Walmart gets a key product (that Target doesn’t have)

Competition between three of the largest retailers in the U.S. is red hot. 

Walmart  (WMT) , Amazon  (AMZN) , and Target  (TGT) , are increasingly trying to outdo each other in a couple of key consumer-facing spaces, where heavy investment offers potentially massive upside. 

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The race to attract customers takes shape in a few key differentiators. Amazon historically reigns supreme when it comes to shipping and delivery times, which is an obvious advantage. Both Walmart and Amazon compete when it comes to offering maximum inventory selection, especially online where hundreds of millions of SKUs are available for near-immediate fulfillment at any given moment. Amazon and Walmart also offer unique paid membership plans, but Target may soon enter that race, too. Target also rules the pleasant in-person customer shopping experience, as many devotees go out of their way to patronize a Target instead of shopping in-store or online at the other two peers. 

Often, fierce competition to attract customers means a lot is going on behind the curtain that customers aren’t aware of, too. The three large retailers are routinely pouring time, resources, and investment into back-end channels — like building more warehouses or IT infrastructure — to handle an influx of orders and keep customers satisfied. 

A sign for Walmart Pharmacy is seen inside a Walmart in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 2, 2022.


Walmart nabs an exclusive partnership

One of the less obvious ways to attract more customers has been to offer exclusive brands or partnerships that the other two companies may not. Target has routinely been a winner in this space; its 50 in-house, or “owned,” brands bring in consistent revenue and repeat customer transactions. As of 2023, Target brought in $30 billion in annual sales from its owned brands, and the retailer continues to launch new brands and grow existing ones. 

Naturally, others want to get in on the exclusivity game. And while both Walmart and Amazon offer their own version of in-house brands, Walmart has been working especially hard to offer exclusive access to external brands, too. 

The world’s largest retailer announced on Thursday that it will exclusively offer L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron + Plump hair line, which further bolsters Walmart’s bet on L’Oréal personal care. 

The Elvive Hyalarun + Plump hair line is intended for a demographic of shoppers increasingly interested in tending to their scalp care, a sort of iteration on skin care. Industry analysts call it the “skinification” of hair, which essentially describes an uptick in market interest in taking care of one’s scalp, hair, and dermatological health beyond the face.

Elvive Hyaluron + Pure offers a line of shampoo, conditioner and an oil erasing scalp serum all designed to keep the scalp healthy and in balance. The formula uses hyaluronic and salicylic acid, which exfoliates and purifies the scalp, leading to potentially shinier and healthier hair. 

Walmart bets big on L’Oréal

This partnership marks Walmart’s second exclusive L’Oréal Elvive partnership; it partnered in autumn 2022 with the French beauty conglomerate in 2022 to offer customers access to the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Hyaluron collection. 

Younger generations are prioritizing their scalp care in new ways and the introduction of Elvive Hyaluron + Pure helps democratize their needs at more accessible price points,” said Ali Goldstein, President of L’Oréal Paris USA. “Our exclusive partnership with Walmart, the #1 retailer in America, represents an incremental consumer recruitment opportunity for both L’Oréal Paris Elvive and Walmart, and we look forward to expanding our shopper base together.”

Walmart says its initial partnership with L’Oréal to bring the Elvive line to life was successful in both 2022 and 2023 and is looking forward to seeing what a new addition might add to its line of exclusive brand collaborations. The line launches in February at Walmarts nationwide and online.

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