On April 19, Target’s highly anticipated collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer launched in stores and online. The debut of Lilly Pulitzer for Target was met with varying degrees of manic and controversy. Shoppers lined outside Target brick and mortar stores as early as 5 am in a Black Friday-esque Frenzy. Then, the Target.com website crashed, and cries of outrage were heard across the twittersphere from disgruntled collegiates who thought the collaboration was “#SoNotClassy.” Most shocking, is that even though the collection sold out online and in stores within hours, items appeared on eBay shortly after, and at marked up prices. Well, that’s not so unusual. The reactions though, were anything but expected.
One by one, the 250 piece collection appeared on the auction and resale sight, and die hard Lilly Pulitzer fans were not happy about it. One fashion blogger sardonically wrote that if you want something from the Lilly for Target collection, “be prepared to pay more than you would at an actual Lilly Pullitzer.” How bad could these markups really be?
Admittedly, some of them were a little more extreme than others. Starting on the cheaper end of the spectrum, a $35 plus-size floral dress went up to $255 on eBay. A $50 tote bag was priced at $330, and a set of two lawn chairs and a hammock priced at $60 each and $120 respectively were priced at $1,299.99 (or, you can bid on it at $999.99).
Target spokesperson Joshua Thomas shared with USA Today that Target “is not the first retailer that’s experienced its products being sold” on resale sites, like eBay. He’s right – many others have spotted and capitalized on an opportunity like this before, and with less backlash. That said, he finds the eBay markups “really disappointing.”
Lilly Pulitzer fans feel balked, some taking it as far as creating campaigns to boycott the eBay resellers. One consumer tweeted, “This is infuriating. The point of Lilly @Target was so it could be affordable. Not for rude people to make profits.” They are not afraid to single out eBay resellers and tell them what they think, as demonstrated in the below comment from a Refinery29 article.
Despite the outrage these eBay sellers faced, nothing they did was illegal. They spotted a trend, forecasted an opportunity, and capitalized big time. You can’t deny the business savvy in being able to predict a golden egg chance like they did. They aren’t the first to resell and mark up items on a marketplace, either. Vintage items are sold across all major ecommerce marketplaces at far higher prices than the original, and no one bats an eye. Why are we okay with spending three times the cost (or more) of an item that’s considered antique, but feel as though this crossed a line? Isn’t everything fair game in a free market? Honestly, given that we have eBay customers and we want all ecomdash users to be successful, we encourage similar trend spotting and forecasting. Staying in tune with pop culture, listening attentively for upcoming collaborations or opportunities is essential to getting ahead of a major sales surge. The early bird gets the worm.
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