Selling your products at Target is a lot different than selling on Amazon. While almost anyone can open up a merchant account with Amazon and start selling products online, Target has a more rigorous vetting process. You’ll need to prove your products are worth being in its stores—and that means you need high-quality items at an extremely affordable price point, not to mention the ability to scale operations to meet increased demand.
If you have solid manufacturing and supply chain capabilities and big growth plans for your business, expansion into Target stores could be the next step.
Here’s how to get your product in Target:
Step 1: Understand Target’s Rules & Requirements
Unlike selling on Amazon or Walmart, Target has fairly strict guidelines about which products and merchants it accepts, as well as unique Rules of Use that define the nature of the business relationship.
Here are the main supplier standards that you must meet when considering how to get your product in Target:
Safety & Quality Standards
To sell on Target, your products must undergo its product testing processes. This involves using independent third-party testing to ensure safety and quality before the goods can be made available for sale. The brand’s evaluations are risk-based and thorough.
The review process involves a Safety and Quality Assessment Program, Factory Assessment Process, and Product Testing Program.
The retailer also evaluates brands to ensure these use industry best practices for record-keeping and staff training, as well as operational procedures. After that, Target may require a Production Readiness meeting to go over production planning information.
Target is especially stringent when it comes to children’s products and food items, which may require additional assessments.
Dropshippers on the Target site also have specific requirements, which include:
- Have a dedicated resource for day-to-day management
- Fulfill orders within one business day
- Work with all carriers and shipping services
- Produce and include a Target.com-branded packing slip with every shipment
- Send and receive all required electronic data interchange (EDI) documents in a timely manner
Product Sourcing & Standards of Engagement
All suppliers must maintain transparency and inform Target about where all manufacturing takes place.
The Responsible Sourcing Audit Program allows Target to conduct spontaneous audits on sellers to rigorously assess their supply chains and manufacturing procedures, ensuring they align with the retailer’s standards. These standards include no illegal business practices, noncompliance, unauthorized subcontracting, and improper wastewater management, among others.
Target wants all suppliers to maintain both responsible product sourcing and ethical business practices. This means no bribing, forced labor, harassment, or excessive overtime. Read its Standards of Vendor Engagement for full details.
As part of Target’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, it has rolled out Supplier Diversity standards. In line with this, the company has committed to investing in, opening access to, and sharing expertise with companies that are majority-owned and operated by women, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as LGBTQ+, veterans, or individuals with disabilities.
If you fit within any of these categories, you might qualify for some of Target’s Supplier Diversity programs and benefits when you sell on Target.
Step 2: Register Your Business
Once you understand Target’s requirements and decide your business or product idea fits the bill, you’ll need to provide proof of business registration. If you haven’t already, register your business in its local jurisdiction (whichever state you plan to operate from). After your business is registered, you’ll need to provide proof of this to Target.
Step 3: Get Business Insurance
Target also requires merchants to insure their businesses. Business insurance protects your assets in worst-case scenarios, such as natural disasters, legal disputes, or theft.
If you don’t have business insurance already, check out our articles Best Small Business Insurance Companies and Best Business Insurance Brokers to help you get started. Once you’re insured, you’ll need to provide proof to Target.
Step 4: Set Up Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Target pays domestic sellers via electronic funds transfer (EFT). This means you’ll need to open a business bank account. Target’s accounts payable (A/P) department may also request you to send your routing and account numbers.
Step 5: Set Up EDI for Purchase Orders
Target also requires merchants to use an electronic data interchange (EDI) to receive and process purchase orders (POs). This allows you and the company to seamlessly manage orders and related expenses.
EDI is commonly used in B2B transactions (especially between large-scale retailers and their suppliers). It’s usually facilitated by your inventory management software, fulfillment software, or warehouse management system (WMS).
Step 6: Get GS1 UPC Codes
Target requires the use of the standard GS1 UPC barcodes, which include a global trade item number (GTIN), universal product code (UPC), and GS1 company prefix, as shown below. These codes allow your products to be uniquely identified throughout the supply chain, aiding in visibility and traceability.
Step 7: Prepare Your Pitch
Now that you have all the paperwork and admin covered, it’s time to get to the fun part: your pitch. Target puts merchants through an application and vetting process, which involves a pitch in addition to the above requirements. In your pitch, it’s important to demonstrate the following:
- Product testing to show you exceed Target’s product quality standards
- Copyrights and patents you might have associated with your product
- Market research to prove there’s demand and opportunity for your product
- Social media and email lists if you have large or impressive followings
- Understanding of Target’s products and how your product fits in
- Sales data and other proof points that show your products is a profitable opportunity for Target
- Press coverage about your brand and product (make sure it’s positive)
Step 8: Fill Out a Supplier Intake Form
Gather all your materials and sit down to fill out Target’s supplier intake form online. This form is required if you want your product to be considered for Target.
The form will ask for:
- Basic personal and business information
- Website URL
- Social media pages
- Your industry and product
- Business registration
- Actual and projected revenue
- Team size
- Year founded
- Whether you have GS1 certified UPCs
- Where you sell
- Manufacturing and supply chain capabilities
- Average MOQ (minimum order quantity) and lead time
- Number of production facilities
- EDI and EFT capabilities
Why Suppliers Get Rejected by Target
To preserve its reputation, optimize operations, and keep quality consistent, Target often rejects supplier applications due to various factors. The retailer may also impose penalties or even terminate relationships with vendors who fall short of certain standards. These issues include:
- Failure to meet safety and quality standards
- Lack of transparency in business dealings or financial transactions
- Ethical concerns
- Providing inaccurate product or manufacturer information
- Inability to scale with demand or changing market needs
- Poor communication
- Failure to meet or keep contractual obligations
- Late deliveries to Target warehouses or customers
How to Sell on Target Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Figuring out how to get your product into Target can be hard due to its rigorous vetting process and strict standards for quality, safety, ethics, and business practices. Once your products are on Target’s shelves or listed on its site, you must maintain contractual obligations. Overall, it’s harder to sell products at Target than on Amazon or Wal-Mart—but it’s doable with the right products and qualifications.
Selling your product in Target provides exposure to a large, loyal customer base and can significantly boost your brand’s reputation and credibility. It also provides a potential for increased sales, further opportunities, and access to a powerful distribution network.
Yes, Target allows dropshipping—but it has specific rules and requirements to sell dropshipped items. You must maintain timely order fulfillment, work with all carriers and shipping services, and use Target-branded packing slips, among other criteria.
Figuring out how to get your product in Target is more rigorous than on marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.com, but it’s an excellent opportunity if you meet its requirements. Getting your product in Target can put your brand in front of new audiences and boost credibility.