(from Billboard Magazine, November 23, 2013) There is no doubt that Walmart has been a leader in music sales among discount store merchants. However, Target is climbing the ladder to number one, and much of this is due to store placement of records. This is more important even than the fact that the Target circular reaches 50 million homes generating 100 million impressions. Many people may be surprised to learn that leading sales is due to something as menial and simple as placing albums on an aisle end cap or on a fixture near the checkout line. Target’s aggressive method of heavily focusing on and promoting the artist they feature also makes them a big competitor. Walmart started the idea of end cap placement, but Target took it a step further when they started using a new-release end cap in their stores which is ultimately what has them neck and neck with Walmart.
Additional differences in the two game plans include pricing, even though both merchants are margin-focused. Walmart is widely known for offering the lowest possible prices for consumers while leaveing a large profit margin for itself. Target, however, finds the right value proposal with each individual offering meaning when music is merchandised with extras, Target tends to price it at a higher price than Walmart. The differences continue when looking at the type of music the merchants focus on. Target offers several artists who have a large female following while Walmart tends to offer more albums in the genres of rock and country music.
Walmart and Target aren’t the only merchants that have a hand in music retail. Obviously Best Buy cannot be forgotten about and still remains a big competitor when it comes to rap and rock albums. For example Best Buy sold hundreds more units of the new Eminem album according to sources. There are many marketing strategies that are changing with music retail, and these will undoubtedly continue to adapt to the needs of consumers and artists in the future.