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Target Cracks Down on Resellers

All retailers buy inventory to resell, but stores like Target don’t take kindly to being treated as a source of product for online sellers – or resellers, as they’re called. This week, images of internal documents showed up online indicating Target is cracking down on resellers, which cost Target $13 million last year, it claims.

Target banned resellers last year as part of a crackdown on merchants who engage in what’s called “retail arbitrage” (RA) – buying products on sale from stores like Target and Kohls using coupons and loyalty points and then selling the products themselves on Amazon and eBay.

The images show messaging clearly meant for Target employees. “Resellers continue to erode profit at Target – especially when merchandise is on ad/promo. Resellers abuse Target discounts and exploit system vulnerabilities to obtain merchandise at a value below our cost, then sell it at a higher price for personal profit. Last year, sales to resellers cost Target an estimated $13 million!”

The documents appeared to be part of a campaign to train employees on how to handle suspected resellers, including advice on how to identify resellers and what they should do if they suspect reseller activity or are approached by a reseller.

Target has not responded to our request to verify the images. We don’t know the original source of the images, so we don’t know how old they might be.

“Remember,” one document warned, “Know Resellers! No Resellers!”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.