The IPhone of Toothbrushes to Sell Offline, Too, in Target Push

(Bloomberg) -- Target Corp. is the first brick-and-mortar retailer to carry the Quip toothbrush, as the retailer adds yet another startup brand hatched on the web.

The cheap-chic merchant now offers Quip’s electric brushes in all its stores and online, and will include the product in its holiday gift guides. The $40 battery-powered metal toothbrush comes in four colors, and customers can go to Quip’s website to get a new brush head delivered every three months for $5. Target’s kit includes a brush, travel cover and a code for one free brush-head refill through Quip’s website.

The IPhone of Toothbrushes to Sell Offline, Too, in Target Push

Launched in 2015 via an online subscription-based model like Dollar Shave Club, Quip just sold its one-millionth toothbrush.

Quip, based in Brooklyn, is the latest Internet-only startup to arrive on Target’s shelves, following Casper mattresses, Harry’s razors and Native deodorant. Target’s clientele and its focus on affordable design has helped the chain attract those businesses, which needed a fresh way to lure new customers after spending heavily on online advertising.

“Target’s younger and more affluent guests offer these new digital brands the right audience to expand into physical retail,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer of consultants WSL Strategic Retail. “That, and the fact that Target is back on track, doing a good job building brands again.”

Growing Market

Quip is a small player in the $900 million U.S. electric-toothbrush market, which is dominated by Royal Philips NV, the Dutch maker of Sonicare, and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Oral-B. The market grew 9 percent last year, according to data tracker Euromonitor, fueled by increased recommendations from dentists. A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that 81 percent of patients benefited from switching from manual to power toothbrushes, which encourage users to brush longer.

Still, most people who switch to power brushes don’t change their brush heads every three months as the ADA recommends. Quip’s co-founder and CEO Simon Enever saw that as a business opportunity. An industrial designer who was a self-described “Lego nerd” while growing up in Bristol, England, Enever started Quip after being chided by a New York City dentist for brushing too hard. He created a sleek brush and holding case that can be stuck to a mirror or medicine cabinet.

The IPhone of Toothbrushes to Sell Offline, Too, in Target Push

Quip, which doesn’t disclose its sales, also sells its own toothpaste for $5, and is working on a product to make flossing easier as well.

Moving into Target gives Quip the chance to connect with a broader audience, Enever said in an interview. He added that he was inspired by Casper and the other digital startups that have found a home inside Target.

Mark Tritton, Target’s chief merchandising officer, said Quip fits with the retailer’s push to attract customers through owned or exclusive brands. The strategy has paid off recently, with store traffic in the latest quarter rising at the fastest pace ever recorded.

Quip should also lift sales in the overall oral care category, which has been “static,” he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.