Ticking off ‘guests’ is a good thing for Target
There are a lot of Target customers, AKA guests, who are unhappy with the chain today and the company’s management couldn’t be happier. That’s because unhappy customers mean the chain has gotten some of its "TarJay" magic back after quickly selling out of items from its new limited-edition line from Lilly Pulitzer.
Target’s website went down for 20 minutes on Sunday and pages were slow to process due to high demand for the luxury designer’s mass market line. Stores also reported lines of customers who quickly went through the racks and cleared inventory away. The net result was that many customers who wanted to make a purchase from the 250-item collection were unable to do so.
Frustration at being unable to buy items from the collection led some to go on social media and broadcast their unhappiness with Target. The public grousing — along with some 26,000 items from the Pulitzer line showing up in a search on eBay — were a clear indication that Target had a hit on its hands.
The Lilly Pulitzer experience appears to be a virtual redux of the Missoni for Target launch in 2011, when items from that line were quickly bought up by fashion scalpers and resold at much higher prices on eBay.
Target company spokesperson Joshua Thomas told The Wall Street Journal, "We realize there is an extreme amount of excitement around this collaboration, and we apologize for any disappointment this may have caused our guests."
Disappointing guests, experts say, is a good thing in this case.
"This was a grand slam home run for Target," Marshal Cohen, an analyst with the NPD Group, told the Star Tribune. "Yes, they could have bought more, but what if they did? The fact that you can’t get it makes it that much more coveted. … And it makes consumers say, ‘I’m not going to miss this next time.’"
- Target Website, Apps Overwhelmed by Demand for Lilly Pulitzer – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- While left-out Lilly Pulitzer fans are still fuming, analysts say it’s all good for Target – Star Tribune (tiered sub.)
- Target’s Lilly Pulitzer launch ignites shopping frenzy – USA Today
- Fashion Scalpers Hit Jackpot Reselling Missoni for Target on eBay – RetailWire
- Missoni was just the latest target of ‘retail scalpers’ – USA Today
Is the Lilly Pulitzer for Target line a success, failure or a bit of both for the retailer? What should Target change, if anything, for future designer launches in its stores and online?