Selling on Target Plus – Mastering the Art of Inclusive Merchandising


July 11, 2023

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If you’re a seasoned Amazon, Walmart or Shopify seller, and considering diving into the Target Plus marketplace, having a clear grasp of Target's inclusivity merchandising requirements is a baseline necessity. A clear understanding of these guidelines could be the differentiating factor between success and failure when selling on Target Plus. In this article, we'll delve into this topic thoroughly, leaving you equipped with an understanding of how to review your product catalog to determine if your products are a good fit on Target's digital marketplace.

Understanding Inclusive Assortment

First, let's do a quick overview. Inclusion is the lifeblood of Target's value system. The company insists that all products listed on its platform must align with its ethos of inclusivity. Not only does the platform reject products that are controversial or offensive, it also keeps a close eye on how products, even those appropriate at face value, are marketed. A fun and respectful user experience is Target’s main goal, and keeping their brand reputation for inclusivity is pivotal.

For your product mix to be considered as 'inclusive assortment', it must accurately and genuinely represent all Target shoppers. This means respecting all dimensions of difference, such as age, race, ethnicity, body size, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and more. 

Conversely, an 'Exclusive Assortment' refers to products that do not fairly represent Target's shopper demographics. And if your products are marketed by leveraging cultural trends that may seem offensive to some, or if you position products and marketing strategies that deliver shock or surprise, it’s a no-go for the Target Plus Marketplace.

The Inclusive Merchandising Item Review

This rigorous review process scrutinizes new items prior to their launch on, ensuring all listings meet the platform's inclusivity standards. This review is not restricted to items alone; it extends to terms used in the listing and merchandising strategies as well. Any item, term, or marketing choice that fails the review process will either be 'Suspended' and blocked from launching or 'Rejected' with detailed feedback for rectification.

To ensure your listings align with Target Plus's inclusivity requirements, stick to these guidelines:

  • Representation should reflect the Dimensions of Difference, incorporating diversity across age, gender, race, ethnicity, body size, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and more.
  • Skin tone representation should be varied, mirroring the rich diversity among the US population.
  • References to alcohol should not indicate or support excessive drinking or misbehavior. It's crucial to ensure alcohol-related content targets guests older than 21.
  • Avoid using foul language or any associations with it.
  • Avoid taking a political stance in your listings.
  • Violence and vulgarity should be strictly avoided.
  • Care should be taken when merchandising for holidays to avoid any cultural insensitivity or appropriation.
  • Religion should be conveyed with empathy, understanding, and accuracy.

Terms and Themes to Avoid - The Target Plus Marketplace No-No Lists

Success when selling on Target Plus also hinges on the careful selection of the 'terms' and 'themes' used in listings. Target's systems will scan through the product title, description, feature bullets, and images for terms they deem inappropriate and will flag the item accordingly. Use of these terms could result in the rejection or suspension of your products. It's also worth noting that terms and themes that will be automatically flagged and rejected are regularly updated by the platform. Sellers should ensure they review  the most up-to-date Cautionary Terms and Themes Lists provided by Target Plus.

The Red Flag No-No List

Let's begin by addressing the terms that will instantly raise a red flag, resulting in a suspension of the product listing and an additional review by an Item Team Member. Here are some of them:

Charlie Chaplin
Gender Fluid
Mississippi State Flag
Native American

The Automatic REJECTION No-No List

That said, these are a list of terms that will be outrightly rejected. 

Egyptian Cotton
Back the Blue
Obsessive Christmas Disorder
Concentration Camp
Turkish Cotton
Confederate Flag
Yin Yang

The No-No Theme List

In addition to these specific "No-No" terms, you should also be aware of the overarching themes that Target deems unacceptable. Using these themes in your product description or other promotional content could lead to immediate suspension from the marketplace. Here are some of the themes to avoid:

Racist content
Cultural Supremacy
Organs illustrated on the exterior of the body
Themes promoting Drug Making
Overly horrific or scary content
Sexualized Characters
Display of Firearms
Taking a Political Stance
Realistic standalone images of violence
Inaccurate culture portrayal
Political Satire
Substance Abuse
Insensitive references to current or historical events
Realistic prop replicas of weapons
Promotion of Violence
Hate symbols or speech
Swear words on package or item

Unlike Ebay, Amazon and sometimes Walmart, shock and awe products and messaging are not products suitable for Target Plus. The platform emphasizes respect, inclusivity, and a positive shopping experience for all. So, as a seller, it's important to align with these values and ensure your products and their descriptions do not drift into the territory of these big "No-No" terms and themes. By doing so, you can build a successful presence on Target Plus marketplace and continue to reflect the brand that Target Plus demands of their sellers.  Happy selling!

Still think you're a good fit for Target Plus? 

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Are you a good fit for Target Plus? 
Download our Seller Fit Guide

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