How to Sell a Product to Target Stores

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A large retail outlet such as Target chooses its suppliers carefully, considering both its target market and its corporate values. To maximize your probability of success, you must know your customers and how they fit with Target's corporate values. In addition, your probability of success will increase if your product already has a customer following. The proposal process begins with a phone call to Target's Vendor Hotline at 612-696-7500, and you will get an email address to submit your proposal.

Organize Your Marketing Information

You may fervently believe that your product will sell well on Target's shelves, but it would be prudent to gather solid information. If your customers are not the same ones perusing the aisles at Target, you may be spinning your wheels. According to Heather Stouffer, creator of Mom Made Foods, her success at Target was a direct result of geo-targeted and demographic market research. This research showed her the Target consumer was a good match for Mom Made consumers.

Learn about Target's Corporate Values

As a supplier, you will be expected to uphold Target's corporate responsibility. Of particular interest to Target are values such as education, sustainability, and diversity. Your service efforts may coincide with Target's community service initiatives. On its website, Target names volunteer organizations it supports. According to the supplier's link on the website, registering your company with one of these groups will increase your company's potential for doing business with them.

Get Your Product Out There

According to the "New York Times," a retail store like Target prefers to work with items with a proven track record. A 2010 article pointed out the success story of Brian Chossek, who had already convinced local stores to stock his Garlic Gold before he reached out to national chains. If you don't regularly attend trade shows or submit press releases about your company and its products, it’s time to start. To find information about trade shows for your product, check out, a comprehensive database of trade shows in North America.

Submit Your Proposal

Writing a compelling proposal demands that you consider your audience. The person reading your email is likely reading hundreds of proposals a day, so brevity is also important. According to Don Debelak, an invention expert, the proposal should have a subject line that describes the product in five words or less. If the product is already selling well, give the details in the first sentence. Attach an image detailed enough to show the product’s features. Finally, list other key marketing data, and any information regarding your connection to Target’s corporate values.


About the Author

Sara Huter is a professor of economics. Her background also includes risk management in the banking and energy industries with expertise in credit scores. Huter received an M.B.A. in finance from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in information systems from Kansas State University. She has been writing for over five years with work at, and

Photo Credits

  • Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images