Merchant Innovation

Target’s Childish Plan To Rule Kid-Focused Retail

Target Wants Kids' Opinions

Kids can say the darndest things, but with more parents than ever before turning to their kids for advice on every purchase from clothes to food, determining exactly what children want can be a multi-billion dollar industry. Target certainly thinks so, and it’s doing everything it can to get ahead of the trend.

A Bloomberg feature outlined all the ways Target has been actively seeking the opinions of child consumers to better inform the products it offers them. Key to Target’s adolescent push is the replacement of old lines of kids apparel with a new private label called Cat & Jack. That changeover isn’t supposed to take place until the end of July, but even so, Target has been running in-person focus groups, online polls and other methods to make sure its kid-focused clothes are actually things that kids are going to want to wear.

“That was a big decision, because [the] Circo and Cherokee [lines] were successful,” Julie Guggemos, head of product design and development at Target, told Bloomberg. “The kids’ business wasn’t broken. It was strong … If you only put hearts and flowers in an assortment for girls and it sells, you think that’s all they want. Girls love science. People know that, but that unfortunately wasn’t the take we had.”

Like most things in retail, though, Target’s pledge to be more receptive to consumer tastes as far as product design goes puts more pressure on its manufacturing partners to deliver. Guggemos explained that Target has moved toward a zero-based budgeting schema for its suppliers, requiring them to account for every dollar they charge the retailer. Those prices will understandably rise if Target is asking for quicker turnarounds on newer styles, but if it proves a hit with juvenile consumers, no one will be complaining anyway.

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