Target comes to Canada, pleasing fashion forward masses

By on March 19, 2013

target-canadaBy: Frances Du

Last year, Target announced that they were set to open between 125-135 stores across Canada from 2013-2014. The Minneapolis-based retailer has been a favourite among Canadians for a while now, so when a Target pop up store appeared in downtown Toronto back in February it caused quite a commotion, attracting over 1,500 customers in a single day.

Like H&M, the big-box store often teams up with high-end designers to create limited collections for the fashion forward masses. Their recent partnership with Jason Wu– who rose to fame after designing First Lady Michelle Obama’s white, one shoulder inauguration dress in 2008–was a major success. Their collaboration with Missoni was unlike anything they had ever seen before as products were snapped off the shelves and then quickly reappeared on eBay hours later with inflated prices.

“Consumers react when there’s a limited time and a limited quantity on a certain product — it makes it more appealing in a certain way to them,” says Daniel Baer, a Partner at Ernst & Young and retail industry leader. “You see that with fast-fashion retailers like Zara and H&M as well. So I think limited-time special collaborations is something that can work very well for retailers,”

Collaboration with Roots roots_logo

Now Target has teamed up with Roots, Canada’s most respected and recognized label, to create a collection which celebrates a Canadian’s love of nature and the outdoors, but at a much lower price point. The line includes athletic and casual wear for women, men, and children, and cost around $7.99 to $34.99.

Competitive marketplace

While Target’s arrival to the North has generated much excitement, it’s putting Canadian retailers on the defense.  Having struggled for the past few years to become commercially viable, Zellers is set to become extinct. In a $1.8 billion dollar deal, the 64 remaining Zeller stores will be transformed into Target stores while the rest will be snapped up by other retailers.

Other stores like Walmart and Winners will have no choice but to either slash prices or re-market themselves to compete with a fresh and hip Target. And while Target stores in Canada will not feature the same identical low prices as stores in the U.S. the prices will still be a competitive.

“In certain cases, the prices will actually be completely on par with U.S. prices and in some cases there might be some differences,” says Target Canada spokesperson Lisa Gibson in a press release.

We think healthy competition in the marketplace is always a good thing. Shoppers will benefit from upcoming price wars and it’ll force retailers to be more creative in their marketing approach. Target’s emphasis on customer service will definitely be appreciated. (They even like to refer to their customers as “guests”).

But it’s not just about who can offer the lower price it’s also about changing the overall culture and adopting that attitude of fun which has been missing in the Canadian shopping experience.

Transforming the shopping experience 2012-REDcard-Debit-Credit

Target has done a great job of announcing their arrival; generating discussion on social media, getting mobile, and even their Target Canada website is fun and engaging. Online customers are immediately greeted with a chirpy “Hi neighbor” and it’s red and white minimalist interface makes it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. Like in the U.S., Canadians will be able save 5% off every day when you sign up for a REDcard (except we don’t get the benefit of free shipping).

Other Target collaborations

Besides their much publicized collaboration with Roots, Target will also have a Kate Young (Natalie Portman’s stylist) capsule collection hitting stores next month in April.  Her Old Hollywood-inspired line focuses on party dresses and casual separates along with an emphasis on costume jewelry.

I’m very excited about these high-end collaborations, but even more so, for the arrival of the much coveted Sonia Kashuk make up brushes! What are you guys going to be picking up at Target? Sound off below!

*The first set of Target stores in Canada open this month!

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