How Successful are Target’s Designer Collections?

Missoni for Target Crashes Site

Image from: StylePhile / Boston Globe

Anyone interested in fashion knows about Target’s designer collections. The retailer often partners with luxury, and regularly very expensive, brands and sells items exclusive to Target at an extremely discounted price. Over the past few years, Target has partnered with British handbag designer, Mulberry, vacation wear and “luxury lifestyle brand,” Calypso St. Barth, and most recently, Italian fashion house, Missoni. Known for their bright colors and loud patterns, original Missoni pieces are highly coveted and accordingly come with a high price tag.

When the Missoni for Target collection launched on September  13th, the website immediately crashed and reports of designer-induced hysterical came flooding in. We heard stories of women fighting over zig-zag printed sweaters and house wares, and of people filling their carts to the brim with Missoni products. To make matters worse, not only did most of the pieces sell out right away, but many customers had their orders go missing (although they would be eventually filled). Now, many of the items can be purchased on eBay, but at a significantly marked up price.

Accordingly, when I checked the daily reach, how many people visit a website as a percentage of all U.S. Internet users online, and daily attention, the percentage of that time was spent on a given site, to Target.com I expected to see a big spike in traffic for September 13th, however, that was not the case. Looking at the graph, you can see that traffic did not spike on September 13th, instead traffic was actually gradually decreasing.

This made me wonder, did any of Target’s other designer collections generate traffic spikes, or did they all have the same lackluster results? So, I looked at the Unique Visitors to Target.com over a 2 year period, in order to take into account the Mulberry collection, which launched August 20, 2010, and the Calypso St. Barth collection, which was released May 1, 2011. Much to my surprise, the results were the same – there were no dramatic increases to the number of unique visitors to Target.com on the days that the Mulberry and the Calypso St. Barth collections launched. In fact, both mark the start of a decrease in traffic to the Target site.

Obviously, these numbers don’t take into account the number of customers who physically shopped in Target’s brick-and-mortar stores but what do you think? Just how successful are Target’s designer collections? Is this a good way for Target to break into the luxury market?

About Kendra Bissonnette:
Kendra comes to Compete to work in the Online Marketing department as the social media co-op. Kendra is currently a student at Northeastern studying Communications and Interactive Media. Find Kendra on Twitter @KNBissonnette.