Quip-Target partnership points to a new type of retail arrangement

Quip is the latest direct-to-consumer company to start selling its goods at Target, joining Harry’s razors, Casper mattresses and Native deodorant.

But the Brooklyn-based electric toothbrush company’s deal with Target is unique and an approach that could become popular with traditional retailers looking to appeal to younger consumers and digital companies seeking to scale, retail experts said.

Quip is selling starter kits for $25 at all 1,800 Target stores and Target.com, but if people want to buy refill brushes, they have to buy them from Quip’s site. The approach, said Simon Enever, Quip founder and CEO, is meant to help the company scale but still keep customers coming back to Quip’s own site.

As a subscription service, Quip profits as long as its customers reorder brush refills. Quip doesn’t share how many subscribers it has, but claims nearly 100 percent of people who purchase a Quip toothbrush will subscribe for refills (as with other electronic toothbrushes, Quip brush refills only fit its own toothbrushes). Last week, the company said it had sold one million brushes.

The sales approach is new to Target, a spokesperson said. In the case of other DTC brands, customers can buy all their products at Target, too.

This approach has advantages when it comes to data collection for Quip and Target, since both are interested in how consumers will react to the online-to-offline model. There’s a redeemable code on all starter kits for a free refill, which Quip can use to see which customers buy from Target and then subscribe from Quip’s website.

In the case of Target, it will be able to see how their own shoppers convert to the online shop of an outside company while providing a new type of product for younger customers.

Alice Fournier, vp of e-commerce and digital at Kantar Retail, said she expects more of these type of partnerships to develop as offline and online shopping continues to blur.

“Target obviously recognizes that their in-store retail and online audience is in line with the profile of Quip customers,” said Jim Fosina, CEO of consultancy Fosina Marketing Group.

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