? First they dabbled in high-end haircare products, adding luxury brands like Aveda and Sebastian to the shampoo shelves. Then they started selling their own version of the Bare Escentuals makeup kit, which usually retails for upwards of $60 at fine retailers like Sephora. But now Target – at least my local outpost – has gone so far as to offer “Professional Skincare”. This so-called section is selling department store brands like Origins, Clarins, and even StriVectin (at a whopping $135 a tube!). Keep in mind, Target is not discounting these products; I looked up several retail prices and Target’s pricing is in line with other retailers. Which has me asking, what’s the point? They cannot offer ALL the products in a niche line; a quick glance at this section showed just a smattering of the many products that Origins offers. So is this going to be viewed as a “plus” to the richer demographic, who can now pick up select luxe skincare products at the same place they buy their toilet paper and cat food? Or is this simply going to frustrate patrons of those luxe lines who cannot find their favorite product (and if they do, find it at the exact same price as at Macy’s).

Target should stick to selling Clearasil, Cetaphil, and other drugstore brands, with the occasional offering of Boots (the UK brand), Soap & Glory (the budget collection from Bliss Spa) and other niche, wallet-friendly lines. Forget trying to compete with Sephora, Target; it’s only going to confuse your customers.

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