Redefining Target

The Lempert Report
April 28, 2015

What are retailers doing to appeal to ever changing consumer demands?

In an effort to entice customers to linger in stores and spend a little more, many retailers are looking to diversify their offerings and reinvent themselves.  

Target, for example recently announced a new strategy to reposition its approach to food,  focusing on six categories — better-for-you snacks; coffee and tea; premium sauces and oils; specialty candy; wine and craft beer; and yogurt and granola — and expanding the availability of natural, organic, locally grown and gluten-free choices. In their commitment  to developing a new direction in grocery, the retail giant also just named their new head of grocery, who will start to shape and take hold of this new direction. They recently announced, Anne Dament to the role of SVP, merchandising, responsible for leading the company’s strategic repositioning of its food business. Dament was  formally a Vice President from PetSmart Inc and prior to that she spent nearly a decade at Safeway, where she expanded assortments and worked on meal solutions and grab-and-go options.  

As a part of this commitment to re-imagining how they approach grocery, Target has also begun working on a new project called the Mortgage Lifter Project.  Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – best known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys,  launched their “Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce” back in 2013 -  but the point of this tasty heirloom tomato sauce is that 25% of its profits goes back to farmers. Small farms can  apply at to be a part of the program, with one lucky small farm will net a $15,000 check, which the pair calls the “Grand Prize Lift.” Three other farms will also receive $1049 “mini-lifts.” With the help of Target, the Beekman pasta sauce has been rolled out in stores across the country, and according to  Brent Ridge, in November of last year, Target put Mortgage Lifter Sauces in 250 of its SuperTarget stores…And they were so excited by the enthusiastic customer response, that they rolled out the sauce to over 1500 Target stores nationwide just last month.” 

By focusing on local products, like Beekman pasta sauce that in turn helps local farmers, as well as its redirection in grocery to organic, natural, healthy grab and go options etc, Target is a good example of how a retailer can diversify to keep up with changing consumer demand and appeal to new customers. As shoppers continue to be faced with a myriad of options from grocery stores to grocerants, to boutique stores and farmers markets, its those retailers who continue to rethink and expand their offerings that will continue to win customers.