Lilly for Target (but not for me)

This past Sunday the highly anticipated Lilly Pulitzer collection launched at Target. The 250 piece collection included not only apparel but also accessories and home decor at a fraction of the cost of traditional Lilly Pulitzer items. Ever since the collection had been announced a few months ago, I had been watching the excitement build on social media with hashtags like #lillyfortarget  and #buymelilly. Well, the entire collection was sold out online and most Target stores before lunchtime on Sunday. Women had formed lines outside of Target stores nationwide early Sunday morning in early to get a chance at snagging an item- some had even camped out all night. The Target website experienced difficulty and was actually shut down internally for about 15 minutes Sunday morning due to the extreme amount of traffic. I have always like Lilly Pulitzer items because of their one-of-a-kind prints, bright and bold colors, feminine appeal and beachside style. Personally, I was most interested in looking at the accessories but I did not have my hopes up (and I’m glad I did not) when I went to my local Target in the late afternoon that day. I found a Lilly display in the women’s section and held up a romper. It was a size Medium but it looked tiny. Then I realized it was a child’s item, as were the other 5 or 6 items on the rack. Other than a couple of iPhone 6 cases, the display was empty. IMG_3581 IMG_3580 I went all around the rest of the store looking for the home decor items or any accessories, but there were no other Lilly displays and I left empty-handed. After all the waiting these past months and my own anticipation building, I have to say I was disappointed not to find anything to even look at. Now that I’ve read more and talked to others about the collection’s launch, I find that I am far from being alone in feeling this way. Here are some reasons why so many women are let down after not having the opportunity to purchase items from the collection:

  • The collection was launched with limited stock, not to mention that most Target stores did not carry all 250 items.
  • The collection had been talked about and hyped up for months beforehand on social media so that nearly every woman in America knew about it (and wanted it).
  • The collection was a one-time event. Target will not be restocking any of the Lilly Pulitzer collection.

The bottom line is that this collection was about marketing, not sales. If Target were to restock the collection I can guarantee you that there would be a lot of happy women which would equal a lot of eager customers and higher sales. However, they’re not going to because they achieved what they set out to do (and have previously done with other designers): launch a one-time-only lower cost collection of a popular high end name and generate high, even frantic buzz and excitement about both brands during the months leading up to the launch while also keeping stock limited in order to ensure that it’s an “exclusive” opportunity for customers. By looking at it that way, Target definitely achieved what they wanted to do. However, they did so at the cost of thousands, even millions of unhappy would-be customers. I disagree with Target’s strategy and think that this collection has the potential to lower customers’ loyalty to Target because of how Target treated their customers. So, you could go on ebay and purchase one of the Lilly for Target items, but it would be marked up significantly and not half the deal it was when it was on Target’s shelves. Or, you could wait and save before investing in a real Lilly Pulitzer item that’s straight from the designer label. I would suggest purchasing a real Lilly Pulitzer piece because the quality will be better. Either way, one thing is for certain: Target is no longer the place to purchase Lilly Pulitzer items.

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