How To Sell at Target

how to sell at target

Omar Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

Table of Contents

Selling your products at Target is way different than listing them on Amazon.

Fortunately, I’m here to help you.

I wrote this article to discuss how to sell at Target. You’ll learn the necessary steps and the benefits of being a Target supplier.

Let’s begin.

Why Sell at Target

Creating an Amazon merchant account to sell products online is easy.

Meanwhile, as one of the most popular big box retailers, Target has a more rigorous vetting process.

However, having your products on their shelves can help expand your business’s geographical reach and boost your credibility.

According to the National Retail Federation 2021 report, Target ranked seventh on the list of the biggest US retailers, generating around $92.40 billion in sales worldwide.

Target is one of the most popular retail chains in the US.

Aside from expanding your geographical reach, selling your products on Target means more considerable cash flow as big retailers always buy in bulk.

To sell your products at Target, you must prove your offerings are worthy of being in Target stores.

You must also be able to demonstrate solid manufacturing and supply chain capabilities.

How To Sell At Target

Here’s how to sell at Target and have the retail chain stock your products on its lucrative shelves:

Assess Your Business’s Capabilities and Growth Plans.

Before visiting Target’s online portal to out an application, assess your business’s capabilities and growth plans.

Ask yourself these critical questions.

  • Is there a demand for your products?
  • Can you handle increased volume should Target decide to accept your products?
  • Do you have solid manufacturing and supply chain capabilities?
  • Do you want to sell directly to Target or license your products to a manufacturer to handle your distribution?
  • Does your product have enough profit margin if you sell it to Target (after deducting packaging, marketing, distribution, and other costs)?

Know Target’s Rules and Requirements for Suppliers.

Compared to other sales channels, Target has stricter requirements for its potential suppliers. The retailer is also stringent on children’s products.

Every Target supplier must meet the retailer’s safety and quality standards and third-party testing.

Third-party sellers must read Target’s Rules of Use to understand their relationship’s nature should the retailer decide to accept their products.

Target has precise requirements and guidelines on dropshipping, supplier diversity, and product sourcing and standards.

Dropshipping on Target

What is dropshipping, and how does it work?

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment option allowing ecommerce companies to outsource shipping, storing, and procurement of products to third-party sellers and large retailers.

how to sell at target

Your business must have the following capabilities to meet Target’s dropshipping requirements.

  • Work with all carriers and shipping services.
  • Fulfill orders within 24 hours.
  • Send and receive electronic data interchange documents (e.g., electronic funds transfer) promptly.
  • Have a dedicated resource for day-to-day operations and management.
  • Have a Target packing slip for every product shipment.

Diverse Suppliers

Target’s diversity and inclusion programs mean the company is committed to working with, investing in, and sharing expertise with companies that are at least 51% owned or operated by marginalized groups.

Here are some of these groups.

  • Persons with disabilities
  • Women
  • LGBTQ+,
  • Indigenous people

If you’re a business owner who fits these categories, you may qualify for Target’s Supplier Diversity programs and initiatives.

Product Sourcing and Standards

Every Target supplier must meet rigorous quality standards and practice transparency, informing the retailer where they source and manufacture their products.

Target has the right to audit and investigate at any time to ensure suppliers meet the following standards.

  • Wastewater management
  • Quality assurance standards
  • Fair labor practices (No practices that exploit workers.)
  • Product safety
  • Lawful and ethical businesses practices
  • Certain social compliance standards

Prepare Business Documents.

As a Target vendor, you must provide the retail company proof of business registration and insurance before they consider your application.

All Target suppliers have to insure their business to protect their assets against liability claims and property damage.

Set up Electronic Funds Transfer.

Target pays third-party sellers via EFT, meaning you must open a business bank account.

You may also have to provide your routing and account numbers to their accounts payable department.

Set up an Electronic Data Interchange Payment.

EDI is a type of electronic payment that allows businesses to exchange payment data, exchange purchase orders, and manage inventory using a standard and secure format.

Get GS1 Codes.

Target and other major retailers require GS1 UPC barcodes that make products easy to find, trace, and buy.

Consider GS1 codes as a digital language communicating trusted data across the supply chain.

GS1 UPC barcodes include global trade item number or GTIN, universal product code or UPC, and GS1 company prefix.

Here’s an example.

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Pitch Your Product to Target.

You can present your product to Target or hire a retail broker to do it on your behalf.

Working with a representative with a personal relationship with the retailer or industry knowledge can increase your success rate but comes with a cost.

Commission rates vary significantly from broker to broker, but most charge around 5% to represent a vendor to Target.

Ensure you can demonstrate these elements when preparing your pitch.

  • Copyrights and patents
  • Product testing
  • Target’s requirements and standards to vendors
  • Financial statements like sales, cash flow, and more
  • Social media platforms, online branding, email lists, and other digital assets to maintain good public relations
  • Attendance at trade shows

Complete the Paperwork.

Fill out Target’s supplier intake form to start the online application process.

However, contacting one of Target’s retail buyers before submitting your paperwork is ideal. The goal is to establish a contact to increase your success rate.

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Ramping Up Your Production

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To be a successful Target vendor, you must be ready to ramp up your production efficiently and at short notice.

You must sync your production process, supply chains, logistics, and distribution as a business owner.

Target may penalize vendors for delays in shipping and production.

Hire a lawyer who can explain all the stipulations in the contract to avoid legal issues and have an in-depth understanding of your responsibility as a vendor.

Regularly assess consumer and business trends to remain competitive and to take advantage of your role as an exclusive Target supplier.

The Benefits of Being a Target Supplier

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Despite the prevalence of eCommerce platforms and concerns that consumers are spending less, big box stores such as Target still experience considerable sales growth, a trend that’s expected to continue in the coming years.

Here are some of the notable benefits of being a Target supplier.

  • Consumers are spending more per visit in big boxes than online.
  • Most retail purchases in the US are in-store.
  • Most consumers want to touch or try a product before making a purchase.
  • Retail stores have a more straightforward return process than online channels. Some customers also prefer face-to-face service.
  • People are more likely to make an impulse buy in retail stores than on eCommerce platforms.
  • Big boxes provide instant gratification because shoppers can buy and try products immediately.
  • Target stores allow shoppers to discover your products. By contrast, online shoppers are more deliberate when buying things.
  • Target is a huge retailer, meaning suppliers can expand their geographical reach.
  • Suppliers can benefit from Target’s strong brand and marketing strategies.

The Bottom Line

I hope my advice made it easier for you to understand how to sell your products at Target.

Use the information you learned in my article to be a successful Target supplier, increase your profits, and expand your geographical reach.

If you have some very specific questions not mentioned in this post, I recommend to reach target’s merchandising contact via email.

You can also check out my blog for more information on Target.

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