Sunday 17 September 2017

A Target Shopping Experience

Target is identified as one of the struggling big boys of the retailing world but if my shopping experience this week is a guide, they may be on to something.

Guy Russo has been given the job of turning around the “middle of the road” department store after his huge success with Kmart. This one is probably taking a little longer than he would like but there are signs of change. For starters, Target has embraced some of the Kmart “super price specials” that are difficult to ignore.

It has been a while since I shopped in Target and a couple of things stood out. I was shopping for a photo frame for a birthday gift and at Knox City Shopping Centre, Target seemed a logical destination. They had a selection of simple frame designs in various sizes but the price really impressed me. $8 for a 10” x 8” frame with two choices of mat boards seemed really good value. And before you accuse me of being a cheapskate, the frame will receive a significant photo. But then I went to buy a card and wrap, and Target had really got this right.

Like many consumers I am uncomfortable with the ridiculous price of wrapping paper and cards from traditional outlets. I am used to paying $5 - $6 or more for wrap and the same for a card but at Target I chose a contemporary design gift bag for $3 and a card for $2. I could have purchased a 3m roll of wrap for $2 with an astonishing choice of designs and spent as much as $3 on a card. That was good value - a big tick for Target.

The other thing that struck me about the Target shopping experience was the check-out. We were directed by staff to a self checkout counter which at first we balked at, but then realised it was just like a supermarket checkout, and operated pretty efficiently. However, as market traders, we certainly felt sad at this trend to impersonal shopping. Even Aldi gives you personal contact at the checkout. Sorry Target, no tick here.

This week’s global retail news feed includes a story about Target US (different owners) adopting a “low price” philosophy as the best way to meet current consumer sentiment. Given the discounting war with our supermarkets, the studies that show milennials have little attachment to non-status brand names, and the move to generic unbranded goods, the concentration on price as “good value” is understandable.

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