Lilly Pulitzer: Why Target’s Massive Success In Selling Out The Line Was Actually A Mistake

After Target partnered with Lilly Pulitzer and launched a line of exclusive clothing this weekend, they were shocked to learn just how badly their customers wanted the merchandise. The entire stock of Lilly Pulitzer clothes sold out within only a few hours of the launch, resulting in some of the rare items selling on eBay for inordinate amounts of money. The Lilly Pulitzer sellout might seem like a huge success for a retailer like Target, but the truth is, the launch didn’t go the way they planned.

According to Fortune, Target intended for the limited Lilly Pulitzer clothes to be available for many weeks, spreading the sale of the items over the course of many days. The chief merchandising and supply chain officer Kathee Tesija revealed in a blog post that Target drastically underestimated the demand for Lilly Pulitzer clothing. Even after carefully monitoring social media trends and predicting the sales figures for the launch, the retailer ordered far too few items from the designer.

The plan was to sell a limited 250 items from the exclusive Lilly Pulitzer collection over the course of a few weeks. But instead, customers flocked to Target stores and even logged onto the Target website in mass quantities. According to Bloomberg View, the traffic on the site was so heavy as a result of the Lilly Pulitzer launch that the site actually crashed.

Due to the overwhelming amount of traffic, Target tried to postpone the Lilly Pulitzer launch several times to keep the customer base under control. Originally, the launch was supposed to take place at midnight. By morning, almost all of the Lilly Pulitzer collection was gone.

Tesija reflected on the mistake honestly in the Target blog post.

“It’s not uncommon for items from our limited-edition designer collaboration to sell out. What’s unique about this line is how quickly our guests shopped and how much they purchased. We anticipated having enough product to offer the collection for several weeks, but at the end of the day, our guests let us know that they didn’t need that much time to decide that this was a collection they wanted to bring home.”

According to a previous report from the Inquisitr, despite both the incredible success of the Lilly Pulitzer line and the failure in planning, Target has no plans to make any of the highly coveted stock available again. Even though the company failed to realize how badly people wanted Lilly Pulitzer clothing, the launch was still beneficial for Target in the end–especially due to the unusual circumstances of selling out instantly.

[Images courtesy of Getty]