Target launching invite-only online marketplace

Target’s looking to strike a balance between scale and quality in taking a new approach to its third-party marketplace.

Why you should care

Amazon and Walmart (among others such as eBay and Sears) have vast third-party seller marketplaces that are relatively low friction to apply and join. Target is taking a different approach, reaching out to select brand manufacturers is specific categories directly. There is no way to apply for the new program, called Target+. You must be invited.

Those brands will handle shipping, returns and other related costs.

We see this as a long-term opportunity to drive profitable growth,” said Rick Gomez, Target chief marketing officer and chief digital officer told CNBC. “This is intended to be a very curated and select group of products and brands.”

More on the news

  • Target is working with brands in sporting goods, toys and musical instruments to test the approach and may expand to home goods, electronics and outdoor gear, according to CNBC, based on in-store and online search data.
  • Competitors’ giant marketplaces are notoriously difficult to police. That’s occasionally led to PR backlash and companies having to pull sellers’ products.
  • Target did have control measures in place for third-party sellers prior to this shift, including initial seller approval and SKU-level approval before products could be uploaded to the marketplace.

About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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