Bringing in customers and creating customer loyalty is important for any company. Target is no different. In order to remain viable and sustainable, Target will have to gain more of a competitive edge amongst their competitors. Target has been extremely successful during holiday events such as Black Friday. The concern is that there are soft spots during the holiday season and throughout the year. The recommendations listed below will hopefully create a more sustainable revenue especially concerning toys. Target must look to access 4 key aspects within their company.
The first step they must access is ‘Product/Assortment'. During this assessment Target must look to differentiate themselves both in stores and online by their products. The next issue that must be addressed is ‘Price'. Target is not looking to pursue a low cost strategy but they will have to be creative with their pricing to be more competitive. Next, Target will need to address their marketing strategy or ‘Promotions'. An effective promotional campaign is essential in sustaining a consistent revenue year round. The last aspect that we will address is the ‘Place/Supply chain'. Because customers are bargain shoppers and keen in their decision making, but also want things now, Target has to be able to meet all consumer needs. In order to do that, Target will have to place an emphasis on all 4 elements.
The situation presented in the case is that kids have a large influence on where their parents shop. This has not been the case in the past but this trend continues to grow and companies must adapt. The recommendations listed below will look to address Target's inconsistent revenues by looking to attract customers through their children. Target needs to create a kid friendly environment that will have kids asking their parents to take them there. Also, as technology continues to become a larger part of business, Target must look to adapt to accommodate the needs of the online shoppers. By marketing towards the kids, they can create a consistent customer base for the future.
The first way that Target can reach out to the children is to organize their store in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to little ones. One suggestion is to move a section of the toys from the back of the store to the front. The toy section in most Targets is located in the back of the store, which, in a way makes it seem that they are the least important. By moving the products to the front of the store, the attention of the children will be drawn to them thus, raising sales. The same strategy should be implemented towards the website. The website should place a larger emphasis on toys and categorize them in a way that provides easy access.
One thing that can attract customers is differentiation of products. The competitors of Target like Amazon and Toys R Us offer thousands of different toys to their customers. As of right now Target is not even close to the same numbers. Target must counter this by specializing in toy product categories. It is not realistic to expect Target to offer the same amount of toys as Amazon. They must market specific toys in a way that will attract customers. Our recommendation for this is to organize them by price. By organizing the toys by price the consumer will be able to shop quickly and efficiently.
For pricing, Target should focus on grouping products based on price. Lots of time when people are shopping for gifts they have specific price ranges. If Target was to group their toys, customers could see the options that they would have and easily be able to choose. Also, during this time of year people are always in a rush trying to get things done as soon as possible. Grouping the toys by price would help to keep the customers happy and moving quickly in and out of the store like they want to. One company that uses this idea and has had success with it is Amazon.com. Amazon loves having the toys in categories so they are able to attract the customers and keep them coming back.
When it comes to pricing aggressively Target is going to obviously want to price aggressively during the beginning and end of the holiday season since that is when everyone else is doing it. But we feel that they should start should start doing aggressive pricing in the middle of the holiday season. If customers see these good prices, then they may be more willing to go out and buy these gifts. This may help them with finishing early because customers don't really want to wait till the last minute to get the gifts.
We think that Target should keep the free shipping that they did last year. There was much success with that last year. Target saw an increase in their sales and also how well they did compared to their competition. This means that they don't really need to put a huge sale on the toys because the customer will feel like they are getting a good deal with the free shipping. They are able to get free shipping with purchases as low as $25. This will help them foster customer loyalty and make customers want to keep buying from Target.
Promotional cadence will vary throughout the season. During the holiday season, there are always spiked periods of supply and demand. There are many ways in which Target can maintain its presence throughout the holiday season rather than just specific events like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the week before Christmas. One benefit Target has that their largest competitor, Amazon, does not is an in-store experience. While there are many people attracted to the online circuit, there are still many consumers that prefer to have their shopping experience in stores. They want to see the merchandise, touch it, and have it in their hands immediately.
An approach Target could take to extending their presence during the holiday season is the observance of “Red Saturday”. Red Saturday is an extension of the Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales that consumers save up for all year long. There are great deals on electronics, home goods, and for this specific case, toys. Red Saturday would include online and in-store sales in hopes of extending the busiest shopping days of the year. Having the option of a Red Saturday is likely to draw in a larger customer base that may be working or traveling on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Red Saturday could also ease the pressure and stress put on Target team members to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Another big day on the schedule could give employees more opportunity for schedule flexibility and possibly less people in the store all at once. Red Saturday would still include large discounts, early morning shopping, and long lines, but might help Target to raise their revenue and knock out competitors during the holiday season. Red Saturday could also be an incentivized shopping day for “Red Card” holders. The Target Red Card can come in the form of a debit or credit card, which offers 5% back on all Target purchases. On Red Saturday, offering an additional percentage, such a 7 or 8% would like bring customers into Target rather than their competitors to purchase their holiday gifts such as toys.
Now what should Target do the rest of the holiday season to stay relevant? An option that Target could use from Thanksgiving all the way up until the end of the holiday season on New Year's Day is flash sales. Flash sales are also sometimes known as a “deal of the day”. The basic definition of a flash sale that is found on Wikipedia is “an ecommerce business model in which a website offers a single product for sale for a period of 24 to 36 hours” (Deal, 2016). While this is the basic definition, many companies tailor this description to their store.
Some clothing stores do flash sales during specific hours; for example, 2:00-5:00 pm on a Saturday or 8:00-11:00 am Monday morning, etc. An idea for Target is offering a daily online flash sale during different parts of the day on select toys, of course with the manufacturer's approval. These sales can be promoted on all of Target's social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook, as well as in a text message and email. These extra promotions will keep Target in the minds of customers as well as draw in more revenue, balancing the cost of the extra advertisement. This idea will keep Target relevant during the entire holiday season, and bring customers to them for holiday toy purchases rather than the major competitor.
Another great way for Target to solve their problem could be to have Santa there in store, not every day but just either on the weekend or twice a week. This way the children can get their pictures taken with Santa and the parents can get their shopping done while Santa tells the children a story. The best idea would be to have Santa there from the day before Thanksgiving until about the day before Christmas Eve. That way Target can keep reminding parents of either Santa being at their store or sales going on. They can use Facebook, Twitter, on their app etc. This will keep reminding the parents and customers that they do have deals and sales going on. Also they can come up with a new toy line, called Target Toys, which would be similar to other brands just with Target's name on it. They can have this brand in the magazine that they send out every year for Christmas, with coupons for their products.
Customers like to feel as if they are getting a deal. Target's Free Shipping on all orders of $25 or more, rush delivery option, the option to order online and pick-up your purchase in a store in close proximity to your home, Target Instacart, Target Curbside, and Target's Ship from Store (Delivery, 2016) are great all great ways to allow the customer more options of what delivery method works best for them. Similar options can be used to implement a new program we invented called ‘Hit the Target'. In this program customers can have the option to have a mailing envelope sent to them from Target corporation, taking items into Target physically, or dropping the items off at a strategically placed Target receptacle.
Here's how the program works. Target will put out a receptacle in which to collect a posted list of toys, books, and electronics that are either broken or not used anymore. Target will try to forge a partnership with a company such as Tree Hugger (Tree Hugger, 2016) or Second Chance Toys (Keeping toys, 2016), whose slogan is: “Keeping Toys Out of Landfills by donating them to children in need” (Keeping toys, 2016). Kids and their parents, of course) will bring their gently used toys, electronics, and books back to Target (that way less toys end up in the landfill). Target will give a store credit/reloadable gift card for no more than 2% of the value of the item(s). Target will give those donated toys to their partner company to donate to usable ones to children's hospitals after they have been thoroughly cleaned. The toys that are broken but are usable plastic can be transformed into park benches or other useful items.
People like to give back especially during the holiday times so this is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Parents get to declutter their homes. Children get to learn how to give back. They get to learn how to be a part of saving the world we live in. And they also get to save up for items that may be on their Target Kids Wish List. Target gets to continue to be a part of the efforts to become more sustainable. Children's hospitals get toys to help brighten up children's recovery time. Lastly, Tree Hugger or Second Chance Toys or whatever company Target partners up with gets materials to use.
Advertising for the ‘Hit the Target' program could be done on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. It could also be advertised on Pinterest, really any social media site in order to draw more customers to the store, not just during the holiday season, but all year long. The people that are signed up for the different Target apps could see the ads for this program once they log in to those apps. Emails to customers could contain advertisements for the program as well.
Target can use the 4 P's: Product/Assortment, Price, Promotions, and Place/Supply Chain to garner more customers/revenue. Target is already a big contributor to different charities making sure to foster strong community ties through volunteerism . Because of this Target can set itself above its competitors by attracting customers that are concerned about the Earth being more sustainable. By using some of the ideas that are easy enough to implement, Target could easily become the top company to beat.
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