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John Butcher, senior vice president of merchandising for beauty and DermStore, Target

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MMR’s Seven Executives Who Made a Difference

MINNEAPOLIS — Style is one of Target Corp.’s signature categories, businesses the retailer has said it wants to be known for, and that offer some of the biggest opportunities for it to stand out and win with consumers.

Beauty (along with apparel and home) plays an important role within style, notes John Butcher, senior vice president of merchandising for beauty and DermStore at Target. That makes the beauty category one of Target’s focus areas for growth, as well as an area where the retailer can really make a statement.

John Butcher

John Butcher

“At Target, our beauty assortment is all about inclusivity,” Butcher says. “We aim to provide something for everyone, whether that’s national brand products our guests know and love, or something new and surprising that they weren’t expecting to find at Target. This mix represents the magic of Target, and it’s something we strive to offer guests anytime they’re shopping in our stores or on Target.com.”

Butcher adds that his team wants beauty at Target to be easy, inspiring and differentiated. The goal is to help Target’s guests, as the retailer calls its customers, look and feel their best every day.

For his work on helping Target deliver on that promise, Butcher has been selected by the editors of MMR as one of its Seven Executives Who Made a Difference in 2016.

Butcher points out that Target aims to meet its guests’ basic needs by offering a balanced assortment of high-quality products that represent great value.

“If we make it easy for guests to find the everyday items they’re looking for, we also have a chance to surprise them with something new and special that they didn’t know they could find at Target,” he says.

Target partners with some unique brands in order to offer those new and special items that will wow its guests and differentiate its beauty assortment.

“Newness and innovation are extremely important in the fast-paced, ever-changing beauty industry,” Butcher says, “and we’re always looking for opportunities to bring guests the latest trends or new products.”

Two of the partnerships Butcher and his team are most excited about this year are with Beautycounter and Harry’s.

Beautycounter is a beauty care company that specializes in high-quality products with safer, cleaner ingredients.

Beautycounter says its mission is “to get safer products into the hands of everyone,” and the brand recently made its mass market debut with a limited-edition collection called Beautycounter for Target. The line featured fan-favorite products in exclusive sizes, special sets and a new nourishing oil.

Harry’s is a popular men’s grooming brand with the slogan “a great shave at a fair price.” To Target, that slogan sounded like a good match with its own “Expect More. Pay Less.” brand promise.

So Target recently began carrying a selection of Harry’s most popular items, which it introduced with an exclusive, limited-edition starter kit designed to allow guys who are new to the brand to try it out.

Consumers can also sign up for a Target Subscription order on Target.com and receive a 5% discount and free shipping. Target REDcard users are entitled to an additional 5% off.

Butcher also cites Target’s ongoing relationships with such key differentiated brands as NYX and Boots No7, and notes that each partnership is different.

“I love that our partnerships are not one-size-fits-all,” Butcher says. “Rather, we work with each individual brand or partner to ensure we’re bringing our guests they best of what they have to offer when, where and how they like to shop for it.”

The addition of Harry’s and Bevel, another men’s shaving brand, to Target’s stores reflects the retailer’s recognition of the fact that the way men shop for personal care products is changing, Butcher says.

“They’re increasingly style-savvy, more selective than ever before, and spend a considerable amount of time researching products before they make a purchase,” he says. “Today’s male consumers also have many different brands and retail channels to choose from, making the men’s grooming industry highly competitive.

“With brands like Harry’s and Bevel, we saw an opportunity to evolve our men’s grooming assortment and make it more relevant to consumers and reflective of current trends, while also growing affinity with male guests.”

Target’s belief in being inclusive means that the retailer’s beauty assortment is tailored to meet the varied needs of its diverse shopper base.

“At Target, we’re focused on meeting the wants and needs of each individual guest,” Butcher says, “and we make decisions about our beauty assortment and shopping experience based on their input. Across all categories, including beauty, we use guest insights to customize our offerings based on geography, demographics and guest feedback. Based on this tailored approach, our assortment looks slightly different in each store, particularly when it comes to products that cater to our multicultural guests.”

Butcher adds that multicultural hair care is a category Target has been particularly focused on for several years, and it has significantly expanded its offerings in that area based on ongoing guest feedback.

Target also strives to be a source of beauty information, as well as products.

“We know guests expect us to bring them what’s new and what’s next, and also are looking to Target for inspiration when it comes to pulling an outfit together or decorating their home,” Butcher explains. “We want to help meet their wants and needs, but know they’re gathering information from many different places. We aim to be one of the many sources they turn to.”

Butcher notes that Target has Beauty Concierges who offer information and advice to guests in approximately 400 stores, and they also share tips and product picks on Target.com.

The retailer also recently launched a Style Hub on Target.com to highlight the latest trends in beauty, apparel and home, and it also prominently features products from these categories across such social channels as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.


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