Was Lily Pulitzer too much for Target to handle?

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a classmate about Target’s positioning strategy, because these are the kinds of conversations you have when your minor is in marketing.

After a lot of discussion we concluded that in our opinion it is the better quality and style that really sets Target apart from other big box stores.

To quote my classmate, “every time I walk in a Target I walk out with like 30 things I had no intention of buying when I walked in” now of course this was a hyperbole but I have to say I feel the same way.

Now here is the punch line, this Sunday hundreds of Lily Pulitzer fans made our exaggeration a reality.

In January of this year Target announced its collaboration with the iconic designer brand Lily Pulitzer. The collaboration included: women’s and girl’s clothing, home goods, jewelry and accessories, which would be sold for lower prices.

This Sunday the line hit the shelves but it didn’t stay there long.

Pulitzer fans began lining up outside of Target locations at 5am; red baskets were over-filled and the event could easily be compared to a Black Friday in April.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.10.01 PM

(via Twitter)

Online shoppers experienced similar chaos. A Target spokesman told the Star-Tribune Sunday morning, “…overwhelming online traffic led the retailer to take steps to manage the situation that slowed the site down. At certain times, Target only allowed some customers to access parts of its website. And at one point, Target made the site inaccessible for about 15 minutes in order to grapple with the traffic and avoid a full-blown crash. (PR Daily)”

Shoppers were outraged by how quickly items sold out online and it didn’t take long discover the source of their frustration. Just hours after Target’s online store sold out of the Lily Pulitzer line items began appearing on eBay for double the price.

At this point Target has said it has no plans to offer anymore Pulitzer merchandise.

The real question here is was this really a win for Target. Could the chaos and the disappointment this event created change peoples minds about the store?

Maybe, but by the end of the day the company accomplished its most basic goal, to sell merchandise.


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